One thing I really wanted to change this year was my work. I am bored! Bored, under-utilised and uninspired. During our long holiday in May and June I wrote and wrote about what I wanted and how I might get it.
I came up with some steps:
- Make my CV shiny.
- Speak to a bunch of people I respect in my industry and ask them for inspiration for a new direction, based on my skills and experience.
- Find out about teaching at university or some of the technical colleges around here. I know I have the skills and experience, if not the letters after my name.
- Figure out if I could do my current job part-time, and spend one day a week focussing on teaching/writing.
Then procrastination set in. I polished my CV and realised I have almost ten years experience in my field, and my current job still has opportunities for me to learn technical skills. I looked at some brilliant jobs that looked inspiring, and then sadly realised they don’t pay what I’m getting here. Basically, the more I thought about leaving this job, the more I could see it’s benefits.
So I did something scary.
I arranged an appointment with my manager’s manager. He’s a busy guy, but he oversees about 12 projects like the one I work on. I told him how much I enjoy working here, what a great organisation it is. He told me how much he appreciated my work, and how well regarded I was in my role (I know it was just ego stroking, but it’s still good to hear it). I told him I didn’t want to leave, but I was ready to take on something new. He freaked out a bit, asked if my leaving was imminent. I said no, I was only beginning to look, but thought I should see what was available internally first. (I mentally crossed my fingers and hoped I wasn’t committing career suicide).
This lead to one of the most constructive conversations I’ve ever had about my career. He wanted to know what sort of projects I wanted to take on, and we discussed some really exciting possibilities. He got really, really specific about what sort of work I could do – and asked really specific questions about what I wanted. I was chuffed. And glad I’d thought out my response.
This meeting led to another, and then a third with my direct supervisor. The plan is that I keep doing my current role, but take on another project two days a week. I am happy and terrified!
The new project hasn’t eventuated yet. There are a few things I might be asked to work on, depending on other resources and approvals and things. But I can stay in my comfort zone, and always come back to this work if it doesn’t pan out.
So I haven’t committed a career limiting move. And I haven’t lost my job. It turns out that sometimes, to get what you need, all you have to do is ask.