A Career Dilemma

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Comments (30)

Jordyn in New York, New York

29 months ago

Background: I'm 30, female, have an MBA in Marketing. Good education, good experience, and recently started a new job in business development two weeks ago. This is my second real marketing job since I received my MBA.

Dilemma: I realized that I am not fit for marketing. While I think the field itself is interesting, I just don't have the personality for it. I'm quiet, like to work on my own, and don't consider myself super creative. My new job requires that I speak up, work with many people on a daily basis, run meetings / conference calls, etc. which I am all very uncomfortable with. I am starting to think I'm better off as a office manager or administrative assistant. Is this completely irrational / stupid? I know many people would say I wasted my MBA and work experience, but I'm not sure what field out there would fit my personality and wouldn't require me to start from scratch....

Another dilemma is whether or not I should leave my new job soon. I have no other offers in hand, but I'm miserable because it's out of my comfort zone and I'm not motivated to do a good job. So I could quit now and leave the job completely off my resume. Some of my friends attribute my stress to the "newness" of the job and maybe I need time to get used to it. So the other option is to wait a few months and see what happens, but deep down, I know my performance will be mediocre and will probably quit anyway. What should I do??

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Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

29 months ago

Don't quit. All new jobs are stressful. Even if you're not entirely happy, it's better to have a job than not have a job. You don't want to be unemployed and face the stigma attached to it by the working world. And you don't want to have to explain job hopping either. Hmm, that's funny. Staying somewhere long-term is deemed as not attractive. Job hopping is unattractive. Being unemployed is unattractive. So what do prospective employers want to see?

Stay and keep looking for a job elsewhere.

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Hotdiggity in Ajax, Ontario

29 months ago

Give it more time.. we'll all be consultants soon enough and employers wont have to bother with employees at all. It'll go to the lowest bidder who attaches guarantees to the quality of work produced.

I do agree with the Don't Quit bit. All new jobs are stressful; particularly if you're into uncomfortable situations that you've never done before.
Running meetings, conference calls and being creative on the fly can all be learned behavior.

It was something I was thrust into in my career and it wasn't easy for me. It's still not.
But, I'm not as paralyzed as I once was and I've learned some tricks to help cope.
Believe me, it does get easier.. just take it slow and surround yourself with people that you can lean on and talk to..you'd be surprised to find that just about everybody has trouble starting up.

After you're more comfortable with the hard bits, you might find that you'll enjoy your career more. I did.

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Kajun Kahn in Franklin, Tennessee

29 months ago

First of all, you are not being irrational. Yes, all new jobs are stressful and I agree that you should NOT quit your job, but I understand not being happy doing what you're doing. I also have an BS in Marketing as well as an MBA, but I have had the opposite problem you are facing. I've gotten stuck in jobs where I do a lot of work alone and use none of my creativity. But, I'm not going to quit until I find what makes me happy.

So, keep your job, do the best you can, while actively looking for the type of job you can see yourself doing the rest of your career. It's out there. No experience is a "waste". You are likely developing a lot of transferable skills for your new career. You can change your career path, but don't let anyone tell you that you can change your personality to fit the job or "just be happy you have a job".

So DON'T QUIT your job, but DON'T QUIT looking for what you want either.

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jenab in Austin, Texas

29 months ago

Don't quit, hang in there. As other said, there is always a learning curve, and it's always stressful to start a new job. It can take several months to get adjusted to a new job especially if it's a relatively new field. It's not unusual to be out of your comfort zone when you start something new.

See if you can find a mentor within the company, and perhaps one outside of it. There are all sorts of networking groups and professional associations where you can find one and they can help you adjust to the new job and develop your career. Being in NY, you should be able to find a group no matter your particular marcom specialty. And don't forget marcom covers a lot of area; if it's not just new job stress, it may be that particular job (or company or team) isn't your best fit.

Also consider getting involved in a toastmasters group. So many people who claim to be introverts have overcome it through that org.

Hang in there!

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Hotdiggity in Ajax, Ontario

29 months ago

jenab in Austin, Texas said: Also consider getting involved in a toastmasters group. So many people who claim to be introverts have overcome it through that org.

I had a boss suggest Toastmasters to me once.
So, I went.. and I found a group running out of my local library and attended a few sessions.
But, I found it was really lame and most of the people in attendance seemed to be speaking hobbyists.

When I told my boss about my experience, he said it was because I had attended out in the suburbs where I live instead of downtown with all the business people. He told me to attend a session during my lunch at one of the conference centers. It was a huge difference. Much more professional and not as dorky.

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Jordyn in New York, New York

29 months ago

Hi everyone, thanks for your feedback and understanding. I have decided to stick it out at my new job while still looking for something that better suits my personality. I do need the income right now. I have been slowly applying to other positions, and surprisingly, I received a couple of interview invitations for positions that I am interested in. The issue is that this will require me to take time off from my new job, which is probably frowned upon since I'm so new. What would you do? Oh and one of the jobs is a temp position with the possibility of converting full time, though it sounds like something that would fit me well. Am I crazy for thinking about leaving a full time job for a temp-to-perm position??

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1102vita in Phoenix, Arizona

29 months ago

I think that its great that you stuck with your old job while waiting for a new one. I am not one to believe in fitting square pegs into round holes, but in this economy its best to fake it until you can get the hell out of there. Last year I quit a full-time job because I hated it and was unemployed for six months. Personally, I would not take a temp to perm job unless I was unemployed to begin with. In your shoes I would keep looking. Two out of three temp to perm jobs that I have had turned out to be only temporary. I took all three of those when I was unemployed. If you do decide to take that risk, keep looking for another job, just as you would if you were still working in marketing. That way you have the upper hand.

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Jordyn in New York, New York

27 months ago

Hi everyone,

Just an update from my last posting. It's been 2 months since I started my new job and I still don't think it's the right fit for me. Everyday I walk in feeling anxious and dreading what lies ahead. I've began interviewing and applying to various positions, but no concrete offer yet.

The thing is, my company is great; people are nice, collaborative, and the perks are appealing. It's just that I am not comfortable in my current position and don't have the motivation to do well because it's such a far cry from my strengths and what I enjoy doing. So my question is, should I voice these issues with my manager before throwing in the towel? In the ideal world, he will understand and find me another position in the company that better suits me and all is good. On the flip side, he might see this as a red flag, can't find another position for me (which is likely since my company is small and I've only been here for 2 months), and ask me to leave before I have backup plans.

Should I discuss my concerns with my manager first or just continue looking and quit when I find something better?

Thanks in advance.

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Nick in Somerville, Massachusetts

27 months ago

Continue looking and quit when you find something. Quit as amicably as you can, so as not to burn a bridge. Don't say ANYthing that could even be construed as negative. Just say that you were given an offer closer to home/better hours/etc.

Don't voice your concerns to your boss. I've never heard of an instance where that's gone well. Squeaky hinges get replaced by new hinges, there's no more grease.

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Bluetea in Texas

27 months ago

Jordyn in New York, New York said: Background: I'm 30, female, have an MBA in Marketing. Good education , good experience, and recently started a new job in business development two weeks ago. This is my second real marketing job since I received my MBA. What should I do??

Give it a few more months and in the meantime get a book called "Do What You Are" by Paul Tiegler. Any library would have this.

By the way, there is a community college near me, that might just be for you but there is a two-year wait to get in: Mortuary Science. No, I am serious - people are dying to get in. Heh!

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Bluetea in Texas

27 months ago

Nick in Somerville, Massachusetts said: Don't voice your concerns to your boss. I've never heard of an instance where that's gone well. Squeaky hinges get replaced by new hinges, there's no more grease.

LOL! My father use to say that.

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Kim in Palm Desert, California

22 months ago

I am interested in Marketing and was playing with the idea of getting my MBA with the Marketing emphasis but I think I would have the same feelings as Jordyn. Now I'm considering Human Resources.

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JamezWilliams in Alameda, California

22 months ago

There is also online marketing. you should look into it.. but just try to gain confidence. give yourself a pep talk, wear a beautiful dress, and you'll have all the confidence in the world.

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mfour in Agawam, Massachusetts

22 months ago

Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois said: Don't quit. All new jobs are stressful. Even if you're not entirely happy, it's better to have a job than not have a job. You don't want to be unemployed and face the stigma attached to it by the working world. And you don't want to have to explain job hopping either. Hmm, that's funny. Staying somewhere long-term is deemed as not attractive. Job hopping is unattractive. Being unemployed is unattractive. So what do prospective employers want to see?

Stay and keep looking for a job elsewhere.

They would prefer to get the work done without hiring anyone if they could. Employees are a no longer looked at as valuable but as a liability. So if a worker is considered just a annoying necessary expense a job seeker is rated as sub human.

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Bluetea in Texas

22 months ago

mfour in Agawam, Massachusetts said: They would prefer to get the work done without hiring anyone if they could. Employees are a no longer looked at as valuable but as a liability. So if a worker is considered just a annoying necessary expense a job seeker is rated as sub human.

Kinda like a homeless person but with a tie on.

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Charles in Miami, Florida

20 months ago

Hi Jordyn, I must say, I know EXACTLY how you feel. I pursued a Marketing major in college because i thought the course was interesting and a good foundation to the business world. After I graduated, I worked in the business development department of a business software company for one year. Initially, I was very excited to actually put all i'd learned into practice, but my life became hell afterwards.

Just like you, I was constantly required to speak up at meetings, teleconferences, give speeches, run presentations, create (forced) rapport with new clients, interview high ranking business people, etc etc. i was JUST NOT CUT OUT for that type of stuff. My personality just DID NOT FIT with that line of work.

Being something of a lone-wolf type of person my whole life, it was very difficult having to suddenly be expected to act like Oprah Winfrey all the time. Finally, after sticking it out for a year, hoping to find another low-key job, but unsuccessful, I resigned. The stress literally TORE ME APART like I had never felt before.

Within the next year, (in-between being unemployed) I got two temp positions as Logistics Assistant and Admin Assistant, lasting one month and three months respectively. Now, after applying for entry-level positions in a big telecoms company, I have been able to snugly fit myself into an unremarkable back-end role where I absolutely LOVE my work. I earn less than my peers in marketing, but I'm happy as a person and now look forward to work everyday!!

It is difficult, realizing that you are just NOT THAT PERSON you were hoping to become. Wasting years in school, spending all that money. But in the end, If you're not happy, excited, confident in your job, the depression WILL kill you.

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Summer in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

19 months ago

Hi Jordyn I would be really interested in finding out you are getting on now.

I am in a similar situation to you. I started a new job in human resources 3 weeks ago and I can tell it's not for me. I am quite shy and struggle in situations where I don't know the answers or what is expected of me. My job is all meetings and trying to find out the answers to queries that are completely random or adhoc. When I applied I expected it to be much more of an admin role but it hasn't worked out like that at all. I really want to leave but everyone says to give it 3 months. Sometimes I don't think I can get through another 10 minutes let alone 9 more weeks. On the other hand the people are mostly nice, I like some of the work but its not the main focus of the role.

My manager is very senior and not at all hands on so I don't feel I can approach him to discuss this. Before I accepted the job I discussed the role with the person who was doing it before me and she said she had loved it and thought I would have no problems in the role so maybe it will get better. On the other hand I feel sick going into work and I can't sleep so maybe for the sake of my sanity I should leave.

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Stella in Costa Mesa, California

15 months ago

You're right Charles, realizing you're NOT the person you were hoping to become is a depressing feeling. Like you and Jordyn, I pursued a career in Marketing, both social media marketing and traditional marketing, only to realize that after the third company that I was not fit for this type of role. As a social media manager, you're expected to give presentations, speak up in meetings, give classes about the topic, be creative, and be the generally happy-go-lucky gal. I've learned a lot about myself over the past few years and one of those learned attributes was finally accepting that I prefer to work alone, stay behind the scenes, and not have to innovate the wheel.

I've been working at my new job for a little over four months now and I already struggle with a constant state of anxiety and dread that comes with a start of work week. Now I face the same dilemma of whether or not I should stick it out until they fire me because my work is mediocre or quit now before my coworkers find out what a fraud I am and they start whispering behind my back?

I've contemplated working abroad for a year through those teaching exchange programs. Maybe living in a different country would give me the perspective I need to find a new calling. I feel like the quarter-life crisis is very in full swing...

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Stella in Costa Mesa, California

15 months ago

Charles in Miami, Florida said: Hi Jordyn, I must say, I know EXACTLY how you feel. I pursued a Marketing major in college because i thought the course was interesting and a good foundation to the business world. After I graduated, I worked in the business development department of a business software company for one year. Initially, I was very excited to actually put all i'd learned into practice, but my life became hell afterwards.

Just like you, I was constantly required to speak up at meetings, teleconferences, give speeches, run presentations, create (forced) rapport with new clients, interview high ranking business people, etc etc. i was JUST NOT CUT OUT for that type of stuff. My personality just DID NOT FIT with that line of work.

Being something of a lone-wolf type of person my whole life, it was very difficult having to suddenly be expected to act like Oprah Winfrey all the time. Finally, after sticking it out for a year, hoping to find another low-key job, but unsuccessful, I resigned. The stress literally TORE ME APART like I had never felt before.

Within the next year, (in-between being unemployed) I got two temp positions as Logistics Assistant and Admin Assistant, lasting one month and three months respectively. Now, after applying for entry -level positions in a big telecoms company, I have been able to snugly fit myself into an unremarkable back-end role where I absolutely LOVE my work. I earn less than my peers in marketing, but I'm happy as a person and now look forward to work everyday!!

It is difficult, realizing that you are just NOT THAT PERSON you were hoping to become. Wasting years in school, spending all that money. But in the end, If you're not happy, excited, confident in your job, the depression WILL kill you.

What job are you at now?

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Beth in Plano in Plano, Texas

15 months ago

Stella,

Stay at your current job and learn the ropes.

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Almost Suicidal in San Antonio, Texas

15 months ago

Stella,

I will share my experience with you. I got a temp to perm job at a large university. I started off researching funding opportunities and writing web-content. Did a great job and loved it. Then, all kinds of things starting getting thrown at me like: Write a letter from the city of Houston in support of this grant request.

Huh? I would think the city of Houston has people who get paid well to write that stuff. The hardest thing for me was that the scope of my responsibilities was unclear and seemed to be expanding exponentially in willy nilly assignments.

Add to that, it was an awful commute in the worst traffic. One day, it was pouring down rain, and I was at a freeway underpass trapped behind a broken RR crossing gate with a gazillion cars behind me. I had a nice talk with my boss when I finally made it in, let her know how I felt, and stepped down right then. I wasn't up to the meeting I was scheduled to go into.

Do what is best for you.

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crisstar in Riverside, California

15 months ago

That particular job you have requires you to do a lot. Not all jobs in this field will require you to do as much. I suggest when looking for your next job, make sure you read the job description very carefully.

I do suggest you not leave a permanent job for a temporary one. My brother-in-law left a permanent job for a temporary one that would eventually pay more if he got hired on by the company.

Long story short, the temporary job "laid" him off about 3 weeks after he started without any warning and his old job he had quit would not take him back. Just a warning.

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Stella in Costa Mesa, California

15 months ago

Almost Suicidal,

Thanks for sharing your experience, was this a recent resignation? Did your experience make you realize that you should be pursuing something else or that you just should have asked better questions during the interview?

-S

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Almost Suicidal in San Antonio, Texas

15 months ago

That was a few years ago. These days, when I look at jobs in "development" I do read the job description carefully. The job I described had a very vague description. Probably said something like "other duties as assigned"

I'm happy to write grants and research grant opportunities, but I don't like to call rich people and ask them for money and pretend to really want to know how they are doing, and hold their hands while the write the check and make big power point presentations on "here's what we can do for you." to faculty.

I don't do BS well.

It was something I was quite qualified for, but not suited for, and not directly related to my master's degree.

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Christine Greig in Tamworth, Australia

15 months ago

I'm so glad I'm not tied up in all this 'employee' pressure. When I made the decision to take control of my future ...forever... it was the best decision I could make. I now love my work and my boss (me) and I love the fact I will never be fired.

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Bluetea in Texas

15 months ago

Almost Suicidal in San Antonio, Texas said: I'm happy to write grants and research grant opportunities, but I don't like to call rich people and ask them for money and pretend to really want to know how they are doing.

I have a cousin who was a "do-gooder" all the way back in high school. She fed the hungry, housed the homeless, walked for this disease and that one and on and on. She did this for years.

A few years ago she just gave it up. She said that they began to give her lists of high income people and she was just supposed to call and ask for money. She didn't want to do that.

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Alex Jones in New York, New York

15 months ago

Hi everyone this is Jordyn (I can't remember my log-in so am using my husband's). Thanks all, for sharing your experiences and thoughts. It's nice to know that there are others who are in the same boat as me!

Well, it's been over a year since my first post, and I'm still at the same job. I thought my stress was due to starting a new job, but to be honest, it hasn't gotten much better. Sure, I'm more comfortable with my responsibilities overall, but I'm constantly asked to lead meetings, give presentations, meet with clients, etc. that still freak me out. I don't think I'll ever get used to it. There is a lot of unpredictability in my job, which I don't like. The only reasons why I'm still here is because my team is great, and I really didn't want to seem like a job hopper.

I'm hoping to stay at my job for 2 years total. Sometimes, I wonder if I'm just being a baby and should suck it up and challenge myself. Or, should I live by the philosophy that life is too short to be doing something I don't like? (But if I quit, what would I do without sacrificing too much of my salary?)

Both philosophies make sense to be....I just don't know which to believe.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and good luck to you all!

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jenab in Austin, Texas

15 months ago

Alex Jones in New York, New York said: Sometimes, I wonder if I'm just being a baby and should suck it up and challenge myself. Or, should I live by the philosophy that life is too short to be doing something I don't like?

Glad to see an update.

Why must it be either/or? I think it's important to get out of our comfort zones at least on occasion, but not get trapped in something that sucks your soul. Occasionally it takes time to learn if it's the stress of being challenged or if it's really not right for you.

Hopefully you can find something that alleviates some of the stress without that dreaded income sacrifice.

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Almost Suicidal in Texas

15 months ago

Well congrats on making it this far and sticking with it! Are there perhaps other positions with this company that would be more to your liking? Internal candidates usually get the job, especially if they have proven themselves, and it certainly sounds like you have.

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