I made it big time! But I was happier with small time.
April 2, 2013 1:05 PM   Subscribe

I have a great job... for someone. But it's not a good fit for me, and I need to change things around to make my life a little simpler. I'm looking for advice on how to do that. Details below!

I'm a creative executive, and I have a great salary, and my job looks awesome on my resume. But I'm miserable. There's very little that's "creative" about my role. My boss wants me to be someone I not, and I don't like that someone. My job's taking over my life, and I have this sense that I'm not on the right track. I have other career dreams that I'm following on the side. That career does generate some income for me, but it can't support me just yet. It's what I love to do, though, and I feel like it's slipping out of my fingers as my day job takes up more and more of my time.

So, I'm trying to figure out what to do next. Options I'm considering:

1. Freelance (graphic design or content writing). Problem: I don't know how to get new clients. I'm terrible at networking.
2. Take a step back and find a much easier job. I don't need a fancy title and would happily live on less money. Problem? When I've tried to do this in the past, potential employers have expressed concern that I was overqualified and would get bored and quit.
3. Work part time or telecommute. Problem: I don't know how to find jobs like these. It's not an option with my current employer.

Does anyone have any advice on what to do next or how to overcome the obstacles in my options? Any options I haven't thought of?

Friends I've spoken to about this have all either said "You're crazy! Why would you give up that position?" or "Run! Quit right now. It'll all work out somehow." In the former case, money just isn't everything to me. In the latter case, I don't have enough faith that everything will work out, and I do need some money to live!
posted by Gee, June! to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
You need to find a recruiter who works within your industry and will listen to your job goals. There are ways of downsizing your career without running into the "overqualified" block and/or striking out on your own.

You could also see if you could move laterally/down within your current organization. Even contracting with your own company might work, if you performed many of your current responsibilities without the executive status. Is there someone within your company who you could talk to about this?
posted by xingcat at 1:13 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd look for another job in another organization as well. I've done this by dumbing-down my resume.

If you have the title of Executive Director of Strategy and Marketing, but what you really want to do is put out the company news letter, just change your title. Go with something like, Marketing Director-Corporate Communications.

Now, the Corporate Communications would have been incorporated within your previous title, but now you've explicitly tailored it to the job you want.

You may have a treasure trove of skills and experience, only highlight those that are relevant to the job you want.

When I was laid off from my job as a Sales Engineer, I had a few different versions of my resume:

Sales Operations Administrator
Executive Assistant
High Technology Sales Executive

I pretty much just cut and pasted the resume to fit the title of the job I wanted.

What I KNEW with certainty was that I wasn't going to find a job doing what I had been doing, and so I needed to branch out.

I did get a job working in Sales Operations and I learned a nifty piece of software, which now makes me Queen of the Data!

You can DO this!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:36 PM on April 2, 2013

One option: Look for a service or middleman to help hook you up with more freelance work. There are online services for that and probably other options I am not familiar with. Doing freelance does not necessarily mean doing your own marketing.
posted by Michele in California at 1:51 PM on April 2, 2013

If you're corporate now, would your skills be applicable in the non-profit sector? Sometimes nonprofits provide a better work-life balance (though sometimes they expect your commitment to their cause to drive you to work ridiculous hours, so do be wary of that), and if you have side work or volunteer work or hobbies that are in line with an organization's mission, you would not be dismissed out of hand as a candidate. You still might have some convincing to do around being willing to accept a salary cut, and it could be that the reduction in salary might be too deep to be worth it to you, but it might be worth exploring.
posted by EvaDestruction at 2:18 PM on April 2, 2013

Consider teaching students or organizing courses or workshops for senior creatives. Your knowledge is valuable and you could do this part time.
posted by ouke at 4:27 PM on April 2, 2013

Is the problem the role or the boss? Perhaps with a different boss, your title would mean something totally different and you could be doing the creative work that you enjoy. I wouldn't give up the fancy title or salary so quickly if you could make further changes to the position. Can you talk to HR or the CEO or whomever might be able to help you structure a different role?
posted by 3491again at 5:19 PM on May 13, 2013

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