(This is part 5 in what’s turned into a multi-part series where I look back and reflect on my various career aspirations. Find the whole series here.)
So I’ve graduated. I’ve got a nice little gig, editing a book for this guy with a vegan hair care company, that is about to go belly-up due to…we’ll call them creative differences. I find another little part-time gig in Pismo Beach that barely keeps my bank account solvent while I take some community college courses (for fun this time — black & white photography, digital art, that sort of thing).
In May 2010, I start looking for Real Jobs. Big-Girl Jobs that take up 40+ hours a week and have benefits and stuff. I get a lead in the Bay Area. I email my boss from my marketing internship from a couple years ago, in Palo Alto. She says, hey, L is about to go on maternity leave and we could use you for the summer at least!
So I move back to the Bay Area, while Boyfriend looks for jobs with architecture firms in San Diego. He finds one and moves down there. My co-worker comes back to work. I keep working there. It’s…interesting. Some days I come home just feeling miserable and lost and hopeless, other days I’m all jazzed and hopeful about possible opportunities to move up with the company or in marketing in general.
In May 2011, I — now with permanent employment — am allowed to relocate to San Diego, where they have a satellite office. I am essentially managing (or trying to manage) social media for the entire company, with no budget and very little backing from the higher-ups. But their social presence grows surprisingly well and I think, “this social media marketing is pretty cool.”
There is some upheaval in the company and in my department specifically. I get a new boss, who tags me to take lead on this massive project. I’m excited about it at first, but it quickly devolves into a total disaster and I start coming home in tears more often than not. In the midst of that, I’m asked to move back to the Bay Area (oh, by now I’m engaged, Boyfriend is Fiancé, and he and I are starting to think about buying a house in the next year or two). I decline. I get laid off in May 2013.
In July, I get a job at a marketing agency. I am PSYCHED. This will be AWESOME. I’ll get paid to WRITE and be CREATIVE and play on social media and work on cool accounts! It’s a small company and I’ll get to really make an impact!
A few months in, I slowly start to realize…Marketing is terrible. Social Media is bullshit. Most companies are doing it wrong and have no interest in doing it right. This job NEVER STOPS. I am constantly checking Instagram and Twitter at dinner, on weekends, on holidays with my family.
I have no idea what to do. I completely despise the only thing I have any experience in whatsoever. I feel like I have no other job skills, or any idea of what I actually want to do with my life. I’m stressed because we’re saving for a down payment for a house and once we have a mortgage, well, I won’t be able to afford to make less than what I’m making. There was one day at the office where I had to run to the bathroom three times before lunch to cry.
I know I want more freedom and control in my career. I know I love the writing parts; the marketing strategy and campaign parts, not so much. I’m terrified of quitting and giving up my regular, reliable, paycheck. But finally, Husband convinces me to go for it.
to be continued – last time, I promise!