Is it me or my job?
February 6, 2013 6:41 PM   Subscribe

I recently began my first job six months ago at a creative agency. Now, I'm unsure if I should continue.

It was, by far, my dream job and I truly connected with my boss. He is young, hip, and very direct. My main objective at work was to execute and oversee a summer design lab. My organization focuses on graphic design recruitment, whereas our partner organization oversees a web design component. We select many of our employees from this internship program. Approximately two weeks ago, my company decided not to host the graphic designers. Rather, both designers and programmers will collaborate closely with the other company.

I subsequently began working with the other organization under new management. There are a lot more side projects and mundane tasks that my new boss expects me to contribute to. He is less direct, and I truly feel misguided. I have tried to sit down and discuss these issues, but he deflects the responsibility and refers me to someone else. Since the transition,:

-my recruitment strategy shifted from university students to semi-professionals (mid-level designers seeking new careers);
-my main project (that I spent 3 months planning) is now overlooked;
-I have a logistics/secretarial role.

I didn't sign up for this, and I'm unsure how to navigate this system. I feel like the more I address my concern of flailing, the less my voice is heard.

To be fair, both jobs are cushy (with decent pay) and the staff are friendly...but I no longer have the chance to build my portfolio and significantly contribute to a cause I deeply value.

So I will ask this: Is it me or my job? Am I being entitled and whiny? What are potential next steps?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, it's a pretty clear-cut case of signing up for one thing, and getting a different thing. To me that's a breach of contract, so it's definitely not "You". It's "Them". Line up another job and wave goodbye!
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 6:46 PM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Is it me or my job?

It's your job – it changed out from under you.

Am I being entitled and whiny?

You would be whiny if you insisted this was a worse problem than, say, not being able to get a job at all. You probably recognize where you stand. So, there's nothing wrong with trying fix something that's bothering you. Everyone has problems no matter where they are in life and will try to solve them.

What are potential next steps?

Start looking for other jobs. It could turn out that not much is available in which case, you should stay working while looking out for other jobs and handicap your judgment of your work by the fact that you have to guess at direction. If something doesn't go right because they gave you too much to do or didn't give you enough information, don't sweat it.
posted by ignignokt at 6:49 PM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Do you want to get paid? If not move on. If so ...
-your recruitment strategy betrays a deeper truth, the mid level designers should be assumed to have once been students as well and obviously want work.
- don't let affection for your main project interfere with your job security.

Do you want to work in this environment is the question, that "mid level designers" are looking for jobs that you want grads to do should give you a clue as to the nature of whatever business you are in.
posted by Max Power at 6:55 PM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ouch. Doesn't sound like what you set out to do and the reality of the job match up.

Without being familiar with this world-- and at all, I barely understood the workflow described here-- it seems like there are many things to be disappointed by. Your project, totally ignored? Your role, demoted? Ouch.

I would not take it personally if there are financial considerations behind the project you worked hard in being "cancelled," which in this economy, there probably are. But I guess your question in the title (me or the job) is harder to answer. Your feelings are your feelings. They can not be right or wrong and if you feel you are destined for bigger things or are stagnating, there is no justification from the company, or salary, that can make your feelings wrong.

However, you speak so positively about your boss (in the beginning) and the pay, that it seems that in a way you are ambivalent. I would seek advice from someone in the creative field you are in about how to keep building your portfolio, and if it's not working then why not have an open conversation about these issues at work, or move on?
posted by kettleoffish at 7:09 PM on February 6, 2013

It's your job. Seek out another job that allows you to do what you want to do.
posted by heyjude at 7:16 PM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

So I will ask this: Is it me or my job? Am I being entitled and whiny? What are potential next steps?

Usually I tell people in their first job that they have to stick out until they get to the year mark, but this is a rare case where it is definitely your job and I give you my permission (which I know you were waiting for) to move on. Start looking for something else, and if people ask why you are leaving, you can just say, "My department was merged with another department in the organization, and my job description moved away from its original parameters. I'm really excited to be in a position where I focus on [things you actually enjoy]."

Realistically, it might take you six months to find something else and so then you can just say you feel ready to move on or some other nice sounding thing.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:24 PM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Echoing above. But do not leave until you have something else lined up!
posted by radioamy at 8:18 PM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


1. Does your current job (different from the one you signed up for) open an opportunities for you? Would it in any way benefit you to stick it out for a year to get the experience before waving goodbye?

2. Are you reasonably able to perform your work duties, despite the undesirable aspects of the job? Are you capable of being effective in your present position?

Basically, so you ended up in this position you didn't expect to be in. Does this position coincidentally benefit you somehow? and are you able to put up with it temporarily? Try to gauge when you should leave given the reality of your situation.
posted by deathpanels at 8:48 PM on February 6, 2013

Here's the thing. The earlier you learn it the happier you will be in your work.

Work for yourself, not a company.

The problem with ANY work situation is that no matter what, it will change. If you are miserable, if you wait long enough, something will happen and it will become great. If you're happy as a lark, you'll come in one day and find yourself working for Stalin. It happens.

You need to weigh the realities of your new situation against the realities of a potential change in jobs.

1. Is this a temporary thing, or have I just been moved into a completely different job that I wouldn't EVER want to do?

Right now, I've been re-org-ed and my job is completly adrift. I was asked in my review yesterday, "What are your goals for this year?" I answered, "I have no idea, there has been no information communitated to me about what I might be doing in the new organization, so for now, keep doing what I need to do and hanging loose." In reality, I'm interviewing for new jobs.

2. What are my chances of getting a better job?

This is where you have luxury. You're not desperate for a new gig, so you can explore your options and really choose your next job.

So no, don't just quit to quit, but start working on your exit strategy. Life is too short to spend your workdays unhappy, but it's also too short to be unemployed and poor if you don't have to be.

You should be loyal to yourself first, and to your company...about twentieth.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:13 AM on February 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

No, you are not whiny. Sounds like you were the (perhaps unintentional) victim of a bait-and-switch. I agree with everyone that it is time to start looking for another job. In the meantime, try to focus on the things you enjoy in your current position, and keep a positive attitude so they will give you a good reference when you move on.
posted by rpfields at 9:58 AM on February 7, 2013

This has been my experience (both directly and by way of friends and associates) of creative agencies. They trade on cool, expecting that factor to make up for potential shortcomings that may include poor pay, crazy hours, and a distinct lack of process and business management. This isn't you, it's (in my opinion) a problem endemic to agency work.

If you've tried to address it with your boss and failed, see if you can find a new project to attach yourself to - often there's more mobility in that respect in agency-world. If not, start job hunting stat, and consider if this environment is for you.
posted by canine epigram at 1:57 PM on February 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older Removing Diatomaceous Earth from...papers (and my...   |   Best way to designate who will handle an... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.