Thursday, October 9, 2008

What do I want to be when I grow up?

One of the things on my list is “Find a Job I Love.” This is super important to me because I spend more hours at work than anything else, other than sleeping. I want to be passionate about what I do. I want to feel like I am contributing. I want to like my co-workers. I want to feel connected to people at work and feel like part of a team. I want to be creative and be able to implement my ideas. I want to feel like my work makes a difference. I want to own something. I want to organize. I want to change the way people think and behave. I want more.

I don’t want to just take up space in a company or be a cog in some corporation’s big wheel. I don’t want to dread going to work everyday. I don’t want to get involved in office politics. I don’t want to feel frustrated everyday. I don’t want to just clock-in and clock-out. I don’t want to be beaten down by barriers and strangled by red tape. I don’t want to push out more of what consumers don’t like. I don’t want to be short-sighted and completely profit driven. I don’t want to compromise myself to satisfy a corporation’s objectives. I don’t want to feel like an outsider. I don’t want to be unhappy everyday.

So I have been contemplating different career moves lately and here are the options I have come up with:

Chief Marketing Officer: I have been on the Marketing path for a while now. Started out as an Assistant moved on to Coordinator then Supervisor and now I am a Product Marketing MANAGER (yeah, whatever, titles can be deceiving folks. I had more authority when I was an assistant!) I do enjoy marketing and I am pretty good at it. I have a good blend of a creative and analytical mind which lends itself well to a career in marketing. I have especially enjoyed learning more about the Social Media Marketing Revolution and love how that will change marketing from a lecture into a conversation! But I don’t really like Corporate America. I am not good at politics. I don’t enjoy networking. I HATE cubicles. I feel like I am in the movie Office Space everyday. So I can’t decide if I should stay on this career path or if it is time for a detour. And if I decide to stay on this path should I try to learn how to fit the Corporate American mold better and make the best with where I am now or do I try to continue my search for a company I love and try to sneak my way into their marketing department? Or do I try to take it up a notch and study for the GMAT, apply to Grad School, and get my MBA? (By the way if I took this path I so want to go to UNC. Their program seems to be the best fit for me, is ranked nationally, and is in-state so it wouldn’t be overwhelmingly expensive.)

Graphic Designer: Another option would be to transition to Graphic Design. In the marketing world this is the aspect I love the most. Creating messaging and programs can be fun, but seeing it all come together into something that is tangible and visually pleasing is so satisfying. It’s the fun part. But I do understand that Graphic Designers can be pulled in a million different directions and it is hard to please everyone all the time. I can image that it can be hard when someone doesn’t like what you have designed. I also know it can be competitive. But I have really been looking into Graphic Design programs. I think the best option for me would be to take some classes at Wake Tech and try to get a Graphic Design Associate Degree or Certificate. Other programs are too expensive and take up too much time. The Wake Tech option would allow me to learn the basics and get my feet wet while still working full time. I just don’t know if that is the path for me. I have a good eye and understand how marketing objectives affect design, but I wouldn’t consider myself an artist at all (Unless doodling counts. I am a Master Doodler!) so would I really be good at it?

Professor: One way I thought of to escape Corporate America but still stay in Marketing would be to become a College Professor. I am an idea kind of girl. I love hearing different philosophies and people’s opinions. I love introducing people to new technologies and ways of doing things. I think I would love to be a mentor and feel like I was making a difference. This would require a lot more school, which means more expenses, but I think it would be really satisfying. But would it be worth it? Could I survive going back to school and not working for that long? Would I be able to pay back all the debt? Would I be able to face my fear of public speaking every, single day?

Real Estate Broker: So back in 2005 when I moved to Raleigh, I went to Real Estate school- actually passed (that crap was HARD!) and got my NC Real Estate Salesperson license. Just last winter I took the mandatory update class and now have my NC Real Estate Broker license. When I was a senior in high school I did my senior project on real estate. I love HGTV. I love houses.

In fact one of my favorite things to do is go to the Parade of Homes (which is going on now!). Back in Morganton the Parade of Homes was like 25 houses or so and you could tour them all in one day. They were nothing too extravagant, just really nice, new homes in the area. Here in Raleigh they have hundreds of homes to tour. The book of the homes is as thick as a phone book. You could never get to even a fraction of them all. They have multi-million dollar homes with 12 bedrooms, 15 baths, a cinema, spa, and 2 kitchens. But last year my favorite was the cheapest house we toured (still $500,000 and WAY out of my price range, but still within “dream” range). I just love it. But the real estate market is horrible right now (I am so glad I stuck with marketing instead of jumping into real estate back in ’05). But it will eventually get better and people will always buy and sell houses. Should I wait it out and put my Real Estate license to work down the road? It would be a good way to get out of Corporate America and “cube world”.

Store Owner: I would love to be my own boss and own my own store. I would love to be in total control. I would love to have that pride in something. It would be something tangible. It would also be a lot of work (but if it’s something you love it won’t even feel like work). It would be scary as hell and so complicated, but you can’t let fear stop you right? I had thought about different businesses I would like to start: a stationary store (I love invitations, cards, paper, ect.), a boutique (with my friend Kristin as my partner cause she is a fashionista), a marketing firm (Steph you in? We could hire Mikey as our art director!), or a franchise (a Cold Stone Creamery on Lake James was my latest vision). But the question remains: Would it work?

According to the Small Business Association “Two-thirds of new employer establishments survive at least two years, 44 percent survive at least four years, and 31 percent survive at least seven years, according to a recent study. These results were constant for different industries. Firms that began in the second quarter of 1998 were tracked for the next 28 quarters to determine their survival rate. Of special interest, the research found that businesses that survive four years have a better chance of surviving long- term. After the fourth year, the rate of firm closings declines considerably. Earlier research has found that the major factors in a firm’s survivability include an ample supply of capital, being large enough to have employees, the owner’s education level, and the owner’s reason for starting the firm.” But I still think this is the scariest option of all.

Homemaker: I used to think if I sat at home all day with some screaming kids I would lose my mind! I have already told ya’ll I am domestically challenged. I hate to clean (if you know of a good maid service or car detail place, let me know!). I have not been around kids a lot, so they kind of scare me. I don’t cook that much. (Cooking for one leads to too many left-overs. I cooked last night and I am going to be eating tacos until Monday!) But now the idea of running a household doesn’t seem so bad to me. It would be a full time job to keep the house clean, take care of the kids, scheduling, budgeting, procurement of goods and services, ect. My family could be my own little business. But is one income enough nowadays? But since this job requires A) a husband (with a job) and B) kids and I have no prospects what so ever for either of those, this isn’t really an option. But a girl can dream right?

So what do ya’ll think? What is the best option? Or am I missing something else I could be doing? Take the poll to the right or comment to let me know what you think!

P.S. sorry for such long blog posts lately...but these things take careful analysis and I like to look at all sides of a situation.

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