What should I do with my career
December 11, 2012 6:27 PM Subscribe
I have a pretty successful career but still feel like a fraud. I would like to change that, NOW.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I have a pretty successful career as a tech worker in the smartphone industry. I joined it way before it was cool, so I rode all the growth wave and found myself sitting at a Sr. Manager position at 33 years old, with a nice salary and benefits. So far, nothing wrong, right? Wrong.
Despite being able to save some money and have a decently comfortable lifestyle, I feel like a massive fraud. Why? Well, let's say I'm a Jack of all Trades, first and foremost. I can code, manage people (glowing reviews from my former employees), projects, stick to a budget, save the company money, make the company (some) money. But the raw truth is that when I look at the big picture, I don't think the work I do matters.
I work in a support, "nice-to-have" area. It does not have to make a profit, and even when it does, it is minimum. I run the area well, but every day I look at other people on the same salary level, and they are working their asses off, and their work directly affects the company's bottom line. I envy them; I feel like they look at me and think "look at the cute guy, playing manager of a fluffy area!"; I feel ashamed. Currently, my work is essentially organize events for software developers so they develop on my company's software platform. That has been successful, and I have the numbers to prove it, but it is far from being a critical area for the company.
"So what?", you may think. "It's a good job with great pay and regular hours. What are you talking about?". I am not an idealist, I know that if companies could pay me minimum wage and have me work 80hs/week they would. I am concerned about myself here. By leading a "fluff" area I am constantly afraid I'm going to be exposed as a fraud, as someone with no special skills, and when the time comes that I have to look for another job, I will be joining the ranks of unemployment for a long time.
I constantly think about specializing in one hard skill area so I can escape the trap, but I can't make up my mind. An MSc in Comp-Sci would give the tools to fallback to being a coder if everything goes to hell; an MBA could help me become more of a business guy.
Being able to solve complex problems is what will guarantee me a job when I get older. What I cannot seem to do is decide what I should do next. I read site after site on the Internet and apparently every job market is shit, so I feel any decision I make will be just as bad.
I'm not looking for a surefire "solution" here, just a few pointers. I need to do something relevant, complex, and important. How to break out of the comfort zone, do a job that matters, and stay relevant in such a competitive job market keep awake every single night.