I’m in the midst of reinventing myself from an administrative to a post-MBA professional worker. I’m finding it to be a lot harder than I expected to make that transition. Can you give me some advice?
I have been following your posts about men, women, employment and SAHParent balances and power struggles. I am not sure if this is the right place to ask you, but here it goes.
My passion is acting. My husband is an uber expert in his field of IT. We (Gen Xers) met in college where I was a Theater major, and he a Psycho-biology major who wanted to be a dentist. I wanted to break into the industry, but couldn’t in Los Angeles. We now live in Atlanta with two children. Lately, acting opps are presenting themselves, and I started to do some film/tv work without disruption to my day job.
For the last 15 years I’ve been working full-time jobs I never really cared for, just going through the motion, because being a SAHM does not interest me, and my hubby threatens divorce if I were to quit my job.
I am trying to build a case to give this acting thing a real shot. I can make some income on a weekly basis doing just extra work while doing auditions in between that. He wants me to work steady, predictable jobs. I make less than 1/3 of what he makes (he is in high 100K range). Other than needing to spend less on groceries and vacations, we could survive for awhile on his salary.
Over the years, he seems frustrated that I never “advanced” my career, or appear happy with what I do. I have a physical condition that will lead eventually (probably in a decade) me filing for disability. So between that, and the short window of time to do this, I feel like he is “forcing” me to break apart our family and marriage. I don’t understand this dynamic – a spouse that makes good money and LOVES what he is doing, but equates his wife’s passion as a deal breaker, and not as a career.
How do I negotiate this? Thanks for listening.
PS He now travels a lot in his job, so I am more or less a single parent shuttling the kids to extra curricular activities and doctor’s appointments and helping with homework besides working 8-5pm weekly, Mon-Fri.
How do you decide what’s off limits in terms of writing about others? How can you be authentic if you feel like you can’t write about major events in your life, but those major events expose people whose privacy you feel you need to protect?
Apologies for the super long post, but I started writing and had to get it all out. Your post about Leaving your options open sets you back really resonated with me and I recognise that that’s where I am but at the same time seem utterly incapacitated to do anything about it.
So I am a classic case of having a well progressing career that is suddenly turned upside-down by having kids. Back when I had the career coaching with you was when I was first trying to make sense of what to do. As a result of that I tried new things like the start-up with Claudia, where we failed fast and I learnt a ton. Then exploring options with the tech camps which looked more promising but then (with your coaching advice) I was able to evaluate that the marketing & PR wasn’t all I thought it was cracked up to be. In between doing this I think I was taking every class of yours I could afford:dream job, freelancing, blogging, negotiating, etc.
So with money becoming an issue again, I went back to focussing on my main work which is running an open-source software consultancy with my (INTJ) husband. With what I had learnt I was able to see that we needed to do more marketing. So I started blogging, albeit still sporadically. And I started going to the industry conferences, and I think I shared with you how the blogging course helped me write a great article which I turned into a talk which got early-bird acceptance at two of the conferences I submitted it too. And then like magic, companies, big big companies doing really interesting work started coming up to me to ask us to do work for them.
So now we have our choice of great work coming in, working side-by-side with great people at big & small companies, operating as freelancers where we can notionally control how much we do and still balance out with spending time with the kids. And it’s absurd that it sounds so perfect on paper, and it should be, but it isn’t in reality.
I have been killing myself over the last year to be a good mother, figure out my parenting style, take my business to new heights and deal with medical emergencies and deaths in the family. More recently I’ve had to add couples therapy to the list because the marriage part has been one of the parts that has suffered. So now I know I need to cut back but already seem too exhausted and don’t trust I have the perspective to make the right decisions. My husband who I normally rely on for helping make these decisions and is much more a black & white thinker like you is fed up with my inability to give things up and say no to people. I have been slowly and painfully getting better at saying no and getting rid of some clients/projects, but still have too many.
I was hoping you might have some clarity on the situation and see the bigger picture to help me focus on one goal. So far this is the list.
1. Focus on clients in the embedded space – this is our original speciality and where are backgrounds are perfect for but when the work seemed to dry up 5 years ago we lucked into the science sector. With the renewed marketing we are picking up 2-3 big new clients who are happy to pay us well for consulting. Also with the promise of the ‘internet of things’ this seems like an attractive space (although noisy) space to stay in. I want to grow and hire some people, but my husband thinks it is not worthwhile in the short term. It feels like a chicken&egg.
2. Focus on Science – we have been working for 5yrs with a big scientific facility in this space and now things are growing. We decided to become founding members of an open source science working group and have a bit of technology we wrote for the science company which they are happy for us to package and sell services to other companies. Ironically with that technology we are attracting companies in embedded space. We don’t have the phd credentials for the science space but I do have a friend who does who I might be able to bring on board. The work is very cool and looks like it will have added bonuses of getting to visit some great facilities.
3. Hardware product – then I have a good friend who came up with a little bit of hardware, ran a couple of kickstarters and got it initially funded. The product is great, with some fanastic usps but he completely lacks any marketing or a business plan. I am the one-eyed leading the blind but I feel like it has massive potential either in the education space or even as part of a low-power solution for industry. I feel like a product will always have more potential than consulting – is this even true and does it matter? I do talks about the technology and have set up a project at a school next year to get it in front of kids to try it out, but again haven’t made any progress because I am not committing. I like this option when I imagine it works well in the future for spending time with my son who is such an engineer already.
4. Other?? Focus on a personal brand - so if you ask me what I really love to do it is problem solving and personal development.
If I try to imagine what I want in 5 years I could see it being something like heading up an open source foundation or some random foundation. And then I think well if I want to do that I need to build a brand and I should be spending time blogging to build that up. And ever since I did your How to Write About Your Life course I have been haunted by the idea of writing a personal dev blog disguised as a tech blog. So then I spend time here and there trying to write stories.
OK so now writing this all down I don’t feel I’ve done it justice – I see so many little nuances and things to over-explain. I feel like I don’t know what’s involved for each path and how it will fit in with my family life so how can I decide. So do you think a coaching call would be the right way to go, or is the answer blindingly obvious to you? BTW, I am enjoying the pitching seminar (just watched day 1 so far) but I can’t help but feel it is another thing I am doing that I should not be because I haven’t made any proper commitments and so I am stressed, anxious and exhausted while I have to force myself daily to meet the commitments I have already made.
I have an idea for a company, and I have basic skills for writing code. Can you recommend good books or guides for how to take a startup idea and get funding and launch it?
I have been working at a public university for the past three years and was able to switch positions twice to secure better paid and more interesting jobs. I make good money now and have good benefits. Before that I worked in Europe (where I am from). I tested as an ESTJ and am excellent at organizing, administering processes, and communicating with people.
The problem that I keep having, though, is always the *same* at all jobs that I have ever held (in Europe and the U.S.). Here is how it generally goes:
I start the job, I learn the job, I improve and invent new processes and make things more efficient. Then I get too fast at what I do and my tasks do not fill my day anymore. Then I go to my supervisor and ask for additional tasks. Often these tasks are easy to do, unimportant, and do not fill my time. So most of my days at work I could complete all my tasks during a couple of hours (including responding to emails, etc.) Then I sit there, do busy work, surf the web. It’s super boring, making me depressed and angry. After having had these experiences, I do not know where to go next with my career or which type of position is good for me. I feel like I always played it safe career-wise, but I also don’t know what I could do instead.
My husband is still in school, so I can’t just stop working.
On a – very important – side note: I am also currently in fertility treatment (still pre-IVF, most likely starting IVF in February 2015). I hope I get pregnant soon. I feel like raising a family would make me very happy right now, but with my health condition I can’t count on being able to have a baby for sure. Being bored at work does not help keeping my mind not circling around my infertility constantly. I do Yoga and acupuncture to ease my mind.
I want to break the cycle I am experiencing at all of my jobs (learn-improve-bored). What do you think I should do?
Employers frequently ask if I’ve ever been fired. The question is on a required question on almost every application form I fill out. I was recently asked this question by one of my clients and I have no idea what to say, so I thought I would go to the expert – YOU!
I just read your article “How to Build a Career As An Artist”. I found the article helpful but I was hoping for a little more advice. I feel like every thing in our society is career driven.
Since I got my Associates in Arts in 2012 I have been working and saving so I can move out of my mother’s house and continue my education in an art school in California (I had the intention of being a prop maker). But now I’m 24 I have no idea what I want to do, and I am fearful of pouring a bunch of money into a school for a career that is always described as so inconstant.
I am creative and I love to make art in many mediums but like the Bruce Lee quote I feel “crammed and distorted by the classical mess.” Every one I speak to asks me what job do I want but really I cant answer that I just want to create. I don’t care if its alone or in a team or what environment it is specifically. It doesn’t have to be prop making or costume design or painting I’ll be happy as long as I’m creating and working with my hands and not at a desk all day.
Any advice or suggestions would be great. I’m just feeling very frazzled and conflicted and thought you could help.
I have decided not to go back to work after my maternity leave ends in the middle of October. I am going to be a SAHM for 2-3 years before I do any kind of contract or freelance, but likely be mostly home for 5 years before I go back fulltime.
What do I do with my linkedin profile in the meantime? Do I show that my current job ends in the middle of October, and then nothing for my current position?
I am quite proud of being a SAHM and think more women should be too. What do you think of putting something like Managing Director, family name., and listing the work I do as a mom (advance negotiation, scheduling, budgetting, etc., etc.,) in a way that clearly says I am at home, and I am “owning it”, or “leaning into it” if you will. I don’t feel like I have anything to be ashamed of, but also think it is a safer move after I get my next job.
I am a twenty-five-year-old ISFJ working as an administrative assistant in an insurance agency. I help the VP of Risk Management with everything and the HR Generalist with various projects. I’ve been here for a year and a half (a little longer than that), and it has been a great first job, but I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with the attitudes of management (the egos and greed are unbelievable) and am looking for a change.
I came across your blog recently, and since you seem responsive, I thought I would take a chance and ask for your input. I see very little on your blog about the right career for an ISFJ, other than being a stay-at-home mom. I would love to be a stay-at-home mom, but I have yet to find a husband, so in the meantime I need to support myself. I have always done well in administrative assistant roles, but have a hard time with motivation if I don’t appreciate the goals of my superiors. How can I find a job that fits me?
Thanks for any help or encouragement you can provide!