Saturday, September 13, 2008

Can you have your cake and eat it too?

There are plenty of people in the world, myself included, who want everything when it comes to a great job and career. They want to have their cake and eat it too, grumbling when they can’t. In the world of work, especially when starting out in your twenties, few have the luxury of having it all. I took the stance for my first year being happy to have a job at all and not expecting to like much of it. Trust me, I didn’t. So today, I’m in a comfortable job that allows me a nice flexible schedule, a great boss who doesn’t micro manage and a laid back culture. Yet there are many things left to be desired. I work in the non-profit world at a University so there are several perks of which I prefer to never leave behind. These include week long breaks at Christmas (that don’t count against my vacation days), shorter summer hours and no corporate hoo-ha. But ultimately, I find myself under achieving and almost envying the corporate minds who use their brains all day and deep in the work I wish I were doing.

So I say to myself, I’m not interested in working for corporate America where my schedule includes 60 hour weeks filled with stressful days and nights. I love working at a University where the culture is laid back and continually thirsty for knowledge. Yet I’m not doing what I might love and certainly know I can be doing more with the mind I spent 4 years working on developing in College. I might be having a little bit of cake, but I certainly can’t eat it.

What’s a twenty something to do? Let’s first realize that you’ll never be able to have it all. Yet if you feel mostly content about your career, that could be enough. Take some time to think about the pieces that are missing and fill them elsewhere. If you’re not allowed to be as creative as you’d hope, propose a new idea to your boss that would fit into your job description and help fill the gap. Or, if that clearly isn’t an option, take a look at your local Adult Education centers and sign up for a night class that will fill your void. You may even meet someone with similar interests and who’s there for the exact reason you are.


Mike Smith said...

Very true, Amy. I also work for a not-for-profit organisation in Scotland. But finances still dictate its strategy.

I think your blog is brilliant btw.


k. mead said...

i hated my job about a year ago - and quit. I ended up walking dogs (bc I thought maybe I'll open my own dog walking business) uhh no. I quickly realized that while corp america isn't ideal for me, it has perks I love - weekends and holidays off, a steady paycheck, a warm, dry place to be on rainy or snowy days... sometimes you have to be completely out of your element to find out what you really want or need.
Working at a university/college sounds good though, that might have to be my next endeavor!