Otherwise known as my career history. I can’t help but draw analogies between the two. Having recently made yet another job switch, this area of my life is top of mind.
Anyone looking at my resume would say I’ve gotten around a bit – 8 months here; 10 months there; and a few long-term relationships thrown in. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. I’m just trying to find the right fit.
My first “real” job out of college was the one that taught me the most about the working world. Just like anyone’s first “real” relationship is the one where they’ve likely learned the most about dating. A lot of ups and downs – maybe a few more downs than ups because in both scenarios you’re young, naïve and have no idea what to expect.
I stuck with my first job for five years. That was too long, but I just didn’t have the confidence to know that I deserved better. I was underpaid, overworked and miserable. Right in line with this experience was my first relationship. There are too many parallels to even elaborate on, but I stayed in it for too long and put way more in than I got out.
Towards the end of the five-year stint, I finished grad school as well. That was very much a turning point for me. My confidence had grown both personally and professionally and knew it was time to make a change. I wanted to make a clean break for a new life and a new city.
To play it safe, I ended up staying with the same company, but they moved me to a new city with a completely new team and department. It was a fresh start as far as I was concerned, and I started to come out of my shell.
Two years in, I realized I was making too many excuses for why I was so unhappy there. It was the same company, just in different clothing.
After seven years, I decided I wanted to take a few months to figure out my next step. As expected, my next move was to a risky, start-up company that could not be more different. It was an extreme move and I realized very quickly that I went too far to the opposite side of the spectrum from the bureaucratic, corporate doldrums I had previously been stuck in.
I can’t say it was a wasted eight months. It was actually a huge confidence builder because I had nothing to lose. I’d say most men and women have had those short-lived relationships where you know it’s not a long-term thing, but it’s fun, you learn a bit about yourself and when the time comes, you move on.
From there, it was back to a bit more of a stable work environment. The honeymoon period lasted for about eighteen months. The company had been acquired by one of the largest corporations in the world and dealing with the day-to-day just became too hard. Neither your job nor your relationship should be that hard. I’m not saying in the “challenging” sense, I mean going through the motions of something you feel no passion about.
The next job I knew was a mistake the day I signed the offer. I consider it a rebound relationship. I just knew I wanted out of my last place and was looking to commit to anything to get the passion back.
When it came time to grow up, I had two job offers in front of me. One was the risky, sexy start-up – the guy with the motorcycle who will likely break your heart, but just maybe I can change him. The other job was the safe bet – an established company with a team I had worked with before.
Like most women who make terrible choices on occasion, I decided on the risky bet. Surprise, surprise. . .I got burned (aka down-sized). With my tail between my legs, I went back to the safe bet and they hired me immediately.
I thought we both wanted the same thing. I was looking for a long-term career move with high aspirations for growth and career succession. They were looking for someone to bring in and grow as the company grew.
Six months in, the first of many promises were broken. At twelve months in, more began to fall. At eighteen months, I gave an ultimatum. Actions speak louder than words and when it came time to make a true commitment, they flailed and I walked. With work as in relationships, it is not healthy to be strung along and drag things out.
I wasn’t necessarily cheating, but I needed to know what was out there when the last job started to deteriorate. I had my feelers out and was introduced to a company that seemed very promising. There was the usual back-and-forth when I first gave notice – they didn’t want me to go. . .things would change. Admittedly, I was torn, but ultimately made the move.
I am now a few months in at this latest job. The company is at a stage where it’s looking to establish itself and I finally feel like I’m hitting my stride. While I realize I may still be in the honeymoon phase, I think this could be the one.
*Any likeness to companies or men/women you might know is completely intentional.