Dec 15, 2009

Why I Will Never Be Able to Not Take My Career Personally

I worry about the future too much, but at the moment I'm worrying about today. Well, everyday of my life. My career, my job, the thing I do that takes up most of my life and puts food on the table.

Maybe had I not been so stubborn in college and majored in design or something useful, I'd be in a better place right now. I'm so fortunate to have a great-paying job in these hard economic times and yet I'm miserable. I like getting paid, sure, but I hate feeling useless.

The biggest problem, I've realized, is that I don't feel like I have the ability to really influence the success of the company. There's little I can do... or offer to do... without it seeming like I'm stepping on people's toes. The challenge for 2010 is, then, to figure out some awesome impressive project I can work on that no one else wants to do that proves to be hugely important for the company in the short-long run.

Or maybe I'm going about career growth in all the wrong ways. I just am terrified of leaving this job and having nothing show for it. My specific position isn't easy to explain because it's changing on a daily basis. I want to find ways to measure my impact but I'm failing to do so... and ultimately it becomes harder and harder to promote a product I don't 100% believe in. Scratch that, I believe in the product, just not its execution.

The little I can do feels like such a futile attempt at putting band-aids on a broken leg or changing the angle so it just doesn't look that bad. I can't figure out how to not take work personally, I get so attached to everything I care about and then when other people won't even listen or think I don't know what I'm saying, well, what's a girl to do?

I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I wish I did. I have this complex where I can't accept doing something that doesn't have the potential to have a major impact on the world as we know it. Not that my current job will do that, but at the very least it's at a company that is looking to disrupt a market with innovation, which I'm drawn to... if we were truly innovating and knew which market we were disrupting.

Deep down I feel like maybe I'd be happy as a teacher or even a social worker... I get so much satisfaction out of helping people. That's the only part of my job that really fuels me, the customer service end of it. I'd be down with marketing if I believed in the product, but regardless I always believe in helping people. It's also nice that I do this all online because I think it would be very taxing to have to help people in person. And the whole concept of spending my life just helping people for some reason seems so... I don't know, it seems like a waste of a life. Even though I know it isn't. But that's what my gut tells me. I want so much more than being a social worker -- even though social workers are amazing and way better people then I'll ever be.

I read job postings every day and freak out. I read about various positions that maybe I'd enjoy and then get to the job requirements and cry a little inside. I read about entry-level positions that pay half what I'm making now that would maybe be my best bet, but that I doubt I could get given my experience. I doubt I'll ever find something that will really click with me. Obviously I have issues. But I know I love helping people. I have this dream of being a personal finance guru like Suze Orman except less annoying (wow, can I really be less annoying than anyone? heh.) I want to start a business. Or write a book. Or design a really cool phone.

Anything I want to do (with the exception of maybe writing a book, which I don't feel ready for yet) seems to unobtainable. And I'm stuck here at this job that could be so much if I could figure out what to make of it, and how to navigate the office politics, and make myself useful again. I just feel like everyone here is working their asses off and I don't even know what to do. Other than market the company. But I'm not in charge of marketing. I don't have a budget. I just have social media. And spending all day on Twitter can drive a girl off her Tweeter, so to speak.


Anonymous said...

If you really wanted to quit your job, you'd stop spending money on crap you don't need. Deciding to make an extra 10K a year just to afford your shopping will never allow you to have the security to leave your current job, go to grad school or just find a job you like. You're not managing your money, your making excuses as to why you can't stop shopping. Stop going to the expensive stores and making excuses for it (ie, I make good money).

her every cent counts said...

@anonymous I agree with you. While I make it sound like my shopping is out of control (and it is to some extent) I still save a decent amount of money per year. I don't want to make an extra $10k JUST to pay for my shopping... but the way I see it is my full-time salary should go towards bills and savings and healthcare costs, and then anything else I make on top of that can go to "fun" purchases... shopping, entertainment, travel, etc. But basically I don't spend my full-time income on shopping and I try to save at least 10k per year. Next year I'm going to try to save 15k.

ConsciouslyFrugal said...

Why are the rude comments always from anonymous posters? Gah! Grow a set!

ANYHOO, not to sound like your grandmother here, but you're still young. There is no rush. I'm not a huge fan of defining self by what you do for money. Have you ever read "Your Money or Your Life" by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin? I think it should be required reading for everyone. Excellent, excellent resource. And you can get a workbook to go with the book for free at (I would still read the book, even with the freebie download though, 'cuz it's freaking amazing).

Chances are, you'll have a long life with a few careers, and countless opportunities to do lots of different types of work. The fact that you have side income demonstrates that you have what it takes to make virtually anything work. (Seriously! Go you!)

I have to admit that I work in the non-profit industry, doing work that helps folks. However, I work as a fundraiser, which most often pays more than doing direct service work--more stress, less warm fuzzies. But social service work, like every other job, is a mixed bag. A lot of folks leave the corporate sector to do more "meaningful" work, only to be terribly disappointed to realize that a job is a job is a job. Others absolutely love it. Personally, this is how I'm hard-wired. If my work isn't directly benefitting folks, I can't be assed to do it.

I guess this is a really long-winded way of saying: the grass isn't always greener and you can change anything and then change it again if you'd like. I've learned the hard way to appreciate what I have, do my best to live in the moment and stop forever living in some fantasy world of tomorrow's greener pastures.

Ok, enough commenting for one day! Thanks for linking me. I'm glad I found your blog. :)

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