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Career Limbo


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I could use some advice about my career. I initially went to college to get into the public relations space. I thought I'd work for a big magazine or TV station.  Upon graduating, I struggled to get a job. I was savvy with marketing and I was creative. I'm good at making things more efficient, creating new strategies, plans, processes, making things pretty- as I like to say,  building things from nothing, creating concepts, trying things. I love getting inspired by a new idea and running with it, but after so long it bores me and I either let it drop or like to hand it off. 

I finally got a job. I started doing marketing and IT at a local community college. I was savvy with computers, but was not an IT wizard. I was a newbie, as they say. I really needed training and someone to introduce me to the working world. At first, I was the boss' new shiny toy. But after a while, I would ask questions and it would be "you figure it out" and"I hired you for that"

So I started creating, doing, making, adding on my own. The office was poorly marketed and not appealing. I added flare, creativity, appeal, new ideas to the office. I learned from everyone around me. How to be organized, how to plan, how to network, and I soaked it in like a sponge. I essentially created a new job for myself. Our office got accolades for its newfound success. 

But after a few years, the boss got a shiny new toy. She hated me, because she liked my fun and creative job, and she wanted it. She was mean, cutthroat, and a liar. She turned the boss against me. He went from telling me I was doing an amazing job in June, to telling me how bad I was doing in August. I was doing what I always did. I followed the community College rules. I was figuring it out as he always told me to do. It was terrible to feel like a failure all of the sudden. I went through trauma daily in our once happy office. And that girl got my job, even before I left. I left after 4 years. 

Finally I decided I had to leave. Another job popped up at a bigger community College. I went for it. I nailed the interview. I beat out people double my age. I impressed this new school. I got the job. They praised me for my experiences and it's been a happy, positive, supportive environment.  I've been at this job for 4 years now. I like my department, I like the people, I know my field. But this job is different. They have me teaching IT community College classes half the time and doing marketing only a little. I have ideas but no time to create them. I had never taught before this. I felt ill prepared, but I went in trying my best and I try my best every single season. But it's mind draining.  Giving boring lectures and repeating yourself every day. Grading the same boring work and assignments. The topic is boring, the school dictates what I teach, so I can't change it too much. I try to liven it up, but I feel uninspired. I feel like I've aged, I'm burnt out, and bored teaching. I try to keep creating little projects here and there, new initiatives in my department,  but I always have to do the classes first. The students are needy, and they expect you to be emailing them back within a few hours, they are picky, some think they know it all and hate my required class. It's so hard. Then every season, they take anonymous surveys of the classes by the students. I get generally good feedback, but one or two are mean. They don't like me, they don't like the class. I feel like a failure.  Some say that I helped them and I'm the best teacher. Some praise me for being caring, understanding, that my lessons worked.  Others say they wish I wasnt the teacher and comment that I was annoying or talked too much or was disorganized or was too one way with the topic. Now I do fail some students, so some may be bitter. But it hits me every time. I could do better. But I hate teaching. I even went back to school to get a masters degree in business. I'm interested in business and marketing. But I feel teaching is not what I am good at, nor what I ever thought I'd do, nor where I find my strengths lie. 

I love the company, the pay, the benefits. I work barely at all in the summer. It's fantastic. They let me come and go as I please. They trust me to do the job. I can go for a doctor's appointment in the middle of the day. I can stay at home if I'm not teaching.  Its a great job for a future mother. Great health benefits and time off. I savor it. But I feel unfulfilled Every summer I dread going back to teaching in the fall. But what else can I do? Every summer I look for other jobs. And by fall, I chicken out and forget it. I don't want to jump into another job and then it be stressful, time demanding, strict. I don't have that now. 

I fear that I'm simply having "grass is greener" syndrome. I love the company, the people, but I wish I was doing something else. But I fear I may regret leaving or changing. What do I do?

Edited by Alex39
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Keep your current job while you search and apply for other jobs.  Never leave your current job unless you've secured your next job. 

Network, have LinkedIn, get referrals, ask friends and see what other jobs will offer you, what it entails, pay, hours, benefits, etc.  Do your homework first so you won't have regrets later.  

 

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1 hour ago, Alex39 said:

Every summer I look for other jobs. And by fall, I chicken out and forget it.

Don't stop looking in the Fall. Push yourself to keep going with the search. 

You know you are not happy in your current role. That is unlikely to change, since you don't enjoy the work itself. So, continue looking and networking to see what else is out there. Stick with your current position until you find something else. There's bound to be another option for you; it might just take some more persistence to find it. 

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1 hour ago, Wiseman2 said:

Why can't you get a side hustle to try some things out?

I wasn't going to put it exactly this way but I had a similar point/goal for you - with the "I have these big ideas but no time to implement" kind of thing I was going to say volunteer your services in this regard for an organization that needs your skills/talent - that will be your outlet because unless you're so so good at your big ideas that people want to pay you to have them -but be able to drop them or fade into the sunset and let others implement, develop, maintain (do the grunt work) your Big Ideas talent isn't worth it to companies that have bottom lines or even a nonprofit institution that has to work within a budget including not paying salaries for Big Creative Ideas.  But if you offer for free perhaps it will enhance your resume.  

I had a Big Creative Ideas friend in her 40s.  We were friends for a few years.  She flit from job to job doing marketing and would call me excitedly with her next big idea -one time it had to do with the wedding industry/event planning, various ideas related to the pandemic and splashy social media concepts related to that and the immigrant community, etc etc - sometimes she asked me for $ and others too (no of course I didn't -I did give some input to some ideas).  Some were side hustles, others had to do with her new "awesome" job that she kept for a couple of months at a time. Meanwhile her husband who doesn't make a lot of $ was cringing because she'd stay up all night with her Big Ideas and he'd be left with the child care and the lost salary/$ investment.  

Another friend also was the same.  Also asked me for $ (nope).  She now does a sort of side hustle related to house sitting to make ends meet and teaches online.  

The big ideas work for the Big Execs who have already proven themselves to an extent you have not.  They also probably have thicker skins than you/better at the office politics as I see in a lot of your posts how you fancy yourself the victim of mean people and clueless people and how life is unfair.  Sometimes you have been the victim for sure..... but all the time? At your relatively young age? You've only been out of college less than 10 years, yes? 

Part of my job is creative.  Part of my job is to think outside the box and see other angles.  When I do I do the following:  explore it on my own (time permitting); decide how it would be implemented; decide if it is worth the time investment/downsides/risks to implement.  If it checks all the boxes I tell my superiors (I used to be management but now I'm basically co-CEO of my home and took a step back in my career after parenthood) - "here is my idea.  here is how I would implement it.  here are the downsides/risk." 

If I get the green light I implement or I get others to implement if that is how it works in my company (meaning if others are typically tasked with that sort of implementation).  I would never fancy myself just the big picture/big idea/abstraction person without concrete plans as to how to implement and implement given any deadlines/times sensitive stuff.

That's the part of doing the grunt work so to speak and showing teamwork and showing your superiors and colleagues that you roll up your sleeves and you get it done.  That's what people mostly remember even more than your Big Creative Idea.

(I worked more than full time for 18 years -15 in a large corporate environment and almost 6 years part time but often closer to full).

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Thanks for the advice. I honestly would love to stay at company forever, but I don't want to teach forever. In a year or two there is a potential marketing job opening up. So I may jump at that if it becomes available. 

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Hey Alex,

 

Just noticed your other post and thought I would pop in here if you don’t mind!

 

Just to add a curve ball into this discussion!!! Oh yes!

 

I don’t know what type of ideas you have, but this is something small to maybe keep in the back of your mind.

 

So many people champion team work. It’s all you will ever hear. But when it comes to an Idea, when it comes to an Invention - these things have been created and conceptualised by individuals. Histories advancements in technology, philosophy -anything, is a long list of crazy, lone, do it themselves, eccentric individuals. 
 

They may then get a team to implement that idea, but, often, the majority of the work even was then too. This also goes for medical research and so many other areas of, big advancement. 
 

Just something to keep in mind. Sometimes, when developing and creating, the mind is solo. Especially creative activities actually, it is almost a sacred, private, individual experience working through things alone. 
 

I don’t know what your concepts are, but I just thought I would put out an alternative to the advice you get given in college. 
 

My husband created and then ran his own business now for 18 years and he has employed other people for sure but, it’s all him. You can be your main wheel. Don’t be scared of that. There is power in individuality, and doing it for yourself when you can.

 

Sometimes team work is a good thing but, it’s not the answer to everything, even in the corporate world. 

 

x

Edited by mylolita
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I know of many inventors and creative types personally and professionally and have for decades, especially for the decade from my early 30s to early 40s.  I am not one of them lol.  I do a lot of individual solo work in the work I do and always have and I always found study groups in grad school -teamwork - to be far more of a hindrance than a help. So I get that part.  

I think that very often inventors are solo -but - are inspired by others, including those who came before them - and very often this is because they are good team players and networkers -so while they may invent/create/conceptualize on their own their ability to get to that place in a successful way results at least in part because of past teamwork, connections -the ability to have a trusted soundboard for example.

And, like I wrote above -unless you are one of the rare few who have the Big Idea (solo) and have the wherewithal -including $$$ and time to take the idea and implement -or -work in an environment where you are valued for your capacity to have Big Ideas even if you're known, as the OP to kind of do the fade out/get bored once the concept is shared with colleagues/supervisors -here's my idea boss - do what you wish with it - then it's going to be essential to have the teamwork part. 

Entrepreneurs are great but the OP isn't one of them - for now - so she is relying on work-related time and resources to come up with her ideas - certainly she can strike out on her own if she has the time/financial backing to create all her own supplies and resources and home office, etc.  

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