I have two major passions in life: Animals and Reading/Writing.  I worked with animals for about 10 years, doing kennel work, dog bathing, and eventually, dog grooming.  I love working with dogs, the only problem is that the way owners of grooming salons focused on money more than the love of the dogs ate away at me, so I made a career change. I went from being dog groomer to being a Media Coordinator for an Ad agency, a small 11 person company with only two people in the Traffic department: myself and my manager, who would be training me.

I thought it would be a great fit because I love editing and I’m a very organized person, looking for a new challenge.  The biggest problem arose when my manager,  who was training me (or supposed to be…I mostly just watched what he did, which is a terrible way for me to learn, personally) QUIT out of the blue after 2 weeks of “training,” leaving me to run the department myself, still not sure what I was doing (although I asked a million questions) and trying to deal with the pressure of people saying “you should know this” when I was never given a chance to “know” anything.

This lead to me quitting after two months without another job lined up because the pressure was breaking me and making me miserable. Now that I’m out of there and living on my nice nest egg I made while grooming, I’m struggling to figure out how I can put my love for reading, and writing int o a full time job where I can be happy and be respected.  I have a book review blog and do some editing for a publishing company, but I’m struggling to find a way to make a living reading/writing and getting over the fear that another job will sandbag me like my other one did, which lead towards history repeating itself.

Is there any way you can throw a line or two of advice my way?  I would GREATLY appreciate it.

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4 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    You are never going to like work because you will always think people should be running their business differently. You have very strong values and you put your values ahead of things that have to do with money. But you have to eat, so you’ll have to put that aside in order to support yourself.

    You liked the work as a dog groomer, you just disagree with the business. So just be okay disagreeing with the business. You do not have your own business to support yourself so you have to work for a business that is not in line perfectly with your values. Just because you can see a way to do things better doesn’t mean there is not a logical reason for how people are doing things. The people you work for know how to run a business and you don’t. Respect that.

    Something to remember when you are picking a career for yourself: if you were reading for money you’d be reading stuff you hate – like movie scripts that suck but were written by people who have connections from their parents. If you were writing for a living you’d write stuff for sponsors and you’d be upset that it’s not in line with your values.

    So nothing is going to line up with your values in a way that makes you love the business. That’s just how you are born. Very very strong values. Good for raising kids. Bad for making money.

    Suck it up and go back to the dogs.


  2. Magalita
    Magalita says:

    I enjoyed reading this mailbag contribution because I think I too have very strong values, which often makes it hard to enjoy work. I enjoy your articles on how to manage office politics, for instance, because I hate them but I know I have to learn to play them.
    That said, the tone of your response was so harsh. Suck it up and go back to the dogs?

    People with strong strong values may not know how to run a business, but I am sure they can be a valuable part of running one. We can disagree with how things are run, but bring a valuable perspective and be a positive influence.


  3. Marie-INFP
    Marie-INFP says:

    What irony that your comment proved Penelope’s advice. You agreed with what she said but your values got challenged by the way she said it. One could argue that Maglita was in fact looking for this “straight no chaser” response by asking her question directly to Penelope. This is what Ms. Trunk is known for and keeps long time readers, such as myself, coming back. We’re sick of platitudes and want someone to give it to us straight

    Magalita – I’ve struggled with this myself where I once made salesperson of the month at a former company selling a product I liked. But when it was time to sell something else, I couldn’t and my sales plummeted. Turns out my enthusiasm and fervor was tied to my values and not making lots, and lots of money to do things like pay off my student loans. That was my first job out of college and 10 years later, I continue to fall into the same pattern. Still working on getting out of it and insight from Penelope like this is a tremendous help.

  4. Laura - ISTJ
    Laura - ISTJ says:

    I worked for 7 months in a temporary admin role while I was pregnant and it was one of the best jobs I had. Knowing that it was temporary made it easy to overlook all the things the management were doing wrong, something I haven’t been able to do in any other role. It made my time there much more enjoyable. I think that if I had been planning on staying there long term, I would have really struggled with all the areas I disagreed with.

    Penelope’s suggestion that it’s a values issue rings true for me and in my case at least, I’d agree that I’m not going to find a business that I’m happy with, values wise. From my experience in the temporary job, I decided to try hard to not let the way managers do things get to me.

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