And Moving On…

21 Apr

a PM hat. probably.

For the past year(ish), I’ve been spending my weekdays (and evenings) wearing several hats as a consultant — business development exec, cold caller, project manager, user experience lead, business analyst, technical writer, proposal writer, copywriter, editor, recruiter, and process queen. Before this job, I didn’t know which of those hats fit my head nicely. Especially because I have a weirdly small head. But, now I do, to a greater degree anyway.

Sadly, that chapter is closing without the outcome I had dreamed a year ago when I accepted the newly-created position within the five-person team I joined. Recently, I was asked to take on some work at a client site that’s a 1.5-hour commute one way. I had to make a tough decision. This is where the growing company was headed, and I needed to either play or get off the field.

If I loved the work required in that position or really wanted to be a part of the company’s direction, I would have pushed my volunteering, teaching aerobics, or personal training work to the back burner and loaded up on tons of audiobooks for the hellish commutes. But the writing was on the wall — my heart wasn’t in it. And luckily my boss is cool enough to recognize that (potentially before I did) and work with me to define a smooth exit plan.

It’s a bummer to recognize you have to leave things you either still love or really want to still love. The first time I ever really experienced it was about 10 years ago when I quit competitive diving as a junior in college. I decided not to spend another season with 20+ strong women who were working with me to earn athletic glory for ourselves and the team. I walked away from my scholarship and the last year of eligibility, because I just wasn’t finding much joy in it anymore. At that time, it was the most difficult decision I’d ever made because it touched on financial issues, emotional ones, and those social ones that come from “abandoning” your team. But it was the *right* decision for me. And, about six months later, I earned an assistantship, which paid for grad school, and I took on a head coaching job getting back into gymnastics, which gave me an entirely new perspective on what it means to be a mentor and friend. Wouldn’t change a thing.

So, as I now begin getting referrals from friends and colleagues while also carefully searching job postings out there, I’m imagining what I *think* a joyful professional life to complement my personal life involves five or ten years from now, and I’m defining the next steps likely to get me there. But I’m taking my time.  Especially because I’m spending 10 days on the West Coast pretty soon. Introspection while in Oregon wine country is likely just the medicine I need…

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