By: Revanche

Unlocking the mystery of my next job

October 5, 2016

HappyWorkI’ve hit a rut

Our current work and life arrangements are pretty comfortable. The work is flexible and particularly good for me when I’m perpetually sick. I can get the work done as long as I have a phone, an internet connection, and a computer. These are all good things.

They are, no doubt about it.

The “but” you hear coming…

I’ve always enjoyed the act of work, my satisfaction is rarely about the work itself, so when the balance tips away from “fulfilling accomplishments” and towards “frustration everywhere”, it’s time to make an exit plan.

I now advise myself, and anyone who asks, to construct an exit plan based on finding their next level of happy instead of waiting until the magic is well and truly gone. Those are two very different mentalities, and the latter is by far the easier. I know this, because I’ve worked jobs til I was well into the Bitter Zone and it was a world away from leaving when I had a better opportunity beckon. People who leave jobs in a blaze of fury imagine it to be glorious, and to be sure, when you’re young there’s something satisfying about taking a walk when you’re fed up but that’s just the illusion of control. Real control is reading the signs long  before you burn out and strategically making the choice to leave on your terms.

We’re coming up on my 20th year in the workforce and something unusual’s happening. Every time I read another job description, nothing happens. No spark, no interest, nothing. It’s impossible to work up even a facade of enthusiasm for going into an office or to a work site. Perhaps it’s because of this stage of life where I want to have at least this much flexibility to do my work without sacrificing my family or even the Exceptional Levels of Tired of late.

Starting at a new-to-me company comes with a host of obligations to prove myself and build new relationships. That’s par for the course but I just don’t much feel like golfing.

I’m not actually ready to leave, for the most part my job is great. It’s just that I need some kind of change and I don’t know what it is yet. Until I do, figuring out what I’m looking for will either answer the question, the problem will resolve itself over time, or I’ll be inspired.

Navja Sol and The Secret to Being Happy with Your Job: I figured out that biggest mistake I’d been making was asking “What job would I want?” instead of “What do I want out of my job?”

Andrea Emerson and If you want to quit your job this year, do this: …your goals must be firmly rooted in your WHY if they stand any chance of survival.”

What do I want out of my next job?

Tangible benefits and structure

  • Telecommuting
  • Absolute schedule flexibility
  • Generous sick and vacation leave
  • An annual equipment budget

The work itself

  • Primarily online
  • A minimum of people time (meetings, phone calls)
  • Needs to have meaning to me
  • Contribute to the world in some positive way

What is my why?

It’ll be 20 years I’ve been working and most of that time has been about career-building.

Now that has to co-exist with building a life with my family. I didn’t work my butt off up til now so that I’d have the privilege of carrying on working and missing the most important moments and years of my baby’s life, or with my partner, or with our four-leggers.

Every decent parent wants to give their kids what they didn’t have. What I didn’t have is a mile long but I’m no fool to overcompensate on everything. What ze will get, if I can swing it, are the two most important things that I missed: more access to books and time with hir parents.

My childhood is marked more by milestones that my parents didn’t witness, lessons and activities that they didn’t see. I thrived even without them but definitely felt the lack. Without being helicopter parents, I’d like our kid to have the option of having us there more than not.

What I want for myself is to have and be an example of a happy functional marriage so JuggerBaby knows that you can choose a partner and live well as a team, if you’re so inclined.

What does a great future look like?

The same thing as what I want to give JuggerBaby, really. More reading and more time with loved ones. It’d be awesome if that could happen while surrounded by a somewhat larger but very cozy home of our own that’s got a private yard where we can throw balls for Seamus, an office and a library, but isn’t too big overall and doesn’t cost three souls and a half plus property taxes. That’s totally obtainable here in the Bay Area, right?

… ok you can stop laughing now.

:: What’s your next great job look like? What does it let you do in your life that you can’t do now?

11 Responses to “Unlocking the mystery of my next job”

  1. I had an exit plan the day I started my recent full time job. Not because I didn’t like it or assumed I didn’t like it, but it’s like you said, things can change and it they do, that’s not the time to come up with a plan. I’m playing around with what my “next life” is going to look like. I’m very interested in neuroscience and while I don’t want to spend 16 years in school, I am exploring mindfulness training, stress reduction, leadership, etc. What that will lead to I have no idea. I’m just exploring…
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Wherever You Go, There You AreMy Profile

  2. Money Beagle says:

    If you find that job, let me know, because I’m pretty much in exactly the same boat. I like where I’m at but the opportunities to move around really aren’t there. It does have a great work-life balance (lots of paid time off) and is very close to home, so the comforts are very much there, and makes going to a 2 week off per year job a non starter.

    So, yeah, I hear you 🙂
    Money Beagle recently posted…We Leased A Brand New Pickup Truck – Here’s WhyMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I suspect that that job may not exist out there, it might involve creating the job out of whole cloth. I’m seriously pondering this.

  3. NZ Muse says:

    “I once lived to work. Now, my work must have meaning, but we need to live.”

    ^^^^ Yesssss.

    I have always left jobs before I really felt ready and it’s a good way to operate, I think. I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed and stressed lately (my boss is on mat leave, am reporting up to boss above who’s awesome but original boss was really fab about balance and ensuring a decent workload. And the project manager filling in on her projects is a machine who makes me feel slack!) I anticipate another year or 2 here, I think?! Previous boss just went to a startup and asked if I was interested, but it wasn’t the right move for me.

    What I want from my next job:
    Ideally, six figures without sacrificing enjoyment of work or being toooo stressful
    For profit/private sector (for a change!)
    Not too formal
    Like you minimal people time
    Need to believe in the work/mission, has to be something I care about
    NZ Muse recently posted…My love/hate relationship with my mortgageMy Profile

  4. Linda says:

    I’ve been struggling with less than great job satisfaction for years now. The crazy awesome benefits my company offers makes it very hard to walk away, and despite the fact that there should be other job options inside this same, big company I haven’t found one that excites me yet. I need to be learning — and learning practical stuff that has an actual application — to be happy, and I haven’t had anything like that in much too long. I think I’m really a maker and this job isn’t remotely like that.

    Now that I’m on a short medical leave, I promise myself I’ll spend some time thinking about what I’d ideally like to do. That’s going to have to wait until I’m a bit more rested, though.
    Linda recently posted…Sister timeMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Do you think that your seniority has anything to do with how you’ve ended up in the job that you’re in now? I’ve noticed that much progression in career paths seem to trend toward taking us away from the practical application path and more into managerial or conceptual paths.

  5. […] Contemplating a next job move […]

  6. What is career building for if not to be able to dictate what you want out of work at a later stage? It is really hard when you have kids to figure out that (potentially) unobtainable balance between work and home time. I sure haven’t gotten it down. I’m reminded of Collins, who actually stayed home with his daughter (both parents did) while she was young and reentered the workforce later. He also had the money to float that, though, and it is harder to do as a woman because of a fun combination of ageism and sexism. But maybe something that doesn’t require as much time for now, even if it means a temporary pay cut? Still fulfilling, but not as much of a time commitment? Then once you hit school age you can go back to more hours? I’m not dumb… That wouldn’t be possible for me as I’m the primary breadwinner, but my husband is doing a type of that for the past and next couple years. Would be awesome if we could both figure out a way to do that.
    FF @ Femme Frugality recently posted…What is Financial Abuse?My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      “It is really hard when you have kids to figure out that (potentially) unobtainable balance between work and home time…. it is harder to do as a woman because of a fun combination of ageism and sexism.”

      SO TRUE.

      I’m not sure exactly what form I’m hoping the next step will take yet, this is just my first stab at it, but let’s keep working at this.

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