“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.
Don’t go through each mistake I made:
Setting the Scene:
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 making 6 figures and was comfortable enough in my job to where I had everything settled, in good order and deemed it the right time to start a family.
Hoping your situation is going to miraculously change and you will start loving to go to work is a mistake. The truth was I actually hated my job. It was draining, but I was awesome at it. I 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. Even a couple of my favorite employees left while I was on maternity leave. 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.
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.
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. Which only looks cool if you are in a rock band. I knew I needed to make a change so I took a vacation day from work and spent my 30th birthday applying for jobs.
Resumes. Since I was never looking for a different job, I hadn’t created one in many years. And it took me a long time to build a resume from scratch and create multiple versions tailored to each job I was applying for. I dedicated a whole other article about resume building and the key components you need to include to get a call back.
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.
Learn from these Mistakes:
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. He 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?