Even though we’re working towards FI, we’re moving at a pretty slow pace, so I anticipate several more years of working in a corporate type job. So I thought I’d write about the new position I just accepted at my company, how this all went down, and the way I have approached my career.
I figured out many years ago that I’m not a traditional career trajectory person. I don’t like any one thing enough to keep doing it over and over for years upon years on end – especially since big companies are oriented around doing a very specialized job, as opposed to doing a variety of tasks. I’ve been at my company for 13 years, and part of the reason for that is because I’ve had opportunity to move around and try new things. In 13 years, I’ve had 6 different jobs on 4 different teams, and the longest I’ve stayed in any particular job was 4 years.
But because I’ve moved around, it hasn’t been a straight line towards the top. A few years ago I took half a step back in order to move to an entirely different organization. While it didn’t pay off in terms of upward growth or pay, I got a ton of experience that I wouldn’t have gotten if I had stayed in my comfortable bubble.
Then nearly 3 years ago I had an opportunity to go back to working for my prior boss. It was a new position and she treated me well when I worked for her before. This also ended up being a GREAT job to have during my current stage of life – pregnant and then having a baby/toddler. It didn’t require travel, late hours, or tons of stress. There really isn’t anything terrible to say about this job (I’ve had much worse jobs in the past!). But.
Signs were starting to mount that it was time to move on.
- I was getting bored with a lot of the day-to-day. (I get bored easily. That’s a bad trait OR a good trait, I suppose, depending on how you look at it.) The boredom was a big reason I interviewed at the end of last summer for an external job. Though I picked up some new work tasks subsequent to that, I anticipated the new stuff to mostly wrap up by mid-2019.
- I work with some great people, but they are not GET IT DONE kind of people. Things do not move quickly; people don’t prioritize the work that I do. I have to constantly project manage/push people to get things completed. I don’t mind project managing, actually, but that is not what my job is supposed to be. This frustration really began to mount in recent months.
- The job I do now doesn’t relate well to the external job market. I started to have concerns that if I couldn’t find other opportunities internally, that I would struggle to find good opportunities outside the company.
- There’s no upward growth (promotion opportunity) in my current position. That isn’t really an issue now, but it could be longer term.
- Now that we have a 2 year old and I am slightly more in control of my life outside work, I feel ready to take on a new challenge.
All these things have been brewing for a while, but then last fall something happened that was sort of the icing on the cake. A new person was hired that works directly with me, but who reports to another team. I like her personally, and think she brings some great things to the table. But we don’t see eye to eye on some things. Her last job was at a company that has an entirely different culture than the company we work for. We’ve struggled to figure out the boundaries of who does what, as our functions, while separate, have some overlap. So while she wasn’t the reason I was starting to put out feelers for a new job, the friction I was experiencing in that work relationship confirmed that it was time to accelerate the search for the next opportunity.
I knew that there was nothing in my current (functional) organization for me, and I mostly work with a different (client-facing) organization – so that was where I figured my best chances for a next move existed. Luckily, right before the holidays I ran into someone I used to work with – and while catching up, she mentioned that her team was hiring. I latched on to this immediately! I really liked working with her in the past.
I followed up by having coffee with her right after the first of the year, which led to interviews about a week later, and (after a few painful back and forths with the recruiter), a job offer and acceptance. A few things to note about this new job:
- I’m taking half a step back again in order to do something different (but somewhat related to what I did two jobs ago). There is no pay cut, but I’ll need to get promoted to keep getting good raises.
- In our (overly complicated) corporate job scheme, there are two seniority “levels” above the new job. So I have room for growth.
- Remember that half step I took back a few years ago? If not for that experience, I’m not sure I would have met the requirements for the new job.
- The job I’m moving to will give me more marketable skills for external jobs.
- The organization I’m moving to is growing and is an important part of the company’s future strategy.
- One likely downside is that I’ll spend a lot more time in meetings and have less control over my daily work schedule.
So that’s my back story. I’m both excited and terrified to move! But I hate being stagnant, and it will be great to learn new things.
I wish I was a more patient/tolerant person in general, as I probably could have better handled some of my frustrations in this job and possibly stayed in it longer. But knowing that I’m moving means that I’m seeing my current job in the best possible light and enjoying it for the last few weeks I’ve got left. Several people I work with have expressed that while they are happy for my opportunity, that they are sad to see me go. I’m not someone who needs a ton of feedback, but it would have been really nice to get some of that positive feedback while I was in the trenches of this job, rather than hearing it after I’m already planning to go. So if you work with someone great, take a minute the next time you see them to genuinely thank them for what they do.
Do you have a defined career trajectory or has it changed over time?