Monday, March 17, 2008

Selling Myself Short?

So, I've been noodling some more this weekend and last night, just before I drifted off to sleep, I had an epiphany.

Here's the thing: Until I'm in a position to open my own flower shop, I want to get back into publishing. I'm willing to start again as a managing editor and work my way up. I'm even willing to take a $10K pay cut to get back into a line of work I really enjoyed, was successful in, and performed well in.

The part about taking a step down in title doesn't bother me as much as the step down in salary, which is what led me to noodle. I've worked really hard to get where I am in terms of responsibility and pay, so why should I take a step down?

That's when I had the epiphany: I'm selling myself short.

At least, I think I am.

The fact is, I've had very positive experiences as a manager and supervisor, as well as positive feedback on my leadership and mentoring abilities. That, in itself, ought to be worth something. Yes, I still want to be part of the creative process, but I'd also like to be part of positive leadership. Is it possible to do both in a non-floral setting?

I don't want to sell myself short. At the same time, I'm not interested in a repeat of the last three jobs I've had.

The pros of working as managing editor again are:

  • I'd get to be part of a creative process.
  • I'd get to produce something that has a tangible quality.
  • I'm part of a process that has a clear beginning and an absolute end.

The cons are:

  • I'd have to answer to someone who could end up being a psycho, a prick, a control freak, or all of the above.
  • Any leadership skills I might exhibit could be misconstrued as me either not doing my job or attempting to take over the bosses job. Neither scenario is desirable.

I could make similar lists for management type positions, but the important point here is, while I'm willing to take a step down, it doesn't mean that I should simply do so for the sake of getting back into the thing I enjoy doing professionally. Surely I can do both--be a part of the creative/publishing process again and use and build on my leadership and mentoring skills.

Or am I wrong?


Cele said...

My thoughts on this are non-applicable because I do not walk in your shoes, live your life, or answer to you at the end of each day. But my friend I will say...

Do what makes your heart sing. Money is little compensation when you are not happy and soon craving to fly away in frustration and anger.

Fingers crossed for you.

Adriana Velez said...

Yeah, that's a tricky spot. I think it really does come down to the gut feeling you get from the people you interview with.

As for worrying about how strong leadership comes across, maybe you could state that early on in the interview process -- I like to lead! I am decisive! Collaboration is imperative, but someone has to define the goals and make sure those goals are met! I'm sure a career coach could help you figure out the wording, but you get the idea. That way your future employer knows what she's getting herself into.

But that's assuming your future employers can be honest with you and themselves. Chances are the kind of boss who can't take decisive leadership in an employee isn't going to admit as much to herself or you.

Hrm, sorry I'm not more helpful. Um, flower shop now? I'm telling you, people are clamoring for organic flowers! Come on up to Park Slope -- you'll make a killing!

Di said...

I see no reason why you can't do what you're interested in AND manage a team of people. That is exactly what I used to do. Go for it!!

Organic flowers, eh? Never even occurred to me, but it sounds cool.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Cele: You're right. Money doesn't buy happiness and I should make sure that whatever I do, I'm happy doing it. I'm tired of frustration and anger.

Adriana: You're right, too. I've failed to point out, when I interview, that I have leadership skills and I like to lead and mentor. As a result, when I've exhibited those skills in the past, they've been perceived as a threat to my bosses. Thank you for that observation. Note to self: Be sure to mention ability to lead and mentor up front!

Di: You're also right! I've been looking at this as an either/or when, in fact, it isn't. I can do both and enjoy both.

Thank you, Cele, Adriana, and Di. I'm going to email my career counselor right now and share my thoughts.

林依晨Amber said...