Are you in the right job for your talents? Do you
look forward to going to work each day....or do you
My grandfather, who was a very wise man, gave me great advice many years ago. He said that "life is too short to be miserable at your job. If you're that unhappy, it's time to go and do something else."
Of course, there are always circumstances that make it difficult to just walk away from a job, any job, especially in this economy. But, it's definitely worth taking a hard look at what you are doing and if it's the best use of your talents and interests. If you love what you do, then great! No need to look elsewhere. But, if you are less than thrilled, perhaps it may be a good idea to do a self-assessment and consider if the path you are currently on is the best one for you.
I did this myself many years ago. It's interesting when you meet up with people five or even ten years after graduating college, to see what they are doing and how their careers have progressed and evolved. I graduated with a degree in Communications, Advertising & PR and an interest in Journalism. I'd worked at The Tampa Tribune during college, handling obituaries and birth and wedding announcements. So it was natural to join the paper after graduating, as a community news reporter. I quickly discovered though that I didn't love that role, and decided to pursue advertising.
I moved home to Cape Cod and landed at a top 40 radio station selling ads. I loved that job. It was one of the most fun experiences I've ever had. But, my timing wasn't great. I joined as the market was heading downward and the first thing to be cut in ad spending was generally radio. After a few years, I knew I loved sales, but wasn't excited about the intangible product I was selling.
At the time, my younger sister was working in the accounting department of a big search firm in Boston. She is the one responsible for introducing me to the world of recruiting. I loved it immediately, did well, and now more than 18 years later, I am still loving what I do.
A few years back, I was visiting with a good friend who was feeling lost in her career.She'd worked at State Street bank as a fund accounting manager for years. When they had a huge layoff, she took a package, took some time off and then waitressed for awhile. She was so personable as a waitress that people suggested she might be good as a mortgage broker. She did fairly well at that, but disliked the negotiating and sales side of the job.
So, we sat down and talked about what aspects of all her jobs she enjoyed the most.The common thread came down to working with numbers and helping people, but more in a customer service, account manager capacity instead of purely sales. She then found a role as an estate administrator for a local bank that was perfect. She handled numbers work for clients, dealing with their estates and absolutely loved it.
I see this in the marketing world all the time too, as people's careers evolve towards what they are passionate about. If you're a product marketing manager for instance, and the analysis work is what you enjoy the most, you may want to consider moving into the market research area. Or if you love the writing piece, then focus on those roles within product marketing that are writing intensive, as many are. If yours is not, then maybe seek out a new role that has more of a focus there, or even move into a different kind of marketing role such as content marketing. Especially for the web, that is a hugely hot and growing area.
If writing is not your thing and you're a product marketing manager, you may find that you enjoy more of the client interaction and may want to move more into business development or to a channel marketing manager role, where you are working very closely with the external partners, consulting with them on how to position and market their offerings so that it's a win-win for them and your company.
Or, maybe your true passion lies completely outside of your current role?
If you have an outside passion that you'd love to turn into a full-time job, consider working at it on the side until you've built it up to such a level that you can transition out of your current role and into your new dream career. Will this be easy? No, of course not. It takes extra work, long hours and a committment to your goal.
I highly recommend the Malcolm Gladwell book, Outliers: The Story of Success In it, he details the results of studying those who achieved success, such as writer Stephen King, Microsoft's Bill Gates, and the band The Beatles. What they all had in common was that none were overnight successes. Those who reached the highest pinnacles of success had on average put in a minimum of 10,000 hours before they hit it big.
Stephen King wrote for years, story after story, receiving rejection slips regularly. Finally in despair, about to give up, he threw his latest manuscript, CARRIE, in the trash. His wife rescued it, mailed it off and it sold for crazy money at the time, $400,000, and a career was born. The Beatles played in clubs all over Britain, for years, until they were discovered and ironically, were considered overnight successes at the time. Bill Gates, actually started programming while just a kid and was fortunate that he and his buddies were allowed to play with the computers at a local college. That access and years tinkering for hours on these computers gave him the experience to do what he has done with Microsoft.
So, this all sounds great, but maybe it's a bit difficult to relate to Stephen King, The Beatles, and Bill Gate. Does this apply to the average person?
Yes. I have a friend, writer Marie Force who is a great example of this. Marie had always dreamed of writing novels, but had a busy life with two kids, a husband and a high level, demanding Director of Marketing role that she'd held for many years. When her mother passed away, in 2005, Marie decided to do something about her dream.
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