Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Applying to Art School: The Story of Not Loving Your Job

Are you guys still checking in on blog? Good for you! Remember you can cyber-stalk me on youtube now.

So how are things?? There have been a whole lot of changes in our lives since my last post 2 and a half months ago. Here's a quick update:

My girlies came to visit!

Matching PJ's...we're cool like that.

We found out we will be moving. Mike found out he didn't get an offer from the residency here in Atlanta. Luckily the next week he found out that he did get an offer from the Rehab Institute of Chicago!

Celebratory Moe's dinner of course!

I applied to Art School.  Yup, starting in July I'll be taking night classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for a certificate in...drum roll please....Fashion Design!

Mailing in my application :)

How am I feeling about all these changes? For the most part, I'm PUMPED! We never really thought the move down here was permanent, and moving back to the Midwest has always been in the 10 year plan at least, so it's exciting that we are moving back so soon. That being said, I've got a lot of anxiety about finding a new job. I feel like I've been given a chance to take a step back and re-evaluate the career path I'm headed down, and I want to make the most of this opportunity.

First, some back story. My mom is an accountant so that's where I got the idea from. Unfortunately my mom was an uncommon sort of accountant where she really acted more as an analyst. She spent her entire career in industry, meaning that she never audited any companies or prepared anyone's taxes. 

My mom's role was the type of accounting that really caught my attention. So what happened? Well, I had two internships during college: one in industry and one doing taxes for a public accounting firm. Comparing my internship experiences as a whole, public was the clear winner. I was working with awesome people (one of which has been my roommate, bridesmaid, and very close friend to this day). I was also doing work that I was really good at. So when I got a full time offer, it wasn't a hard decision.

The trouble began once I started. I was put into a different group...and in a not particularly fun section within that group. There's no candy-coating it. I was bored out of my mind. I requested transfers but it never worked out so I stayed put and just sucked it up until Mike proposed and got accepted to GA Tech. 

When we moved to Atlanta I was able to transfer not only to the ATL office but also to a more desirable group. What I learned pretty quickly was that the lack of exciting work was the least of my problems. I got stuck working for a couple of HORRIBLE people. If you know me well enough you've probably heard the highlights. 

So about a year ago I was desperate to get the heck out of that office any way I could. I applied to a number of cost accounting/general accounting roles in an effort to refocus on the areas that originally attracted me to this field. The problem was that 2+ years of tax experience had pigeonholed me into tax. I ultimately decided that getting into an industry tax role would be step one and that I could figure out the next steps once I got there.

Fast forward to where we are now. I am significantly happier. The work is pretty good most days. Sometimes boring, sometimes stressful, it's all balanced out pretty well. And the people here are a dream. So why am I not happy?

As a "millennial" that took a number of marketing and psych classes in college and grad school I know all about what is being said of my generation. Unrealistic expectations. Sense of entitlement. Unwillingness to do the grunt work. I've spent a lot of time wondering if I'm just living up to the stereotypes. Is it unrealistic to want a job that pays the bills AND makes you feel good about yourself? 

From my vantage point I say no. There's nothing wrong with wanting to enjoying the work you do. At work I am surrounded by highly motivated people who all seem to be seriously enjoying the work they do. Yes we all have stressful days and long nights. We all hate Mondays. We all countdown to vacations. But don't most days end with a sense of accomplishment? Of feeling like you did something helpful, and that you did it well. 

The thing is that I'm not a naive millennial chasing some crazy dream. I've had that job before. The one that challenges you just the right amount to keep you coming back for more. The one you can see yourself in 5 years down the road. So that's really what I'm looking for. Hopefully this move will open up the doors I seem to have missed along the way.

And in the meantime...I'll be taking design classes at night :)

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