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Posts Tagged ‘Career’

Sometimes my expectations are set so high, that it takes away from celebrating when good, or even great things happen. Because deep down, I think…I could have done better.

Today I got my annual review in my “new” role (new department and new role). I went into it a little worried, seeing as I was a superstar in my old role, and consistently exceeded expectations and was benchmarked multiple times into new roles with larger salaries.

Overall it went well. Positive feedback, very fair development areas (apparently I can be more stern with certain people, ha), a base increase of 4.5% and 103% of my bonus potential. With the combo of the two (before taxes of course), I make over 6 figures. I should be thrilled. I mean, I am thrilled. I’m 29 years old, I am happy, if not the happiest I’ve ever been in my career and I have such growth potential –in my current role and the level up – both role and title wise, and financially.

The truth is, I started writing this post feeling a little disappointed.

It’s because my expectations are almost past reasonable. See when I started here, practically every other year I ended up with a $10k increase and a title change. In my 7 years here my salary has more than doubled. I went from specialist to coordinator to senior coordinator to supervisor to manager. I know the culture here, and I know the benchmark of my current role (I could be making over $10k more without a title change) and I know my abilities. I know deep down, I actually could have worked harder this past year.

The truth is, it’s not all about money. I mean don’t get me wrong, this place now officially has me in golden handcuffs. The earning potential is just far past so many other places – and it allows me to still, for the most part – have a good life outside of work. (If that ever stops, then the money isn’t worth it.) It allows my Husband and I to travel more, spend money on things we want to enjoy and not be beyond stressed at having to spend thousands each year on weddings, the puppy, moving, and other life events. Although, maybe still this year since we weren’t careful with our money and now we want to buy a house.

Anyway. I’m reminding myself that I just started a new role. I am getting great feedback. I have challenging goals I can set – I’m no longer in a role where I’m bored or unhappy or don’t see the value. Instead, I have so much to learn. To formally take my PMP exam, to manage various projects with varying complexity levels and so on. And I LOVE having something to work towards, it pushes me harder.

It feels good to get such positive feedback, not just from my manager, but from various others that I work with. Thinking about it, and writing about it – I feel good. Damn good. Of course I can always do better. There are those unrelenting standards again. So this time, for once, I am making myself celebrate this good news without focusing on what could be done better or my next step. For a few days, I’m celebrating a successful job change, and an accomplished year in my career.

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Lean-in or get pregnant

Of all things I would without a doubt say my best quality is my work ethic. Through years of skipping school, procrastinating, avoiding certain things in relationships – work is the one thing I have always put 110% in.

So what happens when I’m new to this career path and we decide to get pregnant.

Let’s start with yesterday…

Yesterday at 4pm my (newish) manager walked in and handed me an envelope. It was a $50 gift card and a really thoughtful card praising my efforts and reiterating how excited the team is to see my growth in this role. It was completely unexpected and actually almost made me feel emotional.

Then last night one of the husband’s closest friends let him know that he and his wife are expecting in April. I am beyond thrilled for them because they have been trying for over a year, had some issues and some serious disappointments. He called to let me in on the news and ended the call with, “yay, we’re next, get some pre-natal vitamins”. (Yes, he actually said “yay”.)

So…

Do I focus on my career? Spend the next year or maybe more working hard, getting more experience and taking my exam?

Or do we decide on trying to start a family early next year? I’d like to wait until January to try – with everything we have going on the rest of the year and selfishly because having a baby towards the end of the year would mean I could still take 4 weeks 2014 vacation, use 8 weeks medical leave, and then use my 2015 4 weeks – for about 13 weeks off total. But if we do that, am I losing my credibility at work? Have I made enough of an impact that to leave and come back, I would still have my place? Would they start replacing me as soon as they heard I was pregnant?

Deep down, I know what’s more important to me. A family.

BUT

Deep down I also know that the one amazing thing that I think defines myself, and my identity, is my work and my career. I’m the bread-winner. I have worked hard to get to where I am in this cutthroat corporate environment. I’ve succeeded while I’ve watched countless people get fired. So if that gets taken away, I’m really scared. I’m scared that I will lose myself, and lose the one part of me I am confident in, that no one has ever taken away.

And of course, there’s the part of me that says, I can do it all! I can take on all new projects, study hours each night for an exam, all the while be pregnant, buy a house, and prepare as we go. Probably not the most realistic option. And yet, probably the option I’ll keep pretending will work…

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Yesterday as I was packing up my office it really hit me, deep down I know this is the right move for me and for my future career path. I might be anxious and uncomfortable, but I’m not doubting my decision.

I know not everyone around me agrees. For many they just don’t get it. Right now, I’m managing people and in the new role I’ll only manage projects. To many, including my Mom, they think it’s a step down. A step back down the ladder I’ve been climbing for 6 years. And shouldn’t I want to keep climbing the ladder and getting to the top? Shouldn’t I want to keep going until I’m at the Chief level? Shouldn’t I want to use every relevant part of my masters?

The answer is no. I just don’t.

For a while I thought I wanted that. I wanted to want that. I felt pride in saying I wanted that.

But I truly don’t want that anymore – or maybe I never did to begin with. The decision I’ve made to switch career paths solidifies that.

I want to work hard and see the tangible results of my work. I want to spend my time pushing projects through deadlines, organizing tasks, and managing people’s roles. I want to see the start and end of each project. And most of all, I want to have a life outside of work.

I don’t want to spend more than half my time managing people and a budget.  I don’t want to worry about payroll, vacation requests,  or personnel issues. It’s not that I was bad at managing people, or really great at it either, I think it just doesn’t interest me at this time. I also don’t want to continue being in a support role – where I think I’m heading home at 5:30pm only to be still at my desk at 8pm.

I think there are parts of the new job I’m going to really excel at right away. I’m a great organizer, I can see the big picture and yet still hone in on all the little details, and I have no problem jumping in and getting my hands dirty. I also think there are going to be parts of the job that will throw my comfort out the window. Networking, socializing, building relationships, leading – I have a hard time doing all of those things with people I don’t know.  I’m used to being the quiet one, taking it all in and stepping in only when I was 100% confident in what I was going to say. I definitely don’t get to do that anymore.

But that’s when I remember what discomfort does. Obviously it pushes me to grow, but it also makes me feel alive. And that’s how I’m feeling at the end of this last day at my old desk. The anxiety and fear is still very much apparent but mostly, I feel energized and motivated.

Someone remind me of that in a few weeks when I’m crying out from the discomfort.

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Discomfort then Growth

If you could describe how I’m feeling right now, discomfort would pretty much sum it up.

DCom

I’m anxious.
Uneasy.
Worried.
Nervous.
A little regretful.
But excited too.

I am taking the new role at my company. Essentially I’m still under the same department, but I’m on a team with an entirely new role. I’m going from a supervisor of a small team that focuses solely on web updates to a project management role on the project services team.

I was approached by a woman at work on that team who said she saw the innate skills of a great project manager in me. She offered to mentor me herself. She convinced me that it would become a career path for me, and would allow me endless opportunities wherever I wanted to go. She wants the challenge of teaching and mentoring someone.

The idea really excited me. How long has it been since I felt challenged and content at work? A long time.

It takes my favorite aspect of my job – seeing a project through from start to finish and all the details in between and would make that my day to day role. It would be challenging work at times, but far better hours (some long days at the end of projects but mostly 9-5:30 on other days).

But it’s terrifying.

I’ve been on my team for 6 years. I’m known as the expert. I’m the go to. I’m confident in what I do, who I talk to and each meeting I step into. I love my team and how hard they work. I know their strong points, their challenges, and I know what works to motivate them.

I hate feeling uncomfortable. I hate feeling vulnerable. I hate feeling dumb. And most of all I hate the fear and risk of failure. This switch essentially rolls up all of my hates and serves it to me on a silver platter of doubt.

But looking back, this is really a pattern for me.

I find a new idea, challenge or opportunity. I think about taking it on, and I get more and more excited as I think about it and plan to do it. Then I actually take on the new challenge and I immediately feel doubt, discomfort and a tiny bit of regret for what I got myself into. Then I push through, as I always do, and in the end – what comes out of it – is usually an experience of a lifetime. A life changing experience.

I could go back and read this in detail on my own blog through my first triathlon training and when I started dating the Townie. How many times did I almost quit before and during both? But I pushed through and to date, crossing the finish line of my first triathlon and standing in the church and marrying the Townie now Husband, are some of the best moments of my life.

I guess it’s time to accept that I’m going to feel uncomfortable for a while.

“Don’t be afraid to expand yourself, to step out of your comfort zone. That’s where the joy and the adventure lie.”

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When I first moved to Boston after college I craved chaos.

Basically, I wanted to continue with my college social life. I worked a job I hated from 9am to 7pm and then ordered takeout or went out to eat every night and frequented the bars as often as possible. I stayed over at friend’s places for an entire weekend – eating, drinking and socializing every free second of time. I did my laundry maybe once in the time of 3 months and cleaning absolutely never happened. And the gym? Not a chance.

That all toned down a bit when I got a different job and started getting my masters at night. However, it was still chaos, just controlled chaos. I’d go to work from 9am-5:30pm, run to class from 6pm-9pm, then see my boyfriend, friends or run after. Most mornings I found myself getting up hours early to attempt to write a paper or read assigned texts for a class that night. Weekends were packed with friends or travel.

And this summer has really topped the chaos meter. Don’t get me wrong, this summer has been fantastic:

  • 2 Cape Cod trips with the Townie (one with his friends)
  • 1 trip to Florida with family
  • 1 trip to NY for my sister’s graduation from college
  • Warrior Dashing through mud (resulting in poison ivy) and gallivanting around phantom gourmet’s bbq beach party
  • A night in Rhode Island for dinner with family & the Townie
  • A moving away party for a friend
  • A weekend visit from 3 NY besties packed with a duck tour and red sox game
  • A week-long training at work
  • A week-long beach vacation with a few of the girls
  • A Portsmouth weekend trip with the Townie
  • A going away party for another friend
  • A birthday bbq in the suburbs

And that’s not including tri training, dinners after work with friends, or the upcoming weeks with 2 weddings, 2 tris, a 10k, a Patriots game, 2 kayaking trips, 2 fantasy football leagues & drafts, and a weekend in Stowe, Vermont with zip lining. That’s just the end of August through September.

Whoa.

As the summer is coming to an end and my crazy Fall is starting I am realizing all I want these days is some simplicity and routine.

I’m craving getting up in the morning and going to a spin class, going to work, coming home to a clean apartment, cooking a fabulous home cooked dinner and sitting down with the Townie to enjoy it.

I’m craving a weekend morning where I can wake up and not have a packed schedule for the day. Instead just decide what I want to do that day.

I’m craving living off of one cup of coffee on most days and not 4 in order to keep my eyes open.

I’m craving exercise for fun, and not for tri or road race training.

I’m craving quality time with my friends, but not having to make plans multiple nights per week, squeezing it all in.

I feel like I’m ready to leave behind the chaos and even some of the controlled chaos for a while.

I’m ready to build a life with the Townie, which means fantasizing about moving in together when my lease runs up next Spring. And yes that fantasy includes a pave setting princess cut diamond ring hanging out on my finger. 🙂

I feel like I’m ready to have more space than my studio apt (umm, like a bedroom!) but also so I can cook dinners and invite people over and skip the crowded bars where I have to scream at my friend to find out how her new job is going only to ask “what” 4 times before hearing her answer.

Maybe that makes me old, or boring, or anti-social, but it’s a change I’m going with. This fall and winter I’m toning it all down. Maybe simplicity isn’t such a bad thing. 🙂

*source

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I miss the blogging world…a lot.

I never thought life would get crazy enough where I couldn’t find the time to post. But somehow it has. Yet this place is my outlet – a release from all of that. So I’m coming back. And I’ll catch up on the 500+ items in my reader – because your posts make me laugh, and smile, and most of all motivate me.

I’m transitioning to a management position at work. It’s exciting, but there’s just so much to do and prepare for. I’ve been clenching my jaw all day and dreaming about work at night.

I spent some time in Florida with my wonderful family. I spent the Fourth of July weekend down in the Cape with the Townie and 7 of his friends. I’ve driven to Rhode Island to have family dinners, even though it’s a 45minute drive each way on a work night, it’s worth it.

I’m cramming in nights to catch up with friends who have moved to new places, and weekends with family and New York friends visiting, and a 5k race this Sunday with the Townie yet I can’t remember the last time I ran.

Oh yea, I ran the Warrior Dash with 3 girlfriends. It was hilarious and fun. We all ended up with horrific poison ivy for days afterwards.

I’m not working out enough and I’m eating and drinking too much.

But life is falling into place. The Townie whispered he loved me this past weekend.  I whispered it back without hesitation.

I laughed so hard at dinner with my family last night that tears ran down my face and my stomach hurt.

While work isn’t always where I want to be, I’m finding happiness in being busy and challenged.

My energy has been directed towards deepening relationships with friends, family and even new acquaintances who make the effort right back. I’m slowly letting go of those who don’t.

6 months into 2011 I’ve realized the real secret to happiness. Let go of all the shit. Put 100% into people you love and what you want out of life.

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Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.
 
 
I’ll be back, soon. 🙂

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