- 3 years ago
- Wedding: August 2014
Help, hive! I need career advice.
Background: I’m 28 years old and am uncertain what I want to do with my career path at the moment. I have an MA in a specialized but oversaturated field. My dream would be to do a PhD and become a professor at a university somewhere, but there’s a lot of risk involved in that. I’m also interested in TTC one FI and I are married, so I’ve come up with a five-to-ten year plan; work in my current position and have kids when I’m able to take paid maternity leave, and then consider doing my PhD once the kids are old enough to be in daycare while I’m at university (as many universities have subsidized daycare programs for their students). However, I also have ANOTHER five-to-ten year plan, involving my current work.
I currently work with for my municipal government’s Community Services department, and have been here in various capacities for six years. I work full-time in a cushy job, and the pay is great for what I do. However, it’s lower than what I think I’m worth, and I really don’t put my MA to much use here. I do a lot of what I qualify as “grunt” work–data entry, menial stuff, and I’d like to be more challenged.
Because I work in a unionized environment in a pretty large-scale organization, there’s lots of upward mobility. But, because everything’s based on seniority, it tends to take a while to move on up.
Because I’m not certain if a PhD is really feasible in the long run, my other five-to-ten year plan is to get into the Corporate Communications department of my government, where I’ll be able to put my specialized skills to use (and make a hell of a lot more money). The first step to this plan is getting into one of the Communications positions in various departments.
Here’s where the advice comes in. Recently one of these positions came up with our local water and solid waste department. I applied and I’ve made it through the first step, a presentation, of a three-step interview process. Obviously a lot can happen in the next two steps (a simple writing test and then a one-hour interview) but I like to consider all my options before things happen, so I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would do if I were offered the job.
The problem is, the more I learn about the position, the less excited I am about it. When I think of each reason individually it seems so petty, but considered together they make me seriously wonder if this is really what I want to do.
Firstly, it’s a position that will require me to start driving to work and between locations, and while I would receive my mileage for any driving between different satellite locations, I… don’t really like driving. Right now I bus to work.
Secondly, the position will involve weekend work. This isn’t a deal-breaker for me as I think you can get a lot more done when you’re not on a M-F schedule, but now it’s sounding more and more like they’ll want the successful candidate to work ALL weekend. Because of the way the schedule could work out, there’s a possibility that, if I accepted the position, I wouldn’t have a single day off with my FI. In addition to this, the hours will be variable, so some days I might be starting at 5:30am (not a problem) while others I may be ending at midnight (a problem).
Thirdly, I love the people I currently work with and I don’t think I’ll have the same working relationship with the people I would be working with at the new position. This impression is of course just from hearsay and first impressions, but I know it’ll be really hard to trump my team now.
Fourthly, and building into #1 and #3, I’ve started working out in our small gym with a coworker, and this is the first time in a long time that I’ve been so inspired to take my health into my own hands. I’ve lost almost 25 pounds and I’d like to keep that up, but I know without a workout buddy I won’t have the motivation to do it. I worry that if I take this new position I may not be able to keep up the progress I have now, or worse, I may regress.
Fifthly and finally, the pay isn’t that much better. I’d be making an extra $100 a cheque before taxes, but that’s exactly what I’d be making here if I stay for another year. That being said, the other position does have a higher salary range, so I could theoretically be making more there if I stayed for 5+ years… but the whole idea would be to get into the position and move as quickly as possible to Corp Communications, so I don’t think I’d be there long enough to make it worthwhile, in terms of salary.
I’ve been talking to friends, coworkers and family about all of this, and they all agree that it sounds like it may not be right… except for my mom, who makes a very good point when she says that it’s a step in the right direction if I want to get into Corporate Communications. She says, do it for a year and then move on, which is a good idea… but I just don’t know.
There’s also another catch; as a unionized employee, if I move into a higher position I have six months to decide if I want to stay there or not. This means that, theoretically, I could bump down back into this position if I decided the new position wasn’t working. However, I know how much trouble and stress this type of position transfer causes in our department, and I would feel absolutely terrible doing that, even if it was 100% absolutely necessary. So I really, really don’t want to rely on that as a backfall if I take the new position… but other people tell me I should.
Augh. I’m just so confused. Give me advice, hive! What would you do?