penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

Climbing the ladder

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Recently a position was posted at work to act at a higher level.

Four years ago, I would have dutifully filled in a resume/hour long questionnaire and sent it off without questioning my motives.  I would worry about it, study for the exam and interview, wonder how I would do.  When I was not successful, I would call for a debrief, and write down the information for the next go around.  I might grumble a little, but it wasn’t the end of the world.

Ten years ago, I would have raced to have the first, most best resume in. I would have worried, about it, studied for it, and then thrown myself into a two day depression when the job was given to someone else more qualified.

This time, I barely opened up the request. I had a vague look at it.  I recommended a colleague of mine try out for it because I thought he would be a good candidate (and I would work for him any day).  When I arrived home I told my husband about it and the reasons why I would not be applying – to see what his reaction was.  He simply laughed. “All right then, let’s move on.” Then I let the deadline pass without really thinking much about it.

I did, however spend some time thinking about why my attitude has changed.  Have I lost my mojo?  My drive to climb the ladder?  And if so, what is the significance of that.

I had a few ideas and came to a few conclusions.

I thought about the lost importance of climbing the ladder.  When I was growing up, it was instilled in me that you were probably going to get a job at the bottom and then you would scratch and bite your way towards the top.  This was the natural order of things.

Since that time, I’ve learned from watching others that this is not necessarily the case, nor is it always a good way to go about doing things.

Often times, the higher up on the rungs you go, the further you are from the training or the area of interest you have.  The job becomes taken up by management concerns – budget and human resources issues.  I can manage money, but it’s not something that interests me. I love people and working with them, but memorizing the latest contract, the convoluted steps for hiring people and measuring performance was not what I signed up for. I miss learning about issues in depth, as the higher up you go it becomes more about the volume of paper you can push through the day.

We have had significant change at work recently. This is not a negative thing – it has in fact created some interesting challenges for me, stretched my boundaries and forced me to consider other perspectives.  However, when work alters drastically it also leads one to question what the value of the work itself is.  Usually I think I like my work – in its own small way it feels important and I believe people depend on me.  But, my daughter told me recently “You must hate your work, because you are angry all the time.”  It gave me pause – why am I doing this work?  If I stopped doing it, would it make a difference?  If I wasn’t doing this, what would I be doing? I didn’t have specific answers, but it made me start to consider my options.

In addition, the last two years of my personal life have been challenging and I as a result I am so very, very tired.  I always encourage others to “practice” for the interview, so that when the job comes along that they really want, they are ready for it.  I find though, at this moment, I  do not have the head space to do a proper resume, let alone study for the potential three hour exam and two hour interview. If I was successful, I wasn’t sure I would have the energy to do the job well.

When I think about space and time, I always consider my family.  Being successful would likely mean more time away from them.  All moments in family life are fragile, but I am acutely aware that my youngest is not going to be a preschooler for much longer, my middle is gloriously troublesome on a regular basis and my oldest is (god help me) a pre-teen. I love my husband and I want to spend more time with him, not dump more of the load on him.  For a variety of reasons I can’t quit out right – nor would I want to really – but I can’t give any more to a job that has questionable meaning.

While I’m not ready to jump down off the ladder – and there would be huge repercussions  for both my family and my career if I did – all of this has made me stop to look at the scenery.  The question now becomes – is it where I want to be, or do I want a different view?


Written by pennyinacastle

December 2, 2012 at 2:59 am

Posted in Random thoughts

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