“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Super lame question. It should be, “Where do you want to be at each stage in life?” Maybe if a question like that would have been posed to me, it wouldn’t have taken me so long to realize I needed to find a job for each stage in life and not the status I was pursuing.
I was pretty motivated to be one of the youngest, successful people out there. Since about the age of 15, I worked both full-time and part-time jobs while going to school.
By 21, I obtained an associates and bachelors degree. At age 23, I graduated with my MBA and by 24 I found myself in a managerial position supervising 6 full-time positions and 1-2 interns. It worked out great to pay off school loans, make house & car payments, gain experience and fit for the “in debt up to my eyeballs” stage in life.
By 28, I was comfortable enough in my job to where I had everything settled, in good order and deemed it a good time to start a family.
Mistake #1: Hoping your situation is going to miraculously change and you will start loving to go to work is a mistake. Truth: I actually hated my job. It was draining but I was awesome at it, knew all the ins and outs….and unfortunately people became too dependent on me.
By 29, I hit a wall. I came back to work after my maternity leave only to find the replacement they had brought in to fill in my position had a personal midlife crisis, and let everything, including the team, fall a part. Everything I had worked so hard for in 5 years, was gone. Knowing it took working my tail off in my 20s to get to where I was with the team and the business, it was impossible to go through that again. I put my Supervisors on notice I would be looking for another job. However, they wanted me to stay, and gave me a promotion that at the time, any one would be foolish to turn down.
Mistake #2. Throwing money at a problem isn’t a fix. It’s a temporary band-aid. It didn’t relieve the actual problems. “Here’s more money for you. Will you stay?”
I gave it my all the next year, attempt to replace those who left, train in new staff, perform at a managerial level, balance a 7 figure operating budget and advise executives who probably didn’t understand 3/4 of the words coming out of my mouth yet held the puppet strings.
Mistake #3. You would have thought it was being employed by execs that deemed you as a puppet, but heck – that’s everywhere! Not a problem; just use “Survivor” tactics to outwit, outplay and outlast. The mistake was actually sleep deprivation. On top of working 8-5pm, I was also cranking out long hours working at home and only getting about 2-4hrs of sleep per night.
Before long, my immune system was shot; I was sick all the time and cocaine skinny like a celebrity. I knew I needed to make a change so I took a vacation day from work and spent my 30th birthday applying for jobs.
Mistake #4: Resumes. I will focus in another article about resume building and all the tips and tricks, and mistakes I made along the way until my resumes (yup, plural, more than one) were finally updated and successful enough to get some interviews.
Mistake #5. I stayed due to loyalty. I made the mistake of being more loyal to a job than I was to myself, my family and marriage.
Now these are mistakes and not regrets. I’m a firm believer (and feel challenged everyday) that God doesn’t give what you can’t handle, and gives what can strengthen you.
Luckily, I did find another job that makes me excited for Monday’s. It was not an easy transition and very hard decision to make with my family, but I am glad to be in a job that matches the “Partner in Life Wife, New Mom, Caring Daughter, Quirky Sister, Best Aunt, Old Friend” stage in life.
Question for the readers- Does your job match your stage in life?