Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Poor and Unnecessarily Educated

About a month ago, my new bossman called me into his office to powwow about – God how do I even begin to describe? – everything under the sun about our organization and the job I do. Then, towards the end of our meeting, he asked me this:
What gets you excited about your job?

Hmmm… let me think. No just gimme a minute. I’ll come up with something… Hold on… I feel something… it’s coming… Nope. Just indigestion. Sorry.

I stared at him thinking that silence would go over better than, "Uh... Nothing."

Well, I do enjoy being in constant communication with @ for eight hours a day, but I suspect that was not the answer he was hoping for.

Reality check time, people: I’ve lost the ability to even lie about being completely uninspired by my job and marketing as a career choice – the career choice I very deliberately made when I applied to and subsequently spent a ton of money on graduate school. Crap.

There are plenty of reasons why I have become so disenchanted with my choice, but around the age of 26 I realized that I never actually considered the idea that I could do something else (whaaaaaat?). Every career choice I have made to date has been based off some personally decided upon TRUTH that I was destined to be a communications/marketing professional.

My thought process: People tell me I’m a good writer --> I will go into PR --> I don’t like media relations (does anybody?), but I have all this communications and marketing experience and I like to write --> I will go into marketing.

Tada! Career choice consider yourself made.

The only skill I ever focused on was writing – and it’s true, I love to write. But, I didn’t actually think about what else might interest me (who said marketing was the only career that involves writing?). And of course, writing was also the only thing I really thought I was good at (as evidence here -- duh).

Other myths I mistakenly believed to be true about me:
  1. I wanted to be a part of corporate America and climb the career ladder. WTF was I thinking? Climbing the so-called corporate ladder is pretty sucky mcsuckerson. So a big N-O to that one.
  2. I wanted to make a boatload of money. Everyone wants to be comfortable, but it was a huge weight off of my shoulders when I finally realized that money was not enough of an incentive for me to sacrifice having a life. And, if working 55 hours a week made me miserable, money certainly wasn’t going to balance the scale back in favor of happiness and fulfillment.
  3. I would be content with a desk and a computer. A few months ago, I visited a physical therapist at Athletico, a rehabilitation center. It hit me that these people (the physicial therapists) have jobs that do not require them to be chained to a desk and stare at a glowing screen all damn day. That, I thought to myself, is the cat’s pajamas.
I know a lot about me now that I couldn’t have possibly known when I was 21 and applying for my first job out of college. Still, it’s dumbfounding sometimes how simple these realizations (the so-called “light bulb” or, for the Oprah fans, the “ah ha” moments) are: What if I wasn’t in marketing? What if I didn’t sit at a desk all day? What if I only made [insert less money here]? And, most importantly, what if I didn’t base my decisions about my future on the decisions I made in the past?


L Sass said...

Heh. GREAT post to read as I'm going back to grad school, right? I went into fundraising totally be accident and, again, wanted something that used my writing skills. My hope is that b-school will broaden my skills a little and enable me to do many different things instead of being pegged in development FOREVER.

landis smithers said...

been there, love.

keep searching. put yourself out there. meet people. you'll find it.