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Occupational Crossroads

I’m torn.

I’m 25, studying journalism and a social media fiend. I know that what I want to do in my life will have to be in Communications, where I interact with a lot of people and stay on top of the latest trends.

I want to be in the middle of it all. I certainly won’t be the next Penelope Trunk or Derek Shanahan but I can be a cog in the machine.

The problem is that, while my freelancing and blogging are surely opening up doors, I want to open them up faster, with a more solid foundation. I want my resume to be so impressive that there is absolutely no doubt I’m the right person for a job in Communications.

I have been at my current job for the past 18 months and only with the new Director do I really have a shot at being more hands-on with the Communications aspect of it. My new Director is telling me that he wants to strip me of administrative duties and help evolve my position to something equivalent to “Media Relations Assistant.”

I work at a trade association, which is certainly far from the non-profit I want to start myself before I’m 40. It’s far but it’s a start.

Then there’s reality.

The reality is that I can get a far better paying office manager/executive assistant job that pays at least $10,000 more. I could spend a year making that money, letting life drone on and come out of the other end with less (possibly zero) debt. I’d be a lot more comfortable but I would be running in place as far as my career aspirations are concerned.

Do I take the risk and stay in this job that pays less with the opportunity to develop myself or do I go take an ‘easy’ job that pays more which will just add one more ‘administrative’ notch to my resume?

My gut says to stay with this job.

I’m pretty sure I’ll be listening to my gut with this one.

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Kristen May 6, 2010, 3:54 pm

    Stay with your gut feeling on this one. I absolutely love my job working at a college. The pay is not great, the hours are long, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Sure it’ll take me longer to pay off those student loans, but at least I’m having a great time while I’m here.

    • PrincessQ May 6, 2010, 5:03 pm

      Yeah. At the moment, there is no way I can afford to go any lower on salary but I would trade the extra money for a job I LOVE anyday. I hate resenting to go to work.

  • Shannon May 6, 2010, 3:55 pm

    I’m an EA, and it’s not for everyone. Personally, I love administrative work, but if it’s not your bag, why pursue it? You’re young and not shackled to a mortgage or children – this is the time to take risks! There will be plenty of time later to follow the money. Good luck.
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..This Just In: I’m a Pervy Unicorn =-.

    • PrincessQ May 6, 2010, 5:04 pm

      I’ve done EA work. I *could* do it and not hate it but when I know my passion is elsewhere, it’s hard to go back to that.

  • Wendryn May 6, 2010, 4:06 pm

    I’d say go with your gut – if you know what you love, follow it. Frugal living is not as bad as a soul-sucking job.
    .-= Wendryn´s last blog ..Summer plans =-.

    • PrincessQ May 6, 2010, 5:04 pm

      No it’s not! And I kind of love frugal living. Coupons are my best friend!

  • michelle May 6, 2010, 4:21 pm

    i think your gut is on the right track 🙂 i would kill to be working in my desired field at this point, but i think that i’ve wedged myself too far in to my current track. i’m making decent money, which is what’s holding me back these days. in my opinion, the money from the wrong place isn’t worth the loss of your current footing in the right one
    .-= michelle´s last blog ..known your uterus =-.

    • PrincessQ May 6, 2010, 5:05 pm

      True. I’m half-half at this point. Unless a fantastic opportunity comes along for a lateral move, I’ll prob suck it up here for another 6 months for a 2 year tenure.

  • Anita May 6, 2010, 5:27 pm

    I chose money over passion the past 18 years. No regrets however had I known then what I know now I would have picked differently. Being financially set became a crutch I leaned on far too long however I am finally lining up the duckies ready to reach for the stars.

    • PrincessQ May 6, 2010, 6:47 pm

      I just see people following their passion and I am the kind of person that can’t stand it if I DON’T do that.

  • Sara May 6, 2010, 5:52 pm

    I say each person should do what is best for him/her. Personally, I would take the higher paying job, but that could be because I don’t have a passion for any particular type of job. Good luck with your choice!

    • PrincessQ May 6, 2010, 6:47 pm

      Thank you!

  • Dmbosstone May 6, 2010, 6:07 pm

    I could have made more money if I became a doctor or a computer programmer- like all the other Asians.

    But you should listen to your gut if you know the job is going to help you build your skill set- the only time I’d tell you not to listen to your gut is if you get too comfortable at a job.

    Because you should never be too too comfortable.
    .-= Dmbosstone´s last blog ..NMS Blog: I Don’t Know Where Social Media Will Be In Ten Years (But It Doesn’t Matter) =-.

    • PrincessQ May 6, 2010, 6:48 pm

      Definitely. The second I became too comfortable at my last job without going anywhere, I moved on. And they understood that.

      If a job isn’t challenging, it isn’t worth getting up in the morning.

  • A Super Girl May 6, 2010, 9:14 pm

    I’d definitely stick with your gut. I work in Communications (and have a degree in Journalism like you!) While things have changed a bit in the 7 years I’ve been out of school, work experience is critical. Freelancing is all well and good, but having experience in the type of industry you’re interested in (i.e. a nonprofit/association) and working for someone else in addition to self-employment through freelancing, is critical.

    The experience will pay off, I’m sure!

  • Lauren May 7, 2010, 12:11 pm

    Yeah, I’d definitely stick with your gut. Especially if you are passionate about it. More money can only get you so far. <3

  • Suburban Sweetheart May 8, 2010, 12:00 am

    I grew up wondering how my mother could be a measly librarian making zero money while her brother was an IBM exec, working all the time & making literally millions. I told myself that when I grew up, I would be like her, not like him. I would not be lower middle class, like my mom & I were. I would make money, whatever it took.

    My uncle recently retired at 52, miserable & worn out & exhausted. My mom is 55, the head of the children’s department at the library in my hometown. She’s in debt & she’ll never be wealthy, but she owns her car & almost owns her house. She paid for three years of my college education. And she goes to work every day, happy & healthy & ready to work. She loves what she does.

    And the older I get, the clearer it becomes – if I am half as happy with my job as my mom is with hers, I will be successful. And that’s worth more than money.

    (As for my uncle? He just started a second career as a tennis coach at a country club. He’s making pennies, & he’s happy as hell. Further proof.)

    Do what you love, & life will reward you in other ways.
    .-= Suburban Sweetheart´s last blog .."The Day I Almost Met ____" =-.

  • Malnurtured Snay May 11, 2010, 9:41 am

    I would usually suggest paying off debt, but if you think something is in the works, go with your gut. But maybe give yourself a time limit – if something hasn’t materialized in 6 months, go for the higher paying job so you can get yourself out of debt. Okay, you may be postponing your own career ambitions, but provided you’ve also amended your life style so that you aren’t getting yourself back into debt, you’ll sleep easier at night.

  • spln May 11, 2010, 2:43 pm

    Go with your gut! As someone who is hitting 40 soon and in a great spot with my career, I look back and realize that the comfortable road is most certainly NOT the one to take just because it offers better pay. You want something that will grow your resume. Something you enjoy doing. I am extremely grateful for some of the more difficult decisions I made in my 20s because I’m in a good spot now.

    You have what it takes to do exactly what you want. You’ve got talent, drive, ambition, skill… all the things you need to be a social media/communications guru. In fact, I kindof already consider you one, even if it’s not official. It’s just not “official” YET. It will be. Keep it up and soon you will be soaring to wonderful places. Your gut knows where you need to be. Shine on.

  • spln May 11, 2010, 2:47 pm

    btw, I meant to mention a quote from a friend of mine. “Some people stick their foot in the first door that opens, only to find it’s in the wrong house.” It’s worth seeking the right door.

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