Thursday, June 3, 2010

Work Mojo

Things continue to be touch-and-go at work. The good days are enjoyable enough, but they're not as frequent as I would like. I've been quite busy lately, working on projects that are important in the grand scheme of things, but aren't big, sexy, meaty projects with stimulating, committed co-workers to collaborate with. As best as I and my boss can tell, our team will continue to run these important but focused, small-scale projects in the near term. And this kind of work just isn't doing it for me. I so want to be part of a team where everyone is in it together, pulling in the same direction, dedicated to project success, rather than often feeling like I'm pushing a rock up hill. Sure, it's a very important rock, and my boss and her boss really care about it, but no one else involved in the project would notice if I just stopped calling meetings, or asking for data, or checking up on status. Sigh.

So I've started looking for other opportunities at the company, as much as I would hate to leave my boss and co-workers. And even bolder than that, when an old boss looked me up a couple weeks ago, I said yes to an interview next week.

It's exciting to contemplate a change. I just don't know whether my lack of mojo is situational -- i.e. I'll feel better in a different role or company -- or systemic, as in nothing will help except time (I'm still healing) or a new career (I'm a different person now). Leaving my current role and company, where I have a solid reputation, an understanding boss, lots of seniority (read vacation time) and a 4-day-a-week schedule for something that may end up being no better and perhaps much worse, is frightening. How do I make a good decision, when there are so many unknowns?

Obviously, this change isn't driven by ambitions or career aspirations. So I plan to make the call on whether to jump ship (assuming I'm given the opportunity) entirely on gut instinct. How I feel inside, how much excitement and pull I feel toward the role, the company, and my potential new co-workers will be my guide. Leaving my current company at this time of year is a bad financial move because stock vests and bonuses pay out in late August; if I find that I don't care that much about the money it's a good move. I have loved my 32-hour work week and feel like I would break down if I couldn't have Fridays to do my own thing; if I can't get that schedule at the new company and I find I don't care that much, it's the right move. If the money or the schedule get in the way, I will take that as a sign to keep looking, or hunker down and wait a bit more.

I realize I am amazingly fortunate to have the job I do, and even that much more fortunate to have the luxury to contemplate my career navel at length, as I am doing. A part of me says I should just suck it up and make the best of it. But a bigger part reminds me that life is short, and doing something that doesn't excite me more days than not is a waste of my time, and unfair to the company too. It's funny (ironic, I suppose) that the same event that gave me a more urgent appreciation for living has also at least temporarily made it difficult to get much enjoyment out of some parts of my life.

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