In my most recent post, I revealed that my parental leave provided me the opportunity to reflect on what I truly find fulfilling in my professional life. I closed by saying that I've taken some steps in finding a more fulfilling niche in my workplace, and to stay tuned for more details.
Well, here are the details: I made the decision to transition from a Senior Content Strategist to a Content Strategist. In an era where everyone strives to overachieve and "have it all", why would I voluntarily take a step down the ladder? To understand why, we need to take a look back in time.
I started working at FindLaw in July of 2008 as a contractor. As someone who graduated at the dawn of the financial crash and associated great recession, I felt blessed to simply have a job. The fact that I was getting paid to write was extra filling in the pie (cake is overrated).
As time went by it turned out I was actually pretty damn good at my job, resulting in being hired on staff in April of 2009. By some time in 2010 I had been promoted to Copywriter III, a position that indicates you are proficient in production and a go-to person for mentoring, coaching, and process issues. In 2011 I made the jump to Senior Copywriter, resulting in more of a 50/50 split between writing and administrative tasks (coaching, mentoring, process improvement, quality reviews, etc.)
I had approached my career with an old school ethic that was more commonplace in generations past when someone would start in the mail room and work their way up to the board room before having a retirement party in the ballroom. I assumed my next step would be Team Lead -a step into the management realm. Alas, it was not to be.
My role as a senior became increasingly removed from my true strengths. Instead of creating marketing copy, creative taglines, and in-depth blog posts, I was frequently living in spreadsheets, online ticketing systems, and business process management tools. Long story short, it felt like actual work and I simply didn't give a rip about much of what I was doing. I did a good job because it was my job, not because I felt any sense of pride in it.
I had started giving serious thought to pursuing jobs at other companies. My thought process was "if I've hit my ceiling at FindLaw and am not happy with what I'm doing, maybe it's time to move on." This was a struggle for me, as my job works very well with my family life. I work close to home (literally at home multiple days per week), have good benefits and, most importantly, am able to spend time with my boys each afternoon. I didn't really want to move on, but was feeling like I was running out of options. I simply couldn't see myself in the same senior role until the day of my retirement party.
Fast forward to my parental leave. I finally had an epiphany while watching an episode of Scrubs. Dr. Cox, my favorite character on the show, found out that a paperwork error meant he was still married to his ex-wife, who he was again in a relationship with. Things began deteriorating until a colleague told him: "If you're not happy, go back to when you were." He responded to this by asking his wife for a divorce, and they continued living together happily ever after.
It finally hit me: I didn't have to leave the company to be happy again. I just needed to go back to the role that was the best fit for the 2018 version of me. As a Content Strategist the vast majority of my time is spent writing marketing copy and blog posts, and promoting content on social media. I'm once again a round peg in a round hole, doing what I do best on a daily basis.
Career decisions can be incredibly tricky, but sometimes it really is as simple as deciding what is most important to you and making it happen.