June 4, 2012

Career Direction

I set up a LinkedIn profile a couple of years ago. I barely go on, and when I do, it's to accept the occasional invite from a friend or old classmate from days gone by. Today I went on to accept a connection invite, and I made the mistake of perusing the "People You May Know" section.

I really should stop doing that, because I feel like crap every time I look at it. I see reams of VPs, Senior Managers, and Managers, who I went to school with or worked with before, and I feel like an absolute failure. I am not a VP, director, or manager. I'm almost 33. Shouldn't I be at that point already? The hubby made manager at 27. He made Sr. Manager a couple of years later. And me? Career stagnation for me, it seems.

There are days when I'm okay with where I am. I tell myself that I am me and the hubby is a different person with different skills. And so are those other people. I tell myself that most people on LinkedIn inflate their profiles to sound fancier than they actually are. Which they do. I know that. And I tell myself that my job pays well enough, is challenging, allows for work-life balance, and lets me pursue my various other interests. Not to mention the fact that my manager is awesome. But today I feel like SHIT. Maybe because I happened to find out that a developer that I worked at my current job with went to Seattle to work for Amazon as a Development Manager. Where the hell am I in my career? Still *just* a developer...

The thing is, I tell myself that I want to make manager, but when push comes to shove, I don't know if I'm really management material. I prefer to be holed up in a room doing my own thing, and coming up for air every so often. I would love to be an SME (subject matter expert) or, as I like to put it, "resident genius". But then seeing all these people on LinkedIn with their fancy-schmancy titles and their big 'ole smiles plastered on their faces next to their profiles makes me SO DAMN JEALOUS. And then saying that or admitting to that makes me feel like a total ass. Because it makes me seem like I'm not satisfied with my life. And maybe that's true. At least not with my career. I want something more, but I don't know what it is. And I guess that's why LinkedIn so pisses me off sometimes.

I need to get over this though, because that type of brooding behavior is not a good thing to display around PK. I am always amazed by how much kids absorb from their surroundings. Be it parental behavior, mannerisms, or language. It's really mind-blowing. And I know from the past that my brooding behavior causes PK to act up. The fact of the matter is that I know that having a fancy title DOES screw with work-life balance. I know so many moms who tell me things like, "Oh, we barely see dad, because he works so much!" Daddy works so much that usually mommy can't work as a result, because otherwise, nobody would be around to pay enough attention to the kids. Or mommy has to find another job that allows her to spend more time with the kids, making up for the time that daddy isn't around. What a life. I don't think I could live that life. I am grateful that I was never forced to make that decision and that I have a hubby who is truly 50/50 when it comes to being a hubby and a dad.

So I guess I may never make manager, director, or VP, but I suppose that it's okay. I suppose that I need to stop getting so riled up by stuff I see on LinkedIn, because a) it's probably over-inflated and b) if it's not, that person probably works like a dog and doesn't have much of a home life. Already feeling better. Thanks, blog!


Anonymous said...

Hear hear! It can be so hard to sort out what it is wee *really* and truly want. Two years ago, I knew I wasn't happy with my life the way it was, but I couldn't really tell you what would fix the situation, or what would make me happy.

Then there are societal expectations on what we *should* want, parental expectations, and our own sense of competitiveness to contend with.

Having a management or senior management position definitely comes at a cost, and often moreso for women than for men.

Only you know what you really value in your life. You build your life for you, not for a title. :) I'm so grateful to be doing what I'm doing now. I'm working my ass off, but it's the best kind of work.

Peter Lo said...

For what it's worth, I feel the same about my career sometimes too. But I recognized long ago that I would hate entering a management position.

My passion is in coding. To figure things out. To tinker. Always has been, always will be. and I need some aspect of my work to be enjoyable for me to function. And I suppose I just don't truly give a damn about what other people think about my titles.

Anyways... for the people that matter, they won't judge you on your title or respect you any less. As long as I've known you, I always thought you were one of the smartest, most talented people I know. I still think so. I don't judge you by your title. You shouldn't judge yourself on your title either. You do yourself a disservice to do so.