I originally drafted this post about a week ago, when I was in a bit of a funk.
I‘m in a better mood now, but I still hold the same convictions about work …
You know when something happens in your work life – something that’s really a good thing – and you should be happy … but instead you have the exact opposite reaction?
Well, I think that’s been me lately.
It’s a complicated situation, but I’ll try to explain in general terms.
I’ve worked in the same department for four and a half years. Sometime early on, I realized I wasn’t particularly jazzed about what I was doing. Unfortunately, I haven’t really wavered.
Twenty-one months ago, completely frustrated (or so I thought), I applied for a job at another company. Shortly thereafter, my boss calls me into his office to offer me a job on a new project.
I thought to myself, maybe this is the change I need. It may be only twenty feet down the hall, but I’d be an idiot to say no.
So I said yes. And then promptly got an e-mail from the place I’d applied to, asking if I could come in for an interview. (D’oh.)
I took a chance and told my boss, who was surprisingly fair. He understood and let me do what I had to do. Obviously, I didn’t get the job, and I’m at the current job I’m at now.
Which brings me to the present.
This spring, I decided to start looking in another department for something new. I figured it was time, since I’d been in my present job for just over a year.
I talked to someone in the department I wanted to work for, hoping there might be opportunities to fill in during the summer. She even suggested a job swap with someone from the department I wanted into.
I then told my boss, and he understood.
Sounds promising, right?
Well, it didn’t happen in time for summer. There were scheduling issues with other staff members. But I was still hopeful. And the other department was still willing to include me as part of their team. So I still kept in touch and continued voicing my interest.
I returned from summer vacation in August, and was promptly told by my boss that my job – which wasn’t a permanent position – would be made permanent. Which meant I had to apply.
So apply I did, and I waited to hear about when my interview would be.
And I waited. And waited.
Amid all this, the department I’d been liaising with e-mailed me back, asking me if I was still interested in working with them.
I was getting excited again. This might actually happen, I thought to myself.
And then three things happened.
First I started getting some work more in the vein that I wanted to do in the other department.
Then I was told by my boss that my job – my current job – was finally mine. No interviews to worry about, nothing.
Things seemed to be resolving themselves.
But then, just last week, a manager from my “dream” department came by my desk to visit, in plain view of my more senior colleague, to discuss my hopes to work for him. So unfortunately, when the manager disappeared and the senior colleague started asking questions, I had to kind of tell him why he was there, forcing my hand a bit.
(It didn’t help that one of my colleagues had just taken a job offer she couldn’t really refuse in another unit – for career development – and was leaving in a matter of days.)
“Why do you want to leave?” he asked.
I said plainly, “I’ve been here for four and a half years, and I need a change. Even if it’s for a month, I think it would help.”
Not even a few days later, I found out I would start doing more of the type of work I wanted to do … in the other department.
I suppose it was his way of trying to give me more opportunity. And when he finally told me, I said, “Okay.” All I could say was okay.
Perhaps it was a coincidence. But the timing was uncanny.
I can’t say I’m completely happy. And I’m frustrated that I’m still not happy.
All I wanted – all I WANT – is a change.
Yes, I sound completely whiny and ungrateful. And yes, there are people out there who don’t have my job. Or A JOB, period.
But I DON’T expect to find my dream job in the place I’m working.
There is a saying someone once said to me, something to the effect of:
“If you love your job, you never work a day in your life.”
Really, that’s what I would like – a job I look forward to going to. One where I’m willing to participate, instead of feeling complacent and indifferent. A position where the notion of working a little harder or for longer hours doesn’t elicit an inward groan, a furrow in my brow, or the corners of my mouth to turn downward. Because I like it THAT MUCH.
But most importantly? I would genuinely like a job that I’ve sought or achieved, on my terms. And I’m convinced I’m not the only one on this entire planet who feels this way.
I work in a unit where the people are really nice, and my job has decent hours and decent pay. But that’s where it ends. Because I feel that if I want to move my career forward, I can’t do it on my own – it has to be controlled by someone else. It’s already happened twice before, and I truly believed that last year’s acceptance of the job I currently hold was the beginning of a more proactive phase of my career.
Perhaps that’s just not possible in a place where people move other people around like marionettes.
Surely there must be a way to cut the strings – or find a new puppetmaster.