Am I ill-suited or just burned out at my job?
May 31, 2012 5:38 PM   Subscribe

I have worked at the same company for the last 10 years. The longer I stay with this job, the more I wonder if my personality is not the best fit, or if I am simply burned out. Many details inside...

I currently work in the IT Security field, and hold a CISA, and soon, I'll also have a CISSP. I have about 16 years of IT experience. I take my work seriously, and I enjoy learning in my field. I used to be in a very technical position, but now do more business/documentation work with a technical bent. I do not like process/project management at all and actually find it stressful.

I am thinking about looking for a new position that might be a better fit for me, but I am not sure what I should be looking for or what I should really be doing. The things I enjoy about my job now include: writing documentation, it auditing/remediation, reviewing controls, baselines and developing recommendations for improvements to the infrastructure. I'd love to be more involved in pen testing/social engineering, as well as IT Security Plan development. It would be great if I could be on a team where I could help shape the overall security environment as well as maintain and improve it.

I like my job for the most part, but I feel that I've been there so long, and there is no room for me to go. I've had increasing levels of responsibility over the years, great reviews, and I believe that my department head is happy with my work. But I'm not, and I don't think I can shape what I want to do in the place I am right now. There are many legacy things I am responsible for and I'd like to shake the burden of such things to move myself forward.

Personality-wise, I tend to be more on the quiet, thoughtful side of the spectrum. I'm not the type of person who speaks a lot at work. I like to write my thoughts out, and come up with detailed solutions. I tend to be quiet in meetings, until I absorb all of the inputs and then develop my thoughts in e-mail or other written forms. I realize how this might make me seem to some people, but I do put a lot of thought into all the work I do, and the opinions I provide. In my personal life, I find I am happiest when I am taking care of people - helping them with a difficult problem, cooking dinner, or providing them with ways to do tasks faster and smarter. I like being given problems/puzzles and figuring them out.

All these pieces I feel should lead to some better fit in terms of my job. I live inside my head, so I am asking the smartypants of MeFi what they see in my question. What sort of job or path would you recommend for me?

Please note: I do not have a completed college degree yet. (I am working on it.) So please do not suggest any Masters programs or additional education. I am not eligible until I finish my B.A.

posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You could move away from support and leverage your Cisco certs by doing something like a CCDP and working on design?
posted by gjc at 7:36 PM on May 31, 2012

No real answers here, but I have a couple of questions for you:

Do you have any savings put by to where you could afford to be unemployed for a while?
Do you like the company where you work? If so, could you talk with your supervisor or HR about where you'd like to go with your career? If you're looking to move out of your company, would you be willing to stay there for a few months while doing a seriously active job search, or do you want out bad enough to quit? Would you be willing to relocate? Can you work with a recruitment agency? I assume you're private sector now--would you be willing to work civil service or non-profit?

I'd bet your personality is a good fit in your current position, but you're tired of the same routine and bored with your job. You sound like you know what you like to do, you just need to find a place to do what you like.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:41 PM on May 31, 2012

A company would hate to lose a valuable person without given a chance. Whatever road you decide, I would collect your thoughts and have a good/complete discussion with your department head or higher, maybe there is something coming along, perhaps there is a restructure that would work for you and the company, you could suggest something that makes good company and personal sense. See if there is something inside the system that will scratch your itch before moving on.
posted by njk at 5:27 AM on June 1, 2012

Have you ever considered going into business for yourself? I mention that because a lot of what you say resonates with me and formed the foundation of why I decided to go sole prop.

I was being funneled into a project management role that I found incredibly stressful, and was dealing with a lot of poorly planned legacy crap. I was also missing out on learning new things in my field (web development) as my role became less and less hands on. So, even though I considered myself somewhat of an office introvert and absolutely hated being put into any kind of leadership role, I decided to take the plunge.

In a way, doing this cured me of my introversion. I had to step up, run my own show, and court my own clients. Something about having full ownership of the project made all of that OK. I actually enjoy being the team lead on projects now and I love helping clients navigate through the process of designing and building a website, something I would not have been able to say three years ago.

If you like what you do at its core (and it sounds like you do), then maybe you just need to adjust how you do it and who you do it for? There are many small businesses out there that struggle with their IT infrastructure, and the problem solving opportunities would, I think, be many.

Anything you do in life runs the risk of becoming routine. But as a self employed person, I feel that I've managed to avoid that feeling of routine with a fairly steady stream of new business relationships and projects, supplemented by keeping learning in focus. Of course, YMMV, but I hope that wherever you end up, you wake up excited about what the day brings rather than dreading it. Good luck!
posted by missmobtown at 6:29 AM on June 1, 2012

« Older sustainability after death   |   Southern California in Winter - Carfree Travel Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.