jumping off the career plank

I often write about how I have a great job, yet I still feel like I haven’t found the position where my talent can best contribute to a company or cause. I can get by in marketing… I’m decent at telling a story about a product, understanding how people might want to use it. But I’m by no means a brilliant marketer. In this career, I can only go so far, and it really shows everyday at work.

Every year, every month, every day, I come back to wanting to be on the product side of tech divide. I highly value my experience in marketing and know it will help me in the long run, but I honestly do not want to spend the rest of my career as a marketer.

While I’m dedicated to my marketing role at my current company, at some point things will need to change. I’m 27 now, and I’m dedicated to this role until I’m 30 or 31. At which point, I need to figure out what’s next. And that time will be here before I can count 1. to. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

That change really seems to require grad school. And that’s the career plank I speak of… the plank I’ve been talking about and thinking about for the past five years. I think I’m getting closer to being ready. I’ve looked at a ton of programs across the country and have determined that it makes absolutely no sense for me to get an MBA. What I really want to do is HCI (human computer interaction) or interaction design, and focus on making interactive games for fitness and health. If I did that for the rest of my life, I’d be a happy camper. I could work Nintendo, Microsoft, Garmin, Sony, NordicTrak… any of the companies innovating in this area. I’d love to be on a product team that has to come up with the next health-related game and to design that experience. I could market it, but i’d much rather design it.

There are a couple of programs I could apply to, but there’s one that stands out as being the top choice if I want to follow this career track. I’m not sure I feel comfortable applying to grad school when i’m 30. Ideal story would work out with me rocking out at marketing at my current startup and helping us make a lot of sales so we can sell the company for a large amount and then i’d have enough to make the plank jumping a little less painful. Chances of that are still small… but I know I can’t spend the rest of my life in marketing, the question is when do I jump.

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