It’s Not You, It’s Me | When It’s Time to Move On

I will tell you it’s not you, but in the end, it might be you. Sometimes, in the workplace, you have to be the bigger person and determine when it’s time to move on, after all, nothing lasts forever. This isn’t an easy thing to decide, nor one to be taken lightly, but it’s something so many in their early-thirties start contemplating. This is the prime time for growth, salary increases, and setting the tone for the rest of your career.

New job. New relationship. New start.
New job. New relationship. New start.

If you are having more days than not that involve wanting to bang your head against a desk, or breathing into a brown paper bag (or hell, drinking from one), it may be time to spruce up your resume and start networking like a fiend again.

Wondering how to get back in the game?

  1. Present your best self(ie). If you can splurge on some brand name purse, you can afford to take professional headshots. Hire someone. Find the right outfit, and make your LinkedIn profile visually appealing – but also representative of you and your industry. If you are in the creative field, it’s okay to dress the way you would in the office. If you are corporate, stick with a suit and solid colors.
  2. Write like a copywriter. Stop with the generic resumes. Revamp it. If you work in a creative field, hire a creative to rework/layout your resume. It’s the best $250 you can spend. Make sure to list your accomplishments, actual corporate growth as a result of your efforts, and industry awards or accolades. Make your work history work for you. Don’t exaggerate unless you can speak to it during an interview – comfortably.
  3. Get out there. Networking sucks. But it can be fun if you don’t try too hard. Start going out more, start asking people where they work, attend your professional organizations events (Ad Club, American Marketing Association, PRSA, you name it – your career field has them). Your friends and networks are probably very happy to help you, especially if you would be willing to help them or have in the past. Let people know that you are gainfully employed, but starting to look at what else is out there.
  4. Stay calm and collected. One of my most influential and intriguing colleagues, is ironically a few years younger, and one of the most calm and collected, confident and assertive people I know. We met recently and prior to even sipping my beer, he said ‘can I offer you some career advice? You always lose your shit and get so anxious about things – just relax. Breathe. Let it go and then react if you actually need to.’ I so badly wanted to punch him, but the worst part was that I knew he was 100% right. This advice is true in the thick of your career, but especially important as things get tough and you get wandering eyes. DON’T LOSE YOUR MIND (in public).
  5. Develop coping mechanisms until you make your exit. Per my fourth suggestion, days may challenge you in ways you aren’t ready to deal with. If things are changing faster than you can get a grip on, and so much is beyond your control, take breaks during your day. Spend five minutes and go on a walk. Call someone. Reorganize your spotify playlists. Snap someone that gets you. Laugh. Do something. But don’t sit and get fuming mad. This backfires.
  6. Trust no one. Well, except maybe a select few. Leaving a job is something that should be carefully mapped out, especially your exit strategy. No one wants to leave because the entire company already thinks you are on the way out. Or HR says, ‘we heard you aren’t happy here and want to help you out.’ Slow your roll a bit, and count to ten (yes, seriously) before feeling the need to vent or tell someone you aren’t thrilled. It will come back to bite you in the ass. Practice your professionalism – even if it’s the hardest thing you have to do.
  7. Stick to your guns. When you finally decide it’s time for a change, don’t let anyone but your gut make that decision for you. Decide why you are leaving – is it money? Lack of growth? Challenges with employees or the way teams are structured? Clients? Or do you want tif-in-doubt-begino try something completely new? In many of these cases, you simply have to move on. But, if you go put your notice in, and your current company decides to throw money at you, make sure you aren’t emotionally influenced with what to do. You started looking for a reason. Don’t forget it.
  8. Give them a reason to miss you. Relationships and work are two in the same. There are many days where I want to be like – ‘oh, yeah, well f you, f you, and F YOU.” But, again, back to #4. It’s totally insane and opposite of why a company or person made you become so loyal, grow together, fall in love, and learn so much – even if you’ve fallen out of love. When you ‘breakup’ with your company, make it so they are devastated to see you go, that they will continue to think about you, and wonder what they could have done to keep you. They may never know, or they might – but leave it for a tasteful exit interview.

If this is a reality for you, hang in there. There are a lot of tough days – but you’ll most likely learn so much about yourself as you start to regain your happiness and do whats best for you. Lean on your mentors, your friends, and your parents to listen and help – and in the end, know that it will all work out because you wouldn’t settle for anything less.



Performance Reviews

Working moms – do performance reviews make you nervous? Hopefully. They are an awesome opportunity to explore your own strengths and weaknesses and hear back from others on how they’d rate you, too. Truth: I love performance reviews. I wish I could have more. I would give anything in the world to learn more and better apply myself at work.

In fact, I would love a performance review as a wife. And as a mom. And as a sister. And as a friend. And homeowner. And neighbor. As a room-mom. And good citizen. As a supporter and advocate for causes I care about.

Until today. Today I was writing my thoughts on my performance review for work and almost bursted into tears. When you have a vision in your head of who you want to be professionally… and how capable you truthfully believe you are – but you are so incredibly tied down to a number of things you NEVER expected, it can be crushing. Crushing that you want to exceed your boss’s and coworkers expectations, but you know that if they said you did – it would be a lie after the year I’ve had. Crushing that I want so badly to work more hours than I do – because I want to further my organization and benefit it – because I get so much satisfaction from it.

And… most of all, crushing that I don’t think there is a change in sight, no way to fix it for the time being.

This year has presented so many hard things to accept – especially for a type A mom who at one point wanted to focus on her career. Then had such a deep desire to be a mom. Then struggled with guilt of wanting to be both perfectly.

I want to be so good at everything. And yet now, in my heart, I know the only thing I can devote all my energy to is my child – my child who is developmentally and cognitively delayed. Who needs weekly PT, OT and ST. Who needs to be seen for a 4 hour appointment at the Feeding Clinic because he won’t eat. Who has moderate hypotonia that I keep thinking is mild – until I really closely watch his actions.

So, across the board on my performance review – I have to settle for mediocrity this year. It’s one of the most difficult things to swallow. I’m average. I don’t deserve a raise compared to my colleagues that are putting in twice the hours and killing themselves at the office… they deserve it. I was that woman years ago. Maybe I will be that person again (with far more balance obviously).  I applaud them. They have been compassionate and understanding and supportive. And for that, they all deserve raises. I know that if the tables turned, I’d offer all the support in the world and actually understand the paint hey are going through both personally and professionally.

This year – even if I get 3’s in my professional review, I know if my little men were to review me, they’d give me 5’s across the board. In the comments, he could write that I give up every single night or normalcy to sleep by his side, make sure he’s breathing, feed him when he actually wants to eat, make sure he can roll over to get comfortable, which he can’t. Make sure that when he cries for me (even though he can’t say mama) – that I’m there. Make sure that when he does something as simple as move his foot on a riding toy – signaling that he gets it’s supposed to move – that I celebrate it with insane enthusiasm. Another friend of mine said that her neighbors must think they won the lottery all the time – but it’s them celebrating their son eating new foods, or using the potty. It’s true. And of course I need to make sure I’m the best mom to his brother, too. So, a 5 from my boys, a 3 from my work (I get my job done as best I can in 40 hours, with a few less on weeks of appointments), probably a 2 as a sister, a 1 as a friend, and maybe a .5 as a wife. Probably a .1 from a workout/taking care of myself perspective (easter candy, anyone)?

If nothing else, lots to improve on. For both my little man and me. As he progresses, and he will… I will, too. Always something to strive for.

It will be okay.