Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It's not all sunshine and rainbows.

I have been purposefully absent from this blog for a while.   I hit a rough patch at work and in my personal life and I simply had no desire to narrate any of it.  Today was a day of dramatic ups and downs, and I decided that now would be a good time for an update.

While my job has a variety of positive and enjoyable aspects, it's nowhere near perfect.  Issues start to arise, many of which are out of my control, that affect my performance.  Customers become overwhelming and the reality of my inability to fix every single problem becomes overly apparent.  I'm expected to meet certain criteria monthly, and if not, then management starts to hover and nitpick, turning my fairly independent job into one of constant supervision and scrutiny.  I can handle a lot of the stress that comes with my job - the uncertainty of customers, the inevitable shortcomings, the almost unrealistic expectations of upper management - but when I lose my freedom to do my job and be responsible for my own work, my job becomes suffocating and overwhelming to a point where I simply don't handle it well.

While getting dangerously close to my breaking point at work, I was jolted back to a positive place when I got a call for an interview - a management position I had applied for.  It is within the same company but at a different location.  I was not familiar with any of the other managers over there, but I figured that would be a good thing, a fresh start and a new environment.  I went to the interview and it lasted for over an hour.  Things seemed to be going swimmingly.  I called to follow up the next week and I was informed that the decision had not yet been made, but I was one of the final two.  It was between me and another guy.  I responded to a few follow up questions and then a week later, I got a phone call.

I was full of excitement when I answered the phone, recognizing the number.  But I could tell almost immediately that the news I was getting was not what I hoped for.  He started off the call by saying, "I don't normally do this, but..." and I knew I hadn't gotten the job.  He had called to tell me they went with the other person.  I thanked him for the opportunity, and inquired about what I could have done different.  I think he was surprised at the question because he didn't really give me a straight answer with any useful criticism.  I managed to control my emotions until I pushed "end call" on my phone, and then I broke down.

I've worked so hard, for so many years, to get into management.  At my previous job, I had applied for management multiple times, and landed interviews twice, but never got the position.  This is my first attempt for management with my present company, and this was my first real chance and my first real failure.  It hit me hard and honestly, I'm still not recovered from it.  It makes me feel inadequate and
question myself and my abilities.  What I am missing?  Do I just not have the management gene?

Part of me wants to just give up trying to get into management.  I've tried so many times and never succeeded, there must be a reason they don't choose me.  Maybe I should just stick with my blue collar job and be content with the fact that it pays decent.  But I'm not content with that, and I know I'll keep trying, for as long as it takes, to move up into management.  No matter how many times I get turned down, I'll still keep striving for it.  I've also broadened my search for management positions with other similar companies so as not to limit myself and my opportunities.  I want to have a career, not just a job.  So I've also started really diving deep into my own thoughts and desires to try and determine what it is that I TRULY want to do with my life.  What would make me happy?  What is my passion in life?  What sort of job could incorporate my work experience and skills with the things I truly enjoy and am passionate about?  It's the ultimate question for me right now.

But in the meantime, I still have to resume my regular work.  Returning to my already exceedingly stressful job after the defeat of not landing the management position has been simply brutal.  But slowly I am recovering and getting back into the groove of things at work.  I'm good at what I do and I take pride in my work.  That's really all I can do for now.  That, and as Dory would say, "Just keep swimming."