On Epiphanies, Friends, and Career Direction

On Monday, May 25, I woke up to a realization.  I don’t like my job!  I’d like to say it was startling or sudden, but that’s just not true.  But the epiphany wasn’t that I was unhappy doing the work I was doing, it was that I suddenly realized that I could not do it anymore.  Not wouldn’t… couldn’t.  Some switch flipped and I knew with absolute certainty that I wasn’t going to create enough change in my environment to make myself love my job. 

So, while I drove into work, I thought about my epiphany.  I asked myself questions: 

1) Why don’t I like my job? 
2) What am I going to do about it?
3) Am I losing my mind; have I become irrational? 

The answers, respectively, were: 

1) I don’t love Business Intelligence.  It’s a great field, and I thought it was the natural progression of my career, but I just don’t love it.  I am surrounded by people that do, and that just highlights the fact that I’m not passionate about BI the way they are.  That, coupled with the fact that I’ve been in a very tough consulting environment for a few months where I regularly do work that is neither fulfilling nor educational made for a bad combination. 
2) I’m going to change something. 
3) Surprisingly, no. 

Okay, so what to do?  I e-mailed a few trusted SQL friends and told them about my epiphany.  I know that every one of them probably said, “duh, Audrey” as they read the e-mail.  They all intuitively knew that I wasn’t doing something I loved and were all supportive and encouraging of my decision to figure out what to do next.  My dear and always supportive friend Aaron Nelson (Blog | Twitter) pointed out that his company was interviewing candidates for a database developer position over the next few days.  Now, I’ve known Aaron for a while, and he loves his job.  I’ve met his boss and co-worker, and they’re cool guys.  AND… one of my very best friends in the whole world, Ted Hughes, is an application developer over there.  (Tangent:  I know what you’re thinking… I’m friends with an application developer?  I am.  He’s brilliant and awesome, and if I ever need to hide a body, he’s the guy I’m calling.  Partly because I know that he has a truck and proper tools, but also because I know he’d show up. Oh, and he writes good SQL.  That’s how we became friends in the first place.  :End Tangent)

Also, my poor husband got this text from me on Monday:  “Had an epiphany. Don’t love BI. Getting a new job.”  To his credit, he just said, “Do whatever you need to do to be happy”.  Yay, Jeremy.

Long story short, epiphany on Monday, interviewed, loved what I heard about the position, offered position, accepted position, turned in notice on Wednesday.  My last day at Key2 Consulting is June 14.  My first day at ista is June 20.  Yes, I’m taking 3 days off.  Mike, my new boss, will appreciate me not being a frazzled, stressed, overwhelmed mess on my first day.  I will probably hang on to 1 or 2 of those characteristics even with the time off, but I haven’t decided which yet. 

Key2 Consulting is the company I’m leaving.  I love this company.  I pursued Key2 when I started to look at a career in BI Consulting.  Brian Thomas is an amazing boss, and more importantly, an amazing person.  I have friends here that I’m sorry to leave.  I have no regrets about coming to work at Key2, and I’ve truly enjoyed being a part of this family.  But, I’m moving in one direction and Key2 is moving in another.  Loving the people you work with is important, but loving the work you’re doing is more so.  For anyone who IS passionate about BI, this is a quality group of people. 

I know what you’re thinking:  Okay Audrey, you got a new job.  Big whoop.  What’s your point?  I do have a point (actually a few).

What I’ve learned about my career and life in general

1) Don’t be afraid to try new directions.  Also don’t be afraid to admit when they haven’t panned out. 
2) If you’re unhappy where you’re at, try to change where you’re at.  If you can’t do that, find a new place to be.
3) Friends are so important.  My friends validated and supported what appeared on the surface to be an impulsive decision.  But, they’d listened to me over the past few months, and each one of them knew exactly what to say.  A couple of them even had opportunites to offer up. 
4) Forget career ladders and job titles.  Figure out what aspect of this crazy career choice of ours you love and go get paid to do it. 
5) Sometimes you just KNOW.  When you do, ACT.  This doesn’t just apply to our careers.  This applies to life in general.  How often do we feel certain about what to do next?  When one of those rare moments comes along, go with it.

To my friends who read my rambly, strange e-mail that Monday and responded with kindness and encouragement… Thank you.  You know who you are, and I hope you all know that you’re awesome.  Hugs all around.