Mental Plan Uprooted: Career vs. Job

10 Oct

Wednesday morning, one of the senior directors of my team at work called me into his office. My manager was there as well and a look of dread must have flickered across my face as I opened the door cautiously, because the senior director laughed and told me to chill out. Even so, I was nervous – I’ve gotten off to a rough start this quarter numbers-wise and I didn’t hit my goal last quarter, either.

And then they told me I was getting promoted.

At first I was hesitant – this promotion also involves moving to another, slightly different team: I’ll still be using much of the same knowledge, but I’ll get to really hone my strengths of hyper-organization, thriving on consistency, and leadership skills. As it sunk in, so did the excitement. By the end of the day, I was giddy. I get to co-manage three people with the possibility of hiring one or two more in the next several months. Effective January, 1 (stupid fiscal years), my salary will be significantly increased. Maybe most importantly, with my company growing, expanding, and going through some potentially ground-breaking changes in the relatively near future, this is an incredibly beneficial and key career move for me.

And then it really hit me – this is a career move. This isn’t a new job. This isn’t a run-of-the-mill Junior-to-Senior promotion. This turns my current job into a career path.

I imagine to most people, the typical reaction to that would be along the lines of excitement, eagerness, relief, and a sense of security.

I’m excited and very eager to make this transition, but I’m not relieved at all. In fact, I’m scared shitless. On Monday, I will have been at my current company for exactly 1 year and 5 months. In that time I’ve had one promotion and two pay-raises and learned more about marketing, management, and the online industry than I ever dreamed possible from “just a job.” Because that’s what this has always been – a job. I’ve never looked at what I’m doing as a career path and I was ok with that because I’ve always loved working for this company. Now, because of this promotion and subsequent amazing career move, my entire Mental Plan is being uprooted:

Previous Mental Plan: Renew UES apartment lease with R1 and R2 for 2010. Take GMATs in 2010. Prepare to apply to business school, possibly to start Fall ’11. Prepare to leave NYC in 2011.

Current Mental Plan: Renew UES apartment lease with R1 and R2 for 2010. … … … ?????

On one hand, I’m thrilled to be moving into this new position – career! – as it really will open so many doors for me. I think especially in terms of business school (which is a definite fixture in the MP), this opportunity will be more beneficial than I can even comprehend or predict right now.

On the other hand, though, I think it’s really scary to settle into a career. Not that I’m bound to this in any way, but as much as I thrive on consistency, it’s also one of the scariest things to me. This promotion means a commitment to my company and to myself; it means making a decision that will likely effect where my life goes. I realize how trite that all sounds and how I’ll likely look back on this and laugh at my slight naivete (an awesome benefit of being painfully self-aware: I can say shit like this and it still doesn’t change the way I think or react).

I think this really just points to how, right now, I am terrified of doing anything that will possibly set my life on a path I’m not 100% certain I want to go down. It’s ironic since I spent years training myself to live day by day instead of constantly in the future. Apparently I did that a little too well – and now I need to train myself to strike a balance.


2 Responses to “Mental Plan Uprooted: Career vs. Job”

  1. audrey October 21, 2009 at 8:34 am #

    Life is about taking risks in unknown territory. Some of the best “life moves” happen when you never thought they would! Congratulations on your well deserved move up the ladder :)

  2. Stacey November 9, 2009 at 11:52 am #

    It is OKAY!! A career path is simply a path with as many forks and turns as “just jobs”. You can still go to business school, and this company would likely pay for it or at the very least assist in the payment of it. And the busier you are the more you get done, so no worries about being able to get through school while still working. It is actually a benefit to you. and who is to say that this company won’t expand a bit to other areas, OR, you still leave after a couple more years with a wealth of experience, another degree, and a promotion by moving on with another company — in another city! :))
    I NEVER thought I would be “doing Knowledge Management” as my career right now. But that is all it is. Right now. Works for me. When William gets to school? Who knows? So go with the flow, and never think that you will get “stuck” in the city — you’re too young to get stuck, and I think your industry is very “everywhere” …… good luck with your new mental plans!

    oh yeah, the lease thing is a pain in the ass. but THAT is everywhere. can’t tell you how many leases I’ve broken because I’ve changed plans!!!! it happens!

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