Looks like I’ve joined the rat race


I started a new job last Monday. I’ve put off writing about it due to some initial uncertainties but I’ve come to the realisation that, whatever happens, taking it was definitely the right decision and a positive step forward.

I’d had an interview the week before – a very awkward affair involving going out for lunch with the three members of staff, before an interview back at the office during which I downplayed my skills on purpose in an effort not to get offered the job. Yeah, not sure what went wrong there either.. (And note to anyone in charge of conducting interviews: Having lunch with applicants, no matter how well-intentioned, is definitely not the best way to relax a potential employee before an interview.)

This is really what inspired my last, rather drastic, post about emotion/fear versus intuition. My intuition told me I didn’t feel very comfortable with the people, and I was coming up with all sorts of reasons why this job was another wrong choice and I should do something totally different, but after giving myself some time to think I realised that it was my emotions talking and I had nothing to lose. They wanted me to start straight away and said I can give it a try for a few months and see how it goes – the perfect offer for a commitment-phobe like me!

Before I started I was thinking that I’d do it for two months and that would be it – I’d carry on looking for the ‘right’ job and this was just another good bit of experience, but just over a week in and, dare I say it, it’s actually going quite well so far.

I dislike the 9 to 5, but I don’t yet dread it. There are some things that could be better about the job, but there are many things that could be a lot worse. It’s informal, there’s variety, and it relates to some of my interests (and there’s no uniform! Though sadly no working from home in my pajamas either).

One thing that really does scare me though is how fast a working week passes. And how much faster the weekend goes. I can see how easy it would be to get stuck in a full time job, feeling like there’s no time to look for alternatives and gain other experience, and letting the weeks, months, even years, speed by. But I’m determined not to let that happen. This job is just the start.

10 comments on “Looks like I’ve joined the rat race

  1. Congratulations on your new job! It is so hard to sort out whether it was your intuition or your fears telling you not to take the position, but as long as you always remember you CAN leave, then, as you said, there’s nothing to lose. There is always the risk of inertia, but you seem way too self-aware and thoughtful to let that happen. Be sure not to do what a few of my former students did: against their truest desires, they went to work in finance after college and soon realized they were miserable. But they’d already created a whole lifestyle around their income and their professional connections so they were unable to get back into a field they loved. (Well, until the financial crash, which forced their hand! Probably for the best!) Best wishes with this new position – I look forward to hearing how you like it over time!

    • Thank you! You’re completely right that I need to remember I can leave at any time, I often have a misplaced sense of loyalty to companies. Very good advice about not building a lifestyle around a career you dislike – money definitely isn’t the most important thing to me right now, by a long way, and I want it to stay like that! (I’m sure the financial crisis gave quite a few people a much-needed reason to rethink their careers!)

  2. emilysteezy says:

    Congrats! It’s ok if it’s not the perfect position for you, provided that you’re learning something from it. Focus on the good things that you’re getting out of it, and how you can leverage those for your next step!

  3. Well, I hope the job helps you pay a few bills. That’s why most people work. Expression of personality often comes a very poor 43rd in the reasons why most people have a particular job: more’s the pity. I agree the lunch idea seems well intentioned madness

  4. Lauren says:

    Congrats on the job! And if it’s not something you love, keep looking. It’s so easy to get comfortable in a position; the weeks do go by really quickly. But if after a few months you’ve realized it’s not a good use of your skills or not a good fit, don’t settle!

    My current job isn’t one I’m crazy about, It isn’t very challenging and I don’t see any room for growth. It’s a nice bill-payer, but not much else. All of the positions I find myself applying for look like they involve more work for a lower salary, but at this point in my life I’d rather do something fulfilling than something that just pays off my student loans.

    Good luck with everything–I hope you find what you’re looking for!

    • Thanks! I really appreciate your encouragement to keep searching. Sometimes I feel like everyone just wants me to settle for anything and make do, and I feel guilty for wanting more than that. I’m glad I took this job on a kind of two month trial – means I can give it a good try but not feel too bad moving on if it’s not a good fit after that.

      Fulfillment really is so much more important than money, but it seems to be a lot harder to find! Right now all I want is a job I’m happy in and that’s meaningful to me – moneywise I’d be happy just breaking even. If extra work is enjoyable it definitely sounds like it’s worth a pay cut. I really hope everything works out for you too and you find the fulfilling job you’re looking for :)

  5. ryanbalboa says:

    One of my mentor managers at where I used to work suggested that I keep a list of the top 10 things that were important to me in my life and career, with a ‘satisfaction scale’ ranging from 1-10 next to them.

    Every 6 months (roughly when performance reviews and stuff were) she’d get me to fill out the list, and compare the list I filled out from last time. I find that it really put things into perspective for me, and framed my emotions in a more objective, logical way (btw, it also helped me convince myself logically that it was time to move on). Best of luck to you and hope you find what you’re looking for! :)

    • This is a great idea and one that I’ll be taking up – thanks for sharing.

      I’ve been trying to write down the things I liked and disliked about all the different sorts of work I’ve done in the past to work out what’s most important to me. I could definitely do with framing my emotions in a more logical way so the idea of a top 10 with satisfaction ratings is really useful.

      And thank you, hopefully I’m slowly getting there!

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