I have been having a lot of mixed feelings about work lately. Towards the end of 2009, I left my old firm for a new one -- still keeping the same type of job and responsibilities and switching to a slightly different title. It wasn't going to be same old same old; I was going to be working in new subject areas and supporting different practice groups and branching out into more PR and branding responsibilities. I also was primarily leaving my old firm because it was just an unbearable place to be....lack of support from my boss, unrealistic expectations of our department, always working late into the evening and usually coming in on the weekend, in short it just felt miserable. It wasn't just me; there was no joy in the workplace. Very little lighthearted banter, lack of support for one another or willingness to help each other, and a general sour attitude that felt like it just permeated the majority of the department. I knew I was good at what I did...I just couldn't be my best professional self under those conditions.
So I made the move to a firm where I would have a better work/life balance, more support from my bosses, and an assistant to help me properly manage the workload. And I am still good at what I do, and as a bonus usually get to work a 7 hour day (yup, 7). I have been getting great feedback from my bosses. I have been impressing the attorneys and other staff I work with and as a result getting involved in higher level projects and asked more for my professional opinion and suggestions.
Even with those really positive things going on in the workplace, I have been realizing recently that those nagging, lingering feelings are still there. The ones that keep ringing in my ear "This isn't what you always wanted to do." "This isn't making you happy." "This isn't the best use of your skills and abilities." I think my judgement was too clouded at my last firm to be able to see the forest for the trees. I just thought all of the unhappiness was a result of the horrible, miserable working conditions. And yeah, a lot of it was a result of that. I know I am happier and better adjusted now that I am not spending most of my waking hours, seven days a week in a windowless office.
Now that those gray clouds have cleared and I can see things better...well, I am worried. Worried that I shouldn't be doing this and I made a wrong turn somewhere. Even more worried that I can't undo that turn. I don't really know if it's "normal" to feel this way. Maybe I have put too much thought into it or maybe I have set the bar too high for what I hoped to do with my life or get out of (or put into) my work.
An organization that I am a member of for work will soon be holding their annual conference. I had the opportunity to go two years ago and found it incredibly helpful. While my firm is on a tight budget leash these days (really, who isn't?) I found that the local chapter of the organization was offering a scholarship essentially -- you wrote a super short essay and the judges would award two "winners" all the expenses for the conference - hotel, airfare, and registration. I thought it must be a sign. I could get myself there and maybe get the career kickstart I needed. So I sent off my little essay and could already picture myself there, drinking the KoolAid and getting my batteries recharged. But the winners should have been notified by today....and I didn't receive any notification. And I find myself a lot more upset and disappointed than I thought I would be. The slightly irrational part of me thinks this is some sort of sign, of what I am not sure.
So I came home today, a little upset and a little defeated. Not sure of what to do about it or really if there is anything to do about it. I try to tell myself all the time that lots of people doubt their jobs and if they are doing something that they should be doing. Right now that affirmation is not doing diddly squat for me.
Then I flip through the TV and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is on. That should be a sign. Of what, I'm not sure. But I like this sign much better than the other one.