The Second Coming of My Life

Watching my hands shake violently as I attempt to calm myself down  without anyone noticing, I realized that I really desperately need to make a massive change in my life. There is nothing in the world that will make this the right career fit for me, and I have the choice to either continue falling straight on my sword each time I fail to produce results, or doing a 180 and running in a completely new direction. I’m ready to run.

I’m 33. That’s not old but it isn’t young either. It’s old enough to know better to jump into the same old situation yet again. I’ve created a conundrum for myself, in which I’m too senior to qualify for junior roles where I can learn how to do my job better, but too inexperienced to be truly qualified for the senior roles. An old business acquaintance not too familiar with my professional contributions outside of my public resume this week asked me if I’ve be interested in a very senior level marketing role in his organization, where he is on the executive team. He assumed I had the appropriate experience to take on this role but I don’t. And I’m so tired of this whole “fake it to you make it” because I’m horrible at faking it. I can’t even get my head around how to do a good job.

Today, I’m again fantasizing about grad school. I go back and forth over whether I should pursue an MBA or a design degree. The MBA would definitely make me better suited for my current role in its more senior incarnations, but the design degree would set me up for a job that I have a chance to actually love – thus, the design degree is probably the better choice. Either way, I need to take a standardized test and apply within the next month or so, which is a lot to do for someone who hasn’t prepared at all yet other than to categorize all the elements of math that I’d need to learn in the next 30 days. I can always wait another year, but I feel like it’s now or never at this point.

The best situation would be to stay in my current role and do the best I can for the next 8-9 months and leave for grad school in the fall. I’m sure I’ll be the oldest in my class by far which will be disheartening but maybe I’m finally mature enough to get a lot out of school (which I definitely wasn’t in undergrad) and I’d learn a ton and be employable for roles that I’d actually want once I finish. I’m less concerned about finances at this point – I’m still worried about retirement and such, but being as right now I’m not unable to afford a house and miserable in my career choice, I might as well be unable to afford a house and happy. Right?

I’m keeping the grad application thing secret as I probably won’t get in anyway and I’m trying to learn how to be self motivated to study for the tests. I really would like to just focus on the standardized test at a separate goal which, if I complete that and do well enough, I can move on to the next part of the journey which is actually applying to the schools. The problem with that is all the apps are due between Jan 1 and Jan 15… it doesn’t give me nearly enough time to pull together my portfolio and such. The MBA programs are a bit more flexible as I can apply to later rounds, so I might go the MBA route anyway and find a school where I can take a few design classes. Either way, I think the educational route will help me break out of this decade-long funk. I’ve learned a lot, but I need a massive shift right now, or this will be the rest of my life, and I can’t handle not knowing what I’m doing and falling apart on a daily basis.

 

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6 comments

  1. Your dilemma is shared by many people. I have felt out of place in my job and without a paddle or directions to go to the right shore. I would say to trust your instincts on what you can do and what you love, and continue to be as positive as possible through the process of determining your future career.

  2. Money Beagle says:

    I get how stressful this is. I was once hired for a job that I really wasn’t qualified for. It was a senior position and though I had a lot of fundamentals, I did not have direct experience in the field. The director that hired me told me that they’d make sure I spent a few months working alongside someone and that they would work me in slowly. When I started, the few months turned into two days and the manager I was assigned to had no interest in giving me the time needed to learn things. It was a miserable experience and I dreaded every day having to go to work and every minute that I spent there. When they finally let me go, I was actually relieved.

    I was able to return to my former field, which thankfully was not a step down, though the downside is that my upward mobility is limited in my field more so than the position I briefly held.

    In any case, I hope you find your path and soon. You may be making money but the stress on your body is coming at a cost. Keep in mind if you want to get pregnant soon and you want to maximize your chances of a healthy pregnancy, then reducing your stress will only be to your benefit.

    1. Joy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      hello 33 year old INFP from other side of the world 🙂
      UX design idea is still – an idea. I don’t know how to make the transition without grad school (I’m sure I COULD but I would feel much better going to grad school and approaching from that route) – problem is grad school requires GRE, 3 recommendations, portfolio AND willingness to give up 2-3 years of income plus pay a heck of a lot of money to put myself through school. The money issue doesn’t really bother me, it’s more getting my act together to apply and also fearing I won’t get in anywhere after asking for rec letters. I have to get this all together by Jan 15 basically which is so soon. Plus, I’m worried about being in grad school as 33 year old with a bunch of 24-25 year olds and also pregnant with a kid or a mother to a newborn. Given how bad I am at coping with life now, that just seems like a bad idea… but if I don’t do it now it prob will never happen. An MBA is another route into UX/product and maybe a more logical one at this point in my career. So, I just need to do something but yet again I’m procrastinating and too scared to do anything. :/

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