Friday, October 24, 2008

Dreams, Goals, Ambitions, Reality

I've come to realize that I am not as ambitious as I used to think I was. At first I felt all put out thinking my new boss was much younger than me but through recent discoveries I realize he is not much younger after all - maybe one year? But still why are we the same age - me with more education - and him with a much higher job?

Well because he takes action. He steps up. He takes charge. If I am told to lead I lead but I am also just as content to follow quite often if there is someone competent in the lead. Most of the time when I step up and take charge it's because I don't think anyone else is capable of doing the job as well as me. I used to feel that way more often.

Last night mentioning my new boss - my husband once again asked why I wasn't considered for that job. I told him because I've only had my current job for 6 months and I don't have the experience that he has. I'm not qualified. Hubby gets all up in arms - but, but you have an MBA - does he have an MBA? Well no but apparently having an MBA doesn't' make you an instant leader. Who knew?

I have been told that I have the intellect and the skills to be a super star here. It's nice to hear but I don't seem to have the motivation to be a super star at least not this week. I procrastinate - like with everything else - putting in the effort to really shine. Perhaps it's past experiences, where I put in the effort, went the extra mile, was praised for it, and yet somehow never promoted. In my last job I put in minimal effort BUT in that organization it was enough to shine and be promoted. I never gave 100% and now I"m in a habit, a slump I guess. If I want to shine here I need to jump out of it - start giving it my all - really put in that 100%. I don't know if I have it in me anymore. Maybe it's just that this job doesn't inspire me? It's a good job. It's a careerbuilding job. It could launch me. And yet I don't seem to care.

When hubby (thinking he's being my hero and defender) talks about how I deserve more, I should have more, I should get promoted, etc... it makes me feel a failure. I finally told him this last night. I know he doesn't mean it that way, he wants me to know he thinks I'm smart and capable and deserving. But asking why I'm not considered for every single job higher than my own, and asking me if every new boss I have has an MBA like I do makes me feel like he thinks I'm a failure. He said he doesn't mean it that way, but that he will refrain if he remembers.

It doesn't change the fact that I do sometimes feel a failure. I used to have such big dreams, now I just want to come to work, go home and live my life. I don't really want to climb the ladder into a demanding executive role and yet I feel like I should want to. Maybe if I was more into my job I would want to?

Maybe I'm just in a slump - too many other things in my life (hubby's disease and current unemployed status) to really put any more of myself into anything?


Queen-Size funny bone said...

the entire employment sucks.

Meghan said...

You may be experiencing some of what I began to feel around the time I got the promotion and moved to NY. It was a very odd feeling that slowly seeped into the edges of my consciousness for awhile, since like you, I'd spent most of my younger years subconsciously thinking that the sky was limit and naturally I would want to go as high as possible, working long hours, putting in a lot of effort, etc. But suddenly I realized at that level that I didn't want my boss's job. Not even a tiny bit. I used to tell him that outright in fact. :-) Now that I've changed companies, it's the same thing, I would pull my hair out if I had all of his demanding responsibilities, huge staff to deal with (and, ultimately, their staff) travel, non-stop schedule, etc. I suppose every industry is different, but you're right, from what I've seen, what matters in getting promoted isn't your degree (as you know, I don't have one at all), but rather how bad you want it and work for it, how much of your life you're willing to give up. And top executives give up a LOT of their lives in my industry. At 42, I've fully acknowledged and embraced the realization and understanding that balance in my life is supremely important to me, and I will never have it if I move up in any dramatic way from here. I already do well, and it's enough from a salary/level perspective. I look back at all the companies I've worked for, and it is always the same at highest levels. This isn't to say I'm not open to new opportunities, but generally, I'm as high as I want to go. My boss at the new company is younger than me also, I have no idea whether or what kind of degree he has, but he worked his way up three levels over seven years via smarts and intense dedication. I'm quite impressed with him, and like him a lot. But he's the sole breadwinner for a family of five, so he has to make that choice. I don't. :-) Anyway, I think you're very normal, to me it just sounds like you're reaching a stage in life where you identify what really matters most to you and what kind of balance truly makes you happiest. That's just wisdom, a deepened self-awareness, and the courage to defy the "shoulds" of the societal messages we are bombarbed with - all good things! :-)

Tricia said...

Thanks Meghan - that does really help me feel more normal. :) I have also turned down the opportunity to interview for what I used to consider my dream job - one that would pay $10-20K more than I make now but would also expect 10-12 hour work days most of the time. I just didn't want the title/money enough to put in those kind of hours and deal with that kind of pressure.

Where I am now I come in at 8:30 every day and leave at 5pm on the dot almost every day. I sometimes do log in from home and work for a bit at night but maybe 2 times a month and not every night.

I really do have a good situation and I probably could crank it up a bit - put more of myself into the job without having to work longer hours. I should do this, give my all during the hours of 8:30 to 5 and then go home and have a life. Right now I'm really not giving it my all. I need to become more inspired.

Anonymous said...

Meghan made great points on a perspective I can't have yet. ;)

I will say that I was getting blah about my job before we got bought. That got fixed for me, for now.

Is there a project you could help out on that might inspire you? Or something you'd like to do that no one is doing?

The people above me at my company work 24/7- they're always emailing each other, working late, traveling- I get emails at 2am! Am I interested in my boss's job? Yes, I am.

Will I still be in ten years, especially if my income provides me the lifestyle I want and need? That will depend on where I'm at with the other parts of my life, I think.

Speaking of which, sometimes picking up a new interest at home helps me engage better at work. I'm making better use of my time and home, and I'm generally happier and more engaged in general. Just a thought.


Meghan said...

VBC: Get busy, Missy! You have at least a decade of 60-80 hour weeks and 3 a.m. emails before you are allowed to decide you've accomplished enough! :-) Just teasing, you can decide at any age, I only made those comments because it struck me that Tricia is just about the age the same mental process started for me. But hey, some people genuinely thrive on and seriously enjoy being seriously high level execs, you may well be one! There are definitely several women at my current company who do and are amazing role models. I just don't want the responsibility they have. Responsibilities weigh on me more heavily than some people, I think. According to HBO's 'In Therapy', it's because I was expected to grow up way too fast after my mom's death...LOL I definitely rise to them (precisely because I feel them so deeply), but I don't really want them.

And Tricia..the inspiration question, yeah, that's tough sometimes. I wasn't inspired at my last job, their products weren't even as exciting as watching paint dry to me, they were a huge company lost in red tape and it was challenging to find areas where you could feel like you were making a difference and working on things you really enjoyed. It's different where I am now, I am truly engaged all day and the products and glamour and ability to work on projects that I enjoy is there. The days pass like lightning even though it's a lot of work, deadlines and responsibility. I don't know exactly what you do every day, or if you can initiate new projects that would excite you, but maybe look for those things?

Meghan said...

Oh, and also! I meant to say the other day, yes absolutely you should tell Pete to sit down and hush and think twice about what he's wishing for and thinking you should be doing on top of all that you already do. Because the minute you get promoted to one of those ultra high-level positions, he is going to need to hire a cook, personal secretary, and heaven knows what else to take care of him. 'Cause you will simply no longer have the time. :-)