Tuesday, October 1, 2013

taking control of my career (and my happiness)

i've posted once or twice before about the uncertainty i have had in my job and have spent many nights pondering what to do about it. i eventually decided each time to do nothing. its not easy to decide to change something up when you don't know what it is that you'd rather be doing (and not to mention a sense of financial security that kept me hanging on). changing a job is terrifying for many, many reasons.

which is why, today, october 1st, i'm uncomfortably excited to tell you that i'm starting a new job.


almost two months ago, my friend mentioned to me in passing about a new role that opened up in our office. this role is completely different from anything i was doing, it was in a completely different business organization in the company and i had 5% (if that) experience doing the actual function of the job. but something about it stuck with me. and after a few days of reading the job posting over and over again, i decided to reach out for more information. i met with three people in total before i decided to formally apply for the role. i wanted to make sure i had as much information as possible because if i did decide to move forward, this would be a very significant change for me and my lifestyle. long story short, i decided to apply and on september 16th, i officially accepted the position.

this job change is incredibly bittersweet for me. i have been on my current team for five years (out of 5 1/2 years with the company). this team isn't just a team to me anymore, they're like family. and in those five years, i've worked with nearly the same client group. you develop connections when you work with people for so long and it doesn't end up being the business you work with but really the people at the business. i'm going to miss that. it feels a bit like graduating from high school early: i am going off to pursue new things and everyone else is still together. moving on is hard.

in my 5 1/2 years with my company, i've always done slightly different iterations of the same role. now i am changing to something thats 180 degrees different. there's a lot of doubts that come with that - stepping out of my comfort zone into something i have no expertise in - that's freakin' scary! but i realize we all have to start somewhere, and even when i started my job fresh out of college, i had no idea what i was doing then. yes, i do believe, you can teach an old dog new tricks!

but what will be a bigger change for me, out of all of this, is the lifestyle change associated with this job. my new role has zero travel. seriously. constant travel was one of the reasons why i was so unhappy and in need of a change. i was traveling sometimes every single week - and not just a few hour road trips. some weeks i'd be down in atlanta and then up to new york the next day or flying off to texas or california. it was exhausting and wearing me down. i was heading for a massive burnout and to some extent i already was burnt out. with this new role, i am looking forward to having a steady schedule without travel.

another component of lifestyle is pay. i'm not going to lie here - i'm definitely taking a total compensation cut and that is very, very scary. but for every ounce of financial security i had in my old role, i had twice the amount of unhappiness. at some point in life, you finally realize money isn't what matters; your own happiness and health does. 

i feel like i'm finally taking a very large step in my journey to health and happiness. a job is a very big part of your daily life and it can consume a very large part of your soul and mind. and if there's something that is slowly decaying there, you need to do the right (but sometimes hard) thing and get rid of it. 

my last day was yesterday and after all the client break ups and leaving my team for the last time, i felt that sadness that made me not want to leave. but if i don't take a risk at something that could improve my overall wellbeing then i'm an idiot and not worthy of the opportunity.

so here i am, day one at the new job, and i'm ready for the next chapter in life that it brings.


18 comments:

  1. Alicia, What a lovely post. Thanks for sharing and for your willingness to be vulnerable. You are taking a risk in the name of happiness -- that's awesome. I have a friend/mentor who just left her tenured academic position to pursue what makes her happy (and also took a huge pay cut as she currently doesn't have a job). It has been a scary and bumpy road, but she is much freer and much happier as she finds her next path. Kudos to you for following your authentic heart-- that is a tough thing to do and is very admirable!

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    1. Thank you Stephanie. I can't imagine leaving a job completely, as your friend is doing. But I have had read many stories of people doing that and it turns out to be one of the best decisions they've ever made!

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  2. Excited for your new journey! I hope you have a great first day. I agree with you completely...if you aren't happy, money won't make a difference. Been there, done that! :0)

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    1. Thank you Karen! I totally agree - when everything around you says "money makes you happy", its hard to believe thats not true. But if thats all you keep chasing, you'll never chase the right things. My two cents, anyway!

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  3. CONGRATULATIONS! I know this is bittersweet, but I am so proud of you. I quit a job last year that was also very secure and stable, but ultimately made me unhappy, to take a chance on something else. There have been bumps in the road, but I am very glad that I did it. I'm excited for you trying new things!

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    1. Thanks Amy :) Today was weird - I felt left out of everything my team was doing. But have to keep looking forward.

      PS - I hope you're giving yourself credit for all the bold and brave things you're doing to better yourself, too!

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  4. Congrats! I hope it is everything you wanted! It's always nice to have a bit of a change-up in our lives. At least you are still with the same company! That means they like you!

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    1. I sure hope they do! That would be pretty crushing to have them say... "Nah.... maybe its best you don't try for something new."

      I agree, sometimes a change-up is just what we need. I'm hoping this is what I need for now :)

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  5. Where are you goin'??! Staying with the Goog I hope. Congrats, that's exciting!

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    1. Still with the GOOG, yes. Actually I think I have joined your org... I will have to email you tomorrow :) :)

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    2. Love it! I can't wait for out next conference :-D

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  6. Smart move Alicia ! I am sure with your talent something in between will come around eventually. Remember your health is number one without it you have nothing. I took a lesser job 5 years ago and my mental and physical health have both improved and believe it I found other ways to make side cash (crafts, stock market, small jobs) on my terms. Congrats and good health to you!

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  7. Congratulations! This is going to be fun and exciting! :)

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  8. Congrats on your new job! I definitely can see how it's scary to leave behind a position you are comfortable with but it sounds like you are making the right decision :)

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  9. Iv'e said this before and I will say again (belated) - congratulations! I am excited to see how things go for you!

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  10. I hope the new job is going well! Change is hard, but it helps us grow.

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Getting comments feels as good as a freezing cold glass of Gatorade on a hot summer day. So don't be shy - share your thoughts & opinions! - Alicia