Help me logic finding a new job
August 23, 2018 11:50 AM   Subscribe

YANM career coach, but I would really appreciate advice on finding a new job in a way that makes most sense and will not jeopardize my future career. Other factors: relocation, the job hopping fear, am I entry level?, and going from miserable to job to another.

I wrote this question a little while ago and now I can definitely articulate why I'm not happy at my job thanks to you all. I'll be at my job for 1.5 years now and I'm still just as miserable. I have taken vacation since but I still literally dread going into work. And then have a cloud over my head for the rest of the day. I'm trying my best to continue to do a good job and do my best, but I'm feeling the desperation creep in as I want to jump ship. I have been able to convince myself through therapy that it is OK to find another job that is better suited to me and I won't be a Terrible Job Hopper and I won't let everyone down.

I have applied and interviewed for a few other jobs. I have tried to be picky with choosing jobs to apply to because I didn't want to make the same mistake with my current job and end up in a miserable place (though I realize that I could ask all the right questions of the company and still end up not knowing the future.) One company offered me a job, but I had a terrible gut feeling about them, and turned it down. They still reach out to me from time to time. Another offered me one, but the salary offer turned out to be much, much less than I was making currently. Otherwise, I haven't heard back from the other jobs I've applied or interviewed with.

I'm discouraged that I haven't been able to find another job that I would like after a few months of job searching, and am wondering if I was a dummy to not take the first out with the other job offers. I figure it would look better on my resume to have two years worth of experience at a job I dislike than 1.5 years and 6 months at another company? I also avidly read Ask A Manager and read this post, which makes me believe I should've just taken one of those two job offers even if I wasn't very excited about them. On the other hand, Ask A Manager has beaten the fear of Job Hopping in me.

As much as I dread my job, I am still functioning and think I can make it to two years if I have to. I am trying my best to force myself to take vacation days, even just 1-2 days here and there, to keep me sane. I still really like my coworkers, and do get a lot of PTO, so there is that. My main goal is of course to find another job that I hopefully will stay in happily for 2+ years, but I am also looking to relocate to be closer to my partner, who lives in another state. I think this would increase my quality of life, and it doesn't hurt that the other city is really walkable and has a more laid-back culture.

My area of expertise is teapots (let's pretend) and with teapots, I can make tea in schools (like I do now), or make tea in hospitals (which I did before and really hope to avoid), or in other industries or the government. It's a somewhat versatile degree in regards to teapots. While this is my first "real job" outside of school, I did finish my master's degree to earn another credential/licensure that opens the doors to other jobs. I had to complete 2 years worth of field experience/internships during that period (which were a semester to 6 months long in different tea making areas.) After that, I worked as a tea maker in a hospital for four months because I needed money, but found this "dream job" that I'm currently working for which turned out to not be quite the dream.

I have learned that venting my concerns to my parents really exacerbate my anxiety about the whole situation. My father is convinced that I will never find a job I'm satisfied with (he has had the same job for...decades) and my parents constantly compares myself to themselves. ("I just don't see you making as much money or success as me with all your waffling. Choose a job and stick with it. You've got to be excellent, do you hear me? We (as in, as a brown woman) have a lot to prove.") I'm constantly comparing myself to my peers who seem to be doing amazing things in their career (we're all about 25-26, and one ended up on a 30 under 30 list, which is amazing! I feel like I'm behind.)

I just want some career advice from other adults who aren't my family, or Ask A Manager, or my extremely successful peers.

So here are my career related questions...

- If my goal is to relocate and find a new job by June 2019, would it make sense to focus on finding a job in New City only? For instance, I sometimes see interesting jobs pop up in my current city, but stop myself because I don't want to "hop" from that job, to another job in New City, when I could stick to my current job and have one less job to leave when I find something in New City.

-Jobs in teapots in New City are not super abundant at this time. Jobs that do pop up are making tea in hospitals (which I don't enjoy at all). However, I feel like having a job in New City gives me an advantage to find another job in New City down the line. Would you apply to a job you don't like too much/aren't particularly super skilled in just so you could move?

-When applying to jobs, should I consider myself entry level? In my anxious, imposter syndrome mind, I feel like I am because I only have about 2 years of full-time paid experience. However, I have a paid part-time job experience, a paid fellowship, and nearly 3 years of unpaid internships that were completed while in school. My brain tells me that I shouldn't count those unpaid internships because they were...unpaid. And not while I was in the adult working world. Sometimes I think I'm selling myself short but maybe I'm just being a realist? I know I probably shouldn't apply for a director position, but I'm trying to psyche myself up to apply for positions I may be qualified for.

-Lastly, I'm trying to switch out of my role of tea pot educator in schools because I don't think youth audiences are a good fit for me. I do have other experiences outside of youth, but with almost two years of youth experience, does this mean I've somehow pigeon holed myself to youth? One interviewer gave me that impression. I want to try other parts of the field (besides the hospital...) but I'm afraid that because I have never been paid to work in the different parts of the field, I won't have the chance to get another job outside of what I currently do. I'm trying to attend webinars/conferences and read up on those areas I have less paid professional experience in, but I'm not sure that even matters to employers.

It's a long post, but thank you in advance.
posted by socky bottoms to Work & Money (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
you should be looking for a job in the city where your partner is. the idea being that you will be happy being with your partner, and thus maybe not loving your job won't matter quite as much. apply for jobs you don't think you're qualified for (within reason). apply for jobs outside of your field if they sound interesting and you could do them. if you're gonna change jobs anyway, no reason to stay in a place where your partner isnt.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:01 PM on August 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

Are you able to make your tea remotely? If so, a remote job/telecommute is an easy way to transition between cities. Get the new remote job now, move, and stay at the remote job in the new city until it's time to start looking again, at which point you can look in the new city exclusively.

As for considering yourself "entry-level", it doesn't really matter what you consider yourself. What matters is what a hiring manager considers you, and usually they'll spell out what they mean by "entry-level" or "experienced" in the job description. If the job calls for a minimum of two years of experience, you have that. Minimum of five years, maybe not. But really, I don't think anyone should ever use "entry-level" to describe themselves. It's pretty horrible.

It's hard for me to believe that you're pigeonholing yourself after only a couple years. Your job would have to be pretty highly specialized for you to be stuck in one track. (Like, it would be difficult to switch from teaching kindergarten to teaching high school, yeah. But not difficult at all to switch from coding in Java to coding in Python.)

Job hopping, in general, is overblown as a concern. In a span of four years a little while ago, I was employed at seven different places (none concurrently). Where I've seen concern from hiring managers I've worked with about job hopping is when the applicant is overqualified for the job they applied for. Like, if you've got a master's degree and a few years of experience, but you're applying for a part-time call center position, it might raise an eyebrow. But that's not because of your previous job hopping; it's because they don't think you'd be challenged enough at this position to stay very long.
posted by kevinbelt at 1:58 PM on August 23, 2018

I wouldn't consider you entry level. I'd say that (about) two years experience makes you a junior employee in the teapots field but it's also about the time I'd expect you to move on/up if that's what you wanted. A traditional time to move to your second job, one that asks for 2-3 years experience and isn't interested in training up a complete newbie.

As for job hopping, some people are biased against those who've had a lot of jobs, but my anecdotal experience as a hiring manager is that some of my colleagues feel that people who've had a number of jobs that have lasted X years is likely to leave in X years (but that doesn't mean they won't hire them if X is a suitable number) but they're not usually bothered by a mix of short term and longer term jobs. I've seen more bias against people who've been with the same organisation for a decade.
posted by plonkee at 2:59 PM on August 23, 2018

You need to decide whether moving to the same town as your partner will be the point of your next step, or moving to— say, teapots in industry— will be your goal. It will continue to be difficult to decide if you don’t have a clear goal. Your goal doesn’t have to be right forever, and you may change your mind again in 1.5 years— it doesn’t matter. But if you want to clearly decide, you need to aim at something.

To echo what was said above, job hopping is an overrated concern— especially in the young. And stop comparing yourself to your peers, it’s not relevant and not helpful. (And I would definitely not position myself as entry level, if I were you. You are a qualified teapot expert with years of solid experience in youth. You may be willing to step down to entry level to focus on industry teapots, but you expect that to be seriously temporary.)
posted by frumiousb at 3:47 PM on August 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

My main goal is of course to find another job that I hopefully will stay in happily for 2+ years, but I am also looking to relocate to be closer to my partner, who lives in another state. I think this would increase my quality of life, and it doesn't hurt that the other city is really walkable and has a more laid-back culture.

That sounds lovely. Do that. In fact, rather than defining a goal of “another job” make the framework the goal. Like, I need to save every extra penny from this job to make the transition to partner’s city. Look at your current job as a means to that end and also double down on any tasks or skills that you enjoy and that will position you well for your next job or, at least, make great interview patter. Start shopping for a new place in partner’s city. Will you live together? Start working on that. Go for a visit and use it as a way to get to know the new spot. Try to line up some interviews for while you are there. Moving to a new city, “Because my partner is here and I’ve fallen in love with the area!” is a top-notch shield for the job hopper.

You aren’t “entry level.” Fuck that. You are skilled at X, you are interested in Y, and you are looking first for “great people to work with” doing what you are interested in doing and second “in this fantastic town.”

You can do it!
posted by amanda at 6:18 AM on August 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

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