Have Some More Folderol.

Forgive me, y’all, but I seem to be fixated on these career-related musings lately. I think what happens sometimes is, I keep certain observations at a low simmer for awhile, and all of a sudden they bubble up and demand my attention.

I seriously just thought about deleting my LinkedIn. It struck me how much it constitutes a sort of game-playing, and I had a bit of a tussle with myself over whether I wanted to maintain it. At the end of the day, though, I put effort into it and it isn’t doing any harm, so I’m leaving it be.

Tonight, more for the sake of my spotty working memory than you all, I feel compelled to recap the efforts I’ve made in recent years to change my professional path. There are days I catch myself inadvertently retreading old ground, and having this here as a timeline to reference should help me keep a handle on things.

Disclaimer: Unlike someone who needs to get some job, any job, ASAP to keep their house and support their family, my approach has been mainly about quality over quantity. That is, making occasional strategic moves rather than pulling any and all punches. Which I think makes sense for someone who is a) well-paid, b) not suffering trauma, and c) struggling to pick a direction.

2016: Networked with a former colleague who had switched to a competitor company. Went through several rounds of interviews for a similar (non call-center) job at said competitor, but was ultimately not selected. Not a great loss as I didn’t feel compatible with the startup-like, prankster culture. I’m sure there were also a handful of other online job applications during this year. I asked my then-supervisor for advice on development and made known my willingness to take on new challenges. He almost got me onto a project that might have built some valuable experience, but the project fell through due to company priorities.

2017: I’m sure there were more online job applications I can’t even remember. Went above and beyond on a couple initiatives in my existing job, but they read as little more than “did Excel stuff for boss”. Had a couple of informational interviews, one with a UVA Advancement pro and one with an analyst in my company.

2018: A random inspired email I sent landed me the offer of an interview with a small wig vendor I purchase from frequently. Unfortunately, the only positions available were part-time, i.e., without benefits, so I passed on the interview. More online applications were submitted. Ultimately, I went out on a limb internally and earned a promotion (my first and only successful behavioral interview!). The raise was nothing to sneeze at. The experience was also humbling and I had to spend most of my time learning the ropes and not embarrassing myself. Also finished the fairly difficult designation I’d been working toward. (But! Still. A. Call. Center.)

2019: Had another informational interview with a former co-worker who’d managed to make the coveted leap to an analyst role. Sat in on an analyst info session. Tried to learn the basics of Six Sigma through an online course. Interviewed for a lateral move to an analyst position. Not selected, but feedback offered insight: I hadn’t explicitly drawn enough connections between current job and desired job to justify a pivot. When the same position opened again, I applied once more at my boss’ urging, but was not interviewed a second time. Began networking with analysts in a different department and felt we were hitting it off. Set my sights on/began to feel like I belonged in that department. Worked to stand out more in my current role.

2020: (Insanity in the macrocosm aside) Began seeing my career counselor. Also continued networking with the team of analysts I hoped to join. At the end of the year, there was finally an opening in that department, and with the guidance of my counselor and my boss, I prepped like a psycho and went for it. (Y’all already know that story.)

Which brings us to this year: more informational interviews; an attempt at crowdsourcing an answer to my dilemma; an additional lateral application that met an absurdly comic end; and a second crack at that last internal position with identical results (colloquial definition of insanity, anyone?). It’s been a five-year journey, and the biggest takeaway is that I have most likely been trying to fit a square peg (me) into a round hole, AGAIN.

More (measured) positivity soon, I promise. For the sake of a balanced diet.

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