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Feel like a failure in my career


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Guest Anonymous

Hi all,

I'm having one of those days where I'm re-assessing my career and feel like an complete failure.

I started my career 7 years ago after the equivalent of a J.D. (equivalent as I don't live in the US). I have since been working on finance and worked at top tier banks / consulting firms. I started my career at a great company, my performance was top notch (constant praising from seniors and clients), but my manager who was new to management absolutely disliked me and bullied me so I quit (she said I was "aggressive"). I then moved into another company where the culture was great and really enjoyed my time there but there was no future in that role. I then joined my current company where I'm the only female. I never get any positive feedback from anyone. Males get all the praise, meanwhile I've been bending over and backwards and never got a token of appreciation. In 2 years, I've only had 2 performance reviews (which were positive), but appreciation is non-existent. Back in December, I was told I'd get promoted this year but the entire management chain has since changed and I don't know where this is now. The culture is very transactional (do what is being asked and that's it).

I have been applying for jobs since January to keep my options open, but all I've been getting is rejections (whether it's for a lateral move or upwards move). I've never received this many rejections in my entire life. I don't know if my CV is not competitive or if the market has changed, but I never had a problem getting interviews before.

All of my former colleagues that were at entry-level with me have since progressed to AVP / Manager / VP / Senior Manager roles and I'm still an Analyst with no corporate title. I don't know if this will ever happen for me because I'm 32 I'm still a junior. This is not normal and I feel like an utter failure every single passing day. I'm getting VP tasks at my current job, but no immediate sight of this promotion. I'm contemplating leaving the industry altogether, but to do what, I don't know. I can't go on like this because I've been working myself to the bone for 7 years but still in the same spot.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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If you are not getting any interviews, it's most likely your CV that's the problem. Things change a lot when it comes to format, information you put in it, how it needs to be worded, and how it needs to be presented, so that you do get the attention that you deserve.

Unfortunately, I do see this quite often where great people get overlooked because they are working with a resume/CV that is outdated in terms of style and format. People tend to use what worked for them before. Problem is, that what worked for you three years ago is very very outdated and will be ignored today.

So, put some work and effort into that and by some, I mean a lot. Get educated on what's in vogue right now and how you need to present yourself on paper. Also, be sure that your resume reflects your advanced experience and highlights that instead of making you look like a junior associate/clerical worker bee. It's all in the language and presentation.

Keep in mind also, that most advanced positions are filled by referral and recommendation. So be sure that you work on your professional connections. A recommendation from a friend or old coworker will put you immediately at the top to be considered for a position. Applying cold is much harder.

 

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27 minutes ago, Guest Anonymous said:

have been applying for jobs since January to keep my options open, but all I've been getting is rejections (whether it's for a lateral move or upwards move). I've never received this many rejections in my entire life. I don't know if my CV is not competitive or if the market has changed, but I never had a problem getting interviews before.

If you have the money, get your resume redone by a professional resume writer.

I think this might be blocking you. Your resume might not emphasize the level of your experience. And apply for jobs for which you are 60% qualified. Don't be too picky and under-estimate your capabilities.

And, you don't need to be VP by 32. Each person has their own career path. Some people become VP and chiefs in their 40s! In fact, it was more the case before all the age of startups and quick businesses. So deep breaths. And the more you have diverse experience before becoming VP, the better you'll be able to handle it and make an impact.

So, get that resume re-written, and adjust your attitude. Also, start saying no at your job. You teach people how you want to be treated, so teach those male colleagues that you are a busy woman and can't bend backwards to everything and everyone. Start enjoying being you and enjoying your strengths.

I think you got it and you will get to a better place. Also, trust the universe in that it'll bring you the right opportunity at the right time.

Edit: I'm speaking from my experience in HR and recruiting here!

Edited by DarkCh0c0
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Make sure your resume isn't made up of long paragraphs. Recruiters and hiring managers will not read paragraphs. I took a course in resume writing and was told that a reviewer will take only 10 seconds to decide if they want to see more. If it takes more than 10 seconds to even get through your first job experience listing they will not look further.

Less is more! I use bullet points. And don't list job duties. Anyone could do those.  List what YOU personally have accomplished. 

And make it clear what you're searching for. Saying you want a challenging position that offers growth is too vague. What is it you'd like to be doing and why are you qualified to do it?

I got my current, terrific job because a recruiter saw my resume on Indeed and was impressed. I got the job after one 30 minute phone interview because my resume was succinct and informative. They just wanted to speak to me to make sure I could communicate verbally.

Good luck! I hope you are successful at finding a better position that you enjoy.

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I agree with having a resume service redo your resume. And look for a service that caters to your field.

Many recruiters use software that looks for certain key words. A professional resume writer can help with this. 

Sometimes it's not our fault, we just get some tough breaks in life. 

Don't give up.  Dig in!

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28 minutes ago, Lambert said:

Many recruiters use software that looks for certain key words. A professional resume writer can help with this.

Another vote here for resume service. Everything is computerized these days. Get a good service; one where you get a couple of revision cycles. Don't be afraid to lay down a couple hundred $$. It's worth the investment.

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I would not hire a resume service.  I would google different resume formats, do your research and find a format that seems to reflect your experience, be easy to read, be succint and with zero mistakes (I used to read mine backwards, last word first to make sure any mistakes stood out to me). 

Yes I was a headhunter/recruiter for a few years in my 20s (in the late 80s/early 90s) and it helped a lot and yes I know of people who pay $ for professional resume writers but I would do the google searching first. 

When I prepared most of my resumes it was pre-internet and so much harder.  I had to redo my resume in 2015 when I reentered the workforce after being a stay at home mom and all of the options were great.  I probably used a more traditional format, I am in a professional/corporate type field, I received many positive responses and did get a job.  

I'm sorry you're so frustrated with your current employer and I hope you find something soon.  

For interviews make sure you have at least three questions ready that can't be answered by a google search and be ready with a good response to "what is your weakness/flaws" -also show up on time, look professional, carry yourself well with good eye contact and body language and research if you can who you will be meeting with. 

I'm not a fan of bold and trying to impress if that is not who you are - will come across as forced 0-certainly show that you are confident (not arrogant) in your abilities, that you want to contribute to this employer, and focus less on how much you want to learn and what you want from them -focus on what you can give to them. 

Edited by Batya33
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Well I have zero experience with the finance industry so I can't really give you any advice about what to do in that particular field. My way of trying to find jobs usually was through networking or trying to build my way up or apply for another role internally.

I had a Linked In profile and also had my resume set to be visible by employers on the biggest job search website in my country. You just set your resume privacy to public (for employer view). That way if any employers were looking for staff, often they preferred to contact potential candidates directly on that website, rather than paying a lot of money for advertising. I actually did get approached by a few organisations this way. 

I'm not sure if you want to have or have a Linked In profile but I think when you're actually job hunting it can be beneficial. I ended up deleting mine because I had some people trying to add me that I didn't want to add and I also decided that I don't actually want everyone to know where I work lol But I did actually have people who worked industry or were recruiters trying to add me on Linked In.

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Head over to ask a manager and get stuck into the archives. She has oodles of advice about resume/cover letter writing and interview questions.

https://www.askamanager.org

That dissatisfaction is more fuel on the fire to propel you into a new job (and jobs like partners and friends and mental healthcare workers, you just have to keep looking until you find the one that’s a good fit). 

 

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I would give somewhat different advice. You are dissatisfied with your current job because you didnt get promoted. While there could be various factors why, I believe that, before you try to find new job or just leave your industry, try for that promotion. Yes, they promised you that. However, sometimes its not just in promise. Its in them seeing that you want that job. You need to undertand that lots of people, especially corporate dont care that much about somebody else. To the point probably even your old managers forgot what they promised. So, before you do any radical steps, plea your case with management. Not just once, but multiple times if needed. If you see that even that doesnt work, than I would recommend just finding something else. You are not feeling appreciated and that is a very good reason for job change.

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I’m not sure if your going to read this or not. But I’ll post this just for anyone who ever reads a post like this and what I gathered from it.

First off, if your doing your job for praise or words of affirmation then your probably in the wrong industry. At my current job most of the people have at least 10 to 15 years more experience then me and I don’t think they ever get paid that much since it’s a government job.

The thing is they just love what they do, and there’s little room for promotion since it’s a small university with a limited budget for developers. The few individuals who do get praised work about 3 to 4 times as hard as any of the other developers and spend a lot of their nights and weekends helping out the college so students can get an education.

I guarantee that most of the seniors at the current company could probably 40-60k more at a private business if they put themselves out there and could get an offer in probably a few months of talking to recruiters or applications. It’s hard to believe that you’ve been in your industry for seven years (changed jobs twice) and don’t even know how to sell yourself or seek help from co-workers or peers in your industry on how to write a properly resume/cover letter.

If your not passionate about what your doing then maybe it’s for the best to change careers. It seems like you already switch companies on multiple occasions and keep playing the victim card. First it was your manager, then there was no room for promotion and now it’s male dominated.

Is there a possibility that maybe these type of situations in the workplace are common and people have different ways of reacting to the adversity. Maybe if your frame your situations differently (look at them as a challenge to overcome) and take a proactive approach to improving your relationships with your co-workers that you would see the fruits of that labor.

It seems to be the common theme in this post, the lack of strong bonds at any of your previous or current working situations.

Edited by junebug123
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7 hours ago, 1a1a said:

Head over to ask a manager and get stuck into the archives. She has oodles of advice about resume/cover letter writing and interview questions.

https://www.askamanager.org

That dissatisfaction is more fuel on the fire to propel you into a new job (and jobs like partners and friends and mental healthcare workers, you just have to keep looking until you find the one that’s a good fit). 

 

Yes great site!!

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1 hour ago, junebug123 said:

First off, if your doing your job for praise or words of affirmation then your probably in the wrong industry. At my current job most of the people have at least 10 to 15 years more experience then me and I don’t think they ever get paid that much since it’s a government job.

As my mother would say "your thank you is your paycheck."  I agree.

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13 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

As my mother would say "your thank you is your paycheck."  I agree.

So -an exception -not praise but ackowledgement. I was on a zoom staff meeting.  One of the assistants went on about how she and her supervisor had had a big accomplishment recently.  Her supervisor was not on the zoom meeting.  Thing is, I'd played a significant role in this accomplishment as my (absent) supervisor knew.  This person was unaware.  Someone else chimed in (not me!) to make sure everyone knew my role.  I would have felt badly if my role went unacknowledged, but I wasn't looking for "praise".  

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10 hours ago, Batya33 said:

As my mother would say "your thank you is your paycheck." 

I was actually thinking about this quote the other day. I agree with it. When things are crazy at work and I feel unappreciated, it makes me feel better. But I am in a 'normal' situation at work, where things are generally good, even when I feel like I can't get ahead of the workload and my boss is abrupt and abrasive, etc. There are some jobs where the craziness is abnormal and unhealthy. I've been in those situations and a paycheck doesn't make up for the misery! 

Edited by Jibralta
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2 hours ago, Jibralta said:

I was actually thinking about this quote the other day. I agree with it. When things are crazy at work and I feel unappreciated, it makes me feel better. But I am in a 'normal' situation at work, where things are generally good, even when I feel like I can't get ahead of the workload and my boss is abrupt and abrasive, etc. There are some jobs where the craziness is abnormal and unhealthy. I've been in those situations and a paycheck doesn't make up for the misery! 

I'm referring to expecting praise and being gushed over - not that a paycheck makes up for toxicity.

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24 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I'm referring to expecting praise and being gushed over - not that a paycheck makes up for toxicity.

I realize that. And yes, her first paragraph focuses on praise and positive feedback, but I think that's just to point out the differences between her previous two jobs and this one; setting the stage for her real frustration, which is lack of recognition for her effort and forward progress:

On 4/20/2022 at 3:20 PM, Guest Anonymous said:

All of my former colleagues that were at entry-level with me have since progressed to AVP / Manager / VP / Senior Manager roles and I'm still an Analyst with no corporate title. I don't know if this will ever happen for me because I'm 32 I'm still a junior. This is not normal and I feel like an utter failure every single passing day. I'm getting VP tasks at my current job, but no immediate sight of this promotion. 

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41 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

I realize that. And yes, her first paragraph focuses on praise and positive feedback, but I think that's just to point out the differences between her previous two jobs and this one; setting the stage for her real frustration, which is lack of recognition for her effort and forward progress:

Yes. I don't personally see that as a toxic or crazy environment.  I see that as she feels she is not acknowledged for her work with a promotion and presumes that she is being treated differently as far as promotions.  She may be right but often there are reasons she may not be aware of.  

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1 minute ago, Batya33 said:

I don't personally see that as a toxic or crazy environment.  I see that as she feels she is not acknowledged for her work with a promotion and presumes that she is being treated differently as far as promotions.  She may be right but often there are reasons she may not be aware of.

I get that. But I prefer to assume that she's capable and has made a good assessment. But that's me--I'm always overestimating people!

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10 hours ago, Jibralta said:

I get that. But I prefer to assume that she's capable and has made a good assessment. But that's me--I'm always overestimating people!

I still don't see it as toxic though - if she's being passed over for promotions that might be unfair - but not necessarily toxic -I'd need to know a lot more.  Certainly if it was for discriminatory reasons I'm with you. I think it's easy to have misinformation/not enough info in the workplace and be biased so I think even people with the best of intentions might not have the whole picture (and typically and understandably have some bias).  

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5 hours ago, Batya33 said:

I still don't see it as toxic though

It's up to her to evaluate her own environment. I don't think she actually called it toxic. To me, it looks like she is trying to figure out if the problem is her, if it's sexism, or if it's perhaps a little of both. If I take away all of the praise/positive feedback vocabulary, I still see that she's feels that she feels overworked and undervalued as compared to others, and she feels that it's unfair.

On 4/20/2022 at 3:20 PM, Guest Anonymous said:

Males get all the praise, meanwhile I've been bending over and backwards and never got a token of appreciation.

I don't see any reason to second guess her, or to add a subplot to her story in which she is unable to properly assess her own situation for whatever reason. Sure, her observation is not the most crowd-pleasing or politically correct truth, but gender bias does happen. I've certainly experienced it myself, and in ways that would be comical if I were watching a movie. But when it happens in real life it's hard to laugh because you're stuck in it. It is absolutely toxic and crazy-making because it's as unconsciously perpetrated as racism. The people who do it don't know that they're doing it, and don't want to think of themselves in that way. It's a very interesting thing to witness! But a highly frustrating position to be in.

A paycheck isn't 'thank you' enough for dealing with it, but when you're stuck, you're stuck--I wouldn't recommend quitting without another job lined up (unless you're independently wealthy).

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7 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

It's up to her to evaluate her own environment. I don't think she actually called it toxic. To me, it looks like she is trying to figure out if the problem is her, if it's sexism, or if it's perhaps a little of both. If I take away all of the praise/positive feedback vocabulary, I still see that she's feels that she feels overworked and undervalued as compared to others, and she feels that it's unfair.

I don't see any reason to second guess her, or to add a subplot to her story in which she is unable to properly assess her own situation for whatever reason. Sure, her observation is not the most crowd-pleasing or politically correct truth, but gender bias does happen. I've certainly experienced it myself, and in ways that would be comical if I were watching a movie. But when it happens in real life it's hard to laugh because you're stuck in it. It is absolutely toxic and crazy-making because it's as unconsciously perpetrated as racism. The people who do it don't know that they're doing it, and don't want to think of themselves in that way. It's a very interesting thing to witness! But a highly frustrating position to be in.

A paycheck isn't 'thank you' enough for dealing with it, but when you're stuck, you're stuck--I wouldn't recommend quitting without another job lined up (unless you're independently wealthy).

I agree- this was just from the thank you is your paycheck and I was responding to the way you took it.  I didn't mean for it to become this involved/tangential.  I can't really respond to what you wrote in any real way - I was trying to make a simple point and we see that point differently which is fine!

My sole understanding of "your thank you is your paycheck" is only when the person expects praise for an expected task and doesn't receive extra praise.  

I was not trying to analyze or evaluate her environment.  Separately, IMHO I see "toxic" environment thrown around a wee bit too much these days generally and I  think the definition of what is toxic has expanded to an extent that I personally don't agree with (that would have been simply seen as working extra hard/going the extra mile in the past) -but that is tangential too!

Edited by Batya33
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