Saturday, May 12, 2012

Career Crossroads

The Wisdom Path - Hong Kong

If I knew what I wanted to do, it would be a different story.

I've been given all these quotes as of late from various people trying to help me find my way.

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
"A young person's downfall is early success"
"You're so young...  what ever decision you make now won't be a bad one."
"The only person looking out for you... is yourself."
"People make quick decisions when they are just tired and frustrated."
"You can get any job you want right now... people want to hire you."

I'm the lead on my account.  I'm the planner, supervisor, director and I never looked for guidance at my work because I just figured it out myself, but as I'm hitting my third year at the same company on the same account, I'm encountering fatigue.

I was convinced that I was done with media planning.  The perks and adventures no longer offset the work hours and stress.  The people that used to inspire me have all left and I feel trapped at my work place as more and more people jump ship for better opportunities.  My assistant's last day with this Thursday... her vacancy has already put strain on me as I try to juggle multiple levels of project management and campaign optimizations.  I'm putting together presentations while confirming billing.  I train assistants while addressing client deliverables.  My assistant left because my company no longer offered anything worthwhile for her.  I should have done the same a year ago.

I've been headhunted so often by recruiters for higher paying jobs.  But I always say no because it's all the same, just farther from my house.

My honesty was appreciated:  I told my work that I was done... and they told me that they liked me so they will find something better suited... but I need to be patient.  I'm pulled in two directions feeling as if I was respected and feeling used.  My patience would secure the company survival since I am "the rock," the "cornerstone," the "glue" on the account that I had build on my own... helping the company garner millions of dollars with my work.

"You're impressive Chris.. you achieved so much."
"Great job up there, you're fabulous"
"I don't get it.. you were amazing in front of the client... you are heading so quickly towards success.. i don't understand why you don't want to continue... if it's support, i can help you... but if your heart isn't there.. that's a different story."

My heart... I think that's the problem. And all these compliments from VPs, directors, assistants and planners spin my mind in more circles.

"We really appreciate you."

But what does that mean?  Do I ask for more money?  For 2 years I've been doing the work above me, but I never asked for a promotion because I never wanted that responsibility... but they never adequately hired anyone above me so naturally I inherited the pressure without it reflected on my paycheck.

I feel respected, but I feel like I'm being taken advantage of.  4 more people are joining my team.  I was doing the work for 4 people and now they decide to staff up and hire people below and above me.  I have to train the new director... how to be a director.. i have to train my new supervisor.. how to be a supervisor... because I'm the only one that knows.

I'm overworked.  Tired of working above my level without the appropriate compensation, the training or the confidence that should have come with it.  But I don't know where to go.  I just want to quit like many of my friends and just enjoy life, but Jimmy reminds me that I'm the type of person that would go crazy after the 2nd week fo doing nothing.  And I've already been out of work for a year so it doesn't make sense to do it again.

I'm tired of low work morale and mountain of responsibilities that have been placed on me.  I know what I'm good at... and I know what makes me happy so I'll just have to accept that I wouldn't be getting that 50% raise for doing something that I'm no longer interested in doing.  But it's sad for me to realize that my potential to be successful on this path won't make me happy. At least I'm "young."

I don't feel young.  Is it appropriate to start over in your late 20s?  Maybe that's the quote I really need to be fed:

"you're ONLY turning 27 - start over and do something that makes you happy.... NOW"

I blame 30 for being such a scary number.


Tommy Lei said...

The important thing here is to not forget what your heart truly desires. It's never too late to start working on following that path, while still maintaining a full-time profession as a digital media planner.

I am still learning how to juggle this "career" path myself. And the hardest realization for me to accept is: "It's not a 9-5 routine." I work constantly, across three different jobs, trying to figure out what it is that I really want to do. On top of that, I am blogging and working on my own branding.

My point is...the predicament you're in is completely normal. Especially in this unpredictable market and economy we're in. We may never figure it all out in the end, but at least an earnest attempt was made in trying to do so.


p. said...

It's partly your fault for not pushing for a promotion when you were doing most of the work yourself. If you know more than the recent-hired director or supervisor, then that position should be yours.

Rookie mistake, now lesson learned, so don't let the opportunity fly away again.

There's no such thing as "overworked" if you get paid well.

So quit whining and go get something you deserve.

Anonymous said...

i had a degree and am going back to school for a totally unrelated one in my mid 20's

i know exactly how u feel, but if it's any consolation...most ppl in grad school are in their mid to late 20's, if not early 30s

Gauss Jordan said...

I know the feeling. I'd recommend taking a look at the Paradox of Choice (head to wikipedia for the cliff's notes). Every year or so (usually around raise / bonus / promotion times) I become impatient, and question my career. It's worked out OK so far, but I've given up a LOT.

The book helped me reconcile those things, and may help you too.

Anonymous said...

you don't know me, but i have to say

at least ur working, and a graduate of UC berkeley

to someone like me, ur an extremely accomplished individual who should be proud of himself

im going back to college after dropping out a few years ago. it's a daily struggle not to hate myself. i'm younger than you, but 27 is nowhere near "old"