Monday, May 24, 2004


I'm going to take a break from my flowery words and deep thoughts here for a second, folks. Sort of. I'm in a bit of a quandary. Loved ones' input welcome.

I just got off the phone with a company that appears to be actively recruiting me for a position that may be even less responsibility and stimulation than the one I currently hold, which is not how the position was initially described to me. I was up front with them about that. There's no guarantee of promotion, though it is a growing company. The philosophy of life from their end in response to my concerns is 3-fold:

1. That people want to have active, healthy and happy personal lives.
2. That people want to "make lots of money" and do so at a job that they like and are stimulated by.
3. That work/home environments need to be conducive to that happiness by way of the people and places they involve.

I suppose these people aren't totally ignorant of the fact that I'm less than satisfied with my current position. Largely that often has to do with less than ideal working relationships and an environment that is often oppressive and that, despite my gravest efforts, continues to foster an enormous void of negative energy that never seems to end. You feel it when you walk in the door. I fight the urge to be "sick" one or more times a week, and it's getting harder all the time. It's almost painful. That's no way to start 5 out of 7 days of the week. And I really like all of the people that I've interacted with at the potential new job. They obviously really like me.

My response to the recruiting company's philosophy:

1. My personal life has come a long, long way from where it was not so long ago. I have fantastic new friends, invaluable old friends, a loving relationship...there's little, if anything, that I would change about any of it. And I'm happier and more confident with myself than I've been in a long time, physically and mentally.
2. Money's nice. I have debt that needs repaying. The benefits package at my current job is likely slightly more weighted than it would be at the other company, but I could possibly negotiate my salary to make up for that. The job description for the new position, however, includes such things as "Daily office start-up, including turning on lights and machinery." Because THAT'S why I went to college. I am currently understimulated, but not necessarily because of a LACK of things to do so much as a total disinterest in and removal from the mission of the organization.
3. I took my current job knowing that I didn't REALLY want to do it, but because the environment seemed really great. That has changed considerably over time, as I'm sure has been evident to all of you. Environment affects me a great deal, and I think that it does have a lot to do with whether or not you're happy personally and professionally. But is it really enough?

The running argument is that work doesn't have to be, and probably shouldn't mean EVERYTHING. It's difficult to think that way when you spend so much time there, especially during Minnesota winters when you're much less likely to be out and about several times a week and are essentially hibernating for up to 6 months out of the year.

My interview is Wednesday morning.

What do I do? What do I ask them? Am I continuing down a dead end road that will continue to make me bitter and unhappy professionally? Will that carry over to other places in my life? Is it even POSSIBLE to do something you love for a living? How do you find out what that something IS? Should I take it, if offered, just to get out and into something new, then pursue other things? Am I destined to be miserable in any Office Stooge position? AAAHH!!!


mary said...

Well, I've known for a long time that the thing I want to do most, that makes me happy, is really unlikely to make money. So I do it because I love it, and as a way to get the stress of the "real" job(whatever that means) and life out.
I guess it's good to remember that most people change "careers" many times in their life. you are young and have time to be searching for what you want to do.
I think that, for me, I need to find something that makes me happy in differnt ways than my first love of music. Make a list of what you want to get out of a job. Earn a living, help people, feel good about the work I do, not get bored, whatever may be on your list. You may not be able to get the job you want the most right now, but think of what steps you can take to go towards that goal. It's not all going to happen at once. Also think of areas around that are associated with your preferred job.
I don't know how you find out what this thing is. I've always known I want to be around music in some way or another. I've always known I feel strongly about women's issues and I want to make the world better for the women who live now and after me. I really think there is no answer to some of the things you are asking, it's about doing what you feel is right. the hard part is that there is risk involved in any choice, and it's a risk you have to take. Unfortunatly there is really no control, only choices to be made. Though many things lead us to believe we have control, we don't. And even though I can write that here, I still probably think that I can try and control what happens to me.
If you are not happy, I say do something about it. I don't know what that is though.

hmmm, I can go on and on eh?....:)

Maria said...

And you're so wise, too. :)

Anonymous said...

MRD says: coming from a person who has crossed over from the place of dread where you are now employed, to a much brighter happier land, I say go for the new job. Even if the position doesn't offer greater stimuli for your daily grind, no other office could be so soul-draining as your current spot. The change alone would be freeing and happiness-inspiring. Based on my 4 months at a fairly "real" job, it really is the people that matter. My supervisors are awesome and that is why after 4 months I am still excited to go to work in the morning. (I keep waiting for that feeling to fade, but so far it remains intact). The work I do isn't incredibly stimulating, there is a lot of paperwork, and various lame tasks, but I am surrounded by people who care about eachother and treat their coworkers with respect--and even, *gasp*, often have FUN at work....though it may be a sidestep for you as far as job description and responsibilty go, a relaxed happy bunch of coworkers can only be a huge leap upwards in work environment. And you can always continue to look for more inspiring work as you continue to plan your fabulous life. I agree with Mary, you are still young--working crap jobs until you figure out how to make your professional dreams into reality is more than OK, it is expected. But a crap job with crap people will slowly kill you....My 2 (or 3) cents, take it or leave it.