Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I don't think I'm cut out for corporate America. I feel like I'm on the Apprentice every day. The competition is stiff and I just don't have the passion any more. I work for a huge consulting firm with offices all over the world. I love the firm, its goals, principles and reach, I just hate the work. I thought I could handle the stress and the pressure but I've found that I don't work well under pressure. I'm a very level headed person, but when it comes to crunch time, I find myself holding back and drowning in the chaos. I've also found that I can do lots of things but I really don't know anything. I just keep doing and hope that I will end up on top. I find myself hiding in my office, hoping I don't have to talk to anyone. The worst thing is that I have spent the last ten years educating myself and working my way up the ladder to find that I want off the ladder. If I could walk out the door today and never come back I would. I put out my resume on the web and have received multiple job offers, all doing the same thing. Why would I want to leave this job to start over again with another firm doing the same work? I'm trapped. I can't afford to start over again. I have a family to take care of. Where do I go from here? Is this where I'm destined to be the rest of my working life? There's plenty of opportunity for growth where I'm at, I just don't want to grow anymore - at least not in corporate America. I need out. I don't mind wearing a suit and tie every day, I just don't know the reason I'm wearing a suit and tie. My work life has little meaning to me. I enjoy the perks of working for the firm (being able to work from home, new laptop every two years, good pay, good pay increases, good health benefits, travel, etc.), but do the perks really make it worth feeling like another rat in the rat race? I don't like myself when I'm at work, I don't like what I've become and I don't like what I see for the future if I stay in this field of work. Whatever happened to be excited about the future? Am I going through a mid-life crisis? I have arrived, but I don't know where or why I have arrived.


Max Power said...

Your profile says you are 31 years old. I would say, yes, you are going through your mid-life crisis. I hit that same wall when I turned 30.

I had earned BS and MS degrees in engineering and was working for a large aerospace company here in Souther California. After three years, I woke up one day and realized that my job sucked, I hated it, I hated my boss, I hated the commute, and I hated a lot of other things. I started looking for a job in a different industry, hoping that a change would set me right. Lo and behold, I couldn't find another job. I had been pigeon-holed in my career and I couldn't convince anyone else to hire me. I didn't have the broad skills that I needed to jump into something else. I was highly specialized, and highly screwed.

My solution was to go back to school and get my MBA. The only way I was really going to be able to do what I wanted in life was for me to be my own boss. I went to school full time while working full time - that was a chore, but fortunately I don't have a family to take care of so that made it easier than it would be for most people. I graduated a little over a year ago, and ever since then have been putting things in place to start my own business.

I quit my job (but through a series of events ended up staying on in a part-time capacity for a few more months) a few weeks ago and am feverishly working on trying to get my business going. It's awesome. One of these days I'm going to wake up, the business will be running well, it will be making money, and I will finally be able to take a breath of satisfaction that I achieved my goal.

The bottom line is, do what you have to do to make a good life for you and your family. If your dislike of your job makes you into an unhappy person around your family and friends, then it's time for a change so that you can be an awesome husband and father.

This comment is too long, I should turn it into a post.

-L- said...

I go back and forth between believing I could be happy doing anything and thinking that I have no good options at all. I've felt similar to what you describe--except with $150000 in student loans from med school to add a little pressure to the mix. I feel happy that I finally found the perfect specialty that I think will use my personal strengths while avoiding some of the things I hate about medicine. However, I haven't completely ruled out walking away from medicine altogether, if the right opportunity turns up. Just thinking through these things is a good start. Good luck! (Plus, do what Max says because he sounds like he knows what he's talking about!)

playasinmar said...

Everybody hates their job. Even a dream job is only a dream job for two weeks. It then turns into a regular job.

My advice: settle in or get more education. Either way: enjoy your vacation time!

SG said...

I lived in that world for awhile, too. I think one of the keys in your situation is to keep looking, even if it takes months. The average worker today changes careers - not jobs - several times in his or her lifetime. I'm not suggesting that's ideal or recommended. Someone with your training is wise to stick with what they know. But there are wonderful companies to work for. It sounds like a smaller company may be better. After all, about 75% of American workers are employed by smaller companies (fewer than 250 employees). There are no perfect jobs, it's true. But there are jobs where you can wake up each morning thinking "I'm lucky to have a job I love, working for a good company." Those jobs are out there, believe me. Just keep looking and be patient.

Beck said...

I knew I wanted my career choice when I was 12. I had that goal and achieved it after 7 years of college and advanced degrees. I have been able to start my own business within my chosen profession and have been quite "successful" for nearly two decades now.

There are times when I absolutely love my profession, its challenges and rewards, the excitement of the job well done, etc. And there are many times when I just hate the grind, the road trips, the 20 hour days. It gets old and tired and I ask myself - what now? Am I stuck? Is this it?

I was very discouraged with my career yesterday. I want to quit! I want to throw it all away! I told my wife this. She listened patiently and started talking about "not needing the money" and maybe some alternate professional choices I could make. In the end, it didn't help. I feel stuck. I see no way out.

And so I wait for the occasional "pay back" day, the reward of seeing my creativity, ingenuity, and sweat pay off.

But in the meanwhile, I'm always planning a great vacation!

Hang in there, my friend!

Since July 15, 2007