Post-Mortem of the Wrong Job

Post-Mortem of the Wrong Job

The twitter-verse is full of hopeful “new job” posts. Have you ever wondered how many of the jobs are happily ever after or do they fizzle out under the force of unmet expectations?! The latter story rarely gets told, but its the one I want to tell.

Eight months into the tenure of my (now former) job, it became apparent that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. At this point, I had to rally myself with nearly daily reminders of “You can do it, girl. Keep trudging. For now.”

So, how did that job that I was so excited about end up this way?! Let’s walk through the factors that led me to the wrong place.

Downplayed my values

When I interviewed, I downplayed something that I value: Community. I did this in part because I struggle with feeling that I am worthy of being among the incredibly inspiring, overachieving, awesome people in the NetApp A-Team, vExpert, and Tech Field Day delegate communities.

Because my involvement feels like self-promotion (a major internal struggle), I skipped over it. Had I been more self-aware, I would have known that community support was a job requirement for me.

Made assumptions

I naively assumed that because my employer was Value Added Reseller (VAR) that they would value conferences and #extracreditkid activities. All VARs do, right? I also didn’t factor in how support changes based on your role.  An account manager that attends these events has more direct value than an onsite engineer.

In making assumptions and avoiding awkward conversations, I both cheated myself and robbed my previous company from finding a candidate with similar values and expectations.

When an invite to a community event required to me to beg* to use my vacation time., I felt resentful. My company probably disliked that I was again requesting more time off. Time that wasn’t billable to the customer.

Decided from a place of fear

In the two years before joining my previous company, I had a whopping six job interviews (including the VAR job). If that sounds pitiful, I was comfortable/complacent at my previous job.

By the time my third and final job offer arrived, my first inclination was not to accept it. However, my inner critic questioned me. What is wrong with me? Will I ever find the right job?

Accepted, but hope for change

When I accepted the job offer, I convinced myself that this job could turn into more. I only had to make it through the first year. I knew that the commute was terrible and that the job wouldn’t offer a lot of variety. I only had to make it through the first year, and the company would have a new position for me. Even though there were signs that this wouldn’t happen, I ignored all of them. I turned this job into what I wanted I hope for it to be.

Outcome

17 months into this job, I resigned with no other job on the horizon and a life at the time felt off balance. While that sounds like a total loss, it wasn’t. I’ve grown so much during this period. Many upsides came from the wrong job.

Have you ever accepted the wrong job? What were the factors that contributing to that decision? I’d love to hear your story.


PS – My previous employer treated me justly and with respect. I have no ill will feelings towards anyone that I worked with or the company as a whole.

Becky Elliott

After dropping out of a liberal arts college that focused on reading and discussing the “Great Books”, Becky Elliott found her way to a career in IT. For 20+ years, she has held a number of roles in Dev and Ops, and the area in between the two. In working for organizations in which poor security practices can cost lives, she’s an ardent believer in integrating security through the entire design process. Becky holds a number of industry certifications including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
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