Bad patch

Jul 13, 2006

Caution: typically-bloggy self-centered prose and navel gazing is fast approaching. Readers lacking strong stomachs and an interest in my personal ennui should probably go read Boing Boing.

At work, I find it can be hard to discern between a "bad patch" and "permanent suck that must be escaped." I've gone through a number of unpleasant periods in my career where it seemed that if I just toughed it out, things would eventually get better. They always have gotten better, I guess. Occasionally they've taken entirely too long to improve, though.

I don't really know how to determine the right course of action. How do you establish that the bad situation is going to last for an unacceptably long amount of time? How do you even determine what an acceptable amount of time is?

If you had told me in 2000 that it would take me until 2005 to get a promotion, I'm sure I would have bailed on the spot. Looking back on it now, though, I'm reasonably happy I stayed. I didn't have another fantastic option waiting in the wings, although who knows what might have been if I'd had the balls to just walk. I guess I saved myself the pain of looking for jobs during the dot-com bust, but at the price of a certain amount of career stagnation.

I suppose the main thing is that I still don't really know what I want to do with my life. Consequently, it's hard to tell if my current job is getting in the way of my goals — because I don't really have a goal, honestly. I enjoy being a manager, but is that really my track? I could see myself as a development manager, or as a director, but would I want to go higher than that, be a GM or a VP? I don't think so — at that level you just have to be so biz-focused that I think my eyes would glaze over. And the time commitment is just totally unappealing.

I guess it's not likely that you're going to get where you want to go, if you don't know where that is. Even if you did get there, you might not realize it until you'd already moved on.

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