We Walked to School Uphill Both Ways

26 Jul

Quitting my job as an email marketer was the easiest and hardest decision I’ve ever made. It wasn’t a fit; I knew that. But I, with my pride and blue-collar roots, felt like I had quit too soon. Recalling all those “we used to walk to school uphill both ways” conversations my parents and grandparents told, here I was ending a job just a month after it began.

Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself blessed to the umpteenth degree. I have a supportive family, my education is something I wouldn’t trade in for anything, I have a roof over my head and I live in the great U.S. of A. where opportunities abound. With those blessings in tow, I never take employment for granted, especially with the recent economic downturn that has crippled so many.

However, I also abide by the motto “Don’t bother changing things that won’t give into changing” (that’s also a lyric from one of my favorite Blue October songs). At the end of the day, the job was what it was, and I didn’t see that changing. I also felt that my 21 years of schooling, $18,000-a-year college tuition and 10 years of work experience should yield a job that I could fancy myself in for the long term.

You should know that my decision to quit was helped along by two competing job offers. Typically, my life is an empty abyss when it comes to good news. When someone tells me something encouraging or positive, I usually have to stop and ask, “Wait, what? You’re meant to say that to me, right?”

Never could I have imagined two positives happening simultaneously. Rather, it’s usually the opposite effect, and I’m the victim of “when it rains, it pours.” So you understand my indecision when two companies approached me within days of one another; I wanted to make the smart move, the wise choice, because opportunities like this only come around like snow falling on a Texas Christmas (that means rarely).

One job was for a law firm, managing its Web content and SEO strategy. The firm was growing its marketing program and had become very reputable, but its online presence was laughable (contrary to popular opinion, lawyers can’t do everything, and they certainly aren’t marketers). My job would be to restore its Web presence to glory. Choosing that job would allow me to remain in Milwaukee for the foreseeable future, while remaining within driving distance of my family in Northeast Wisconsin. After several salary counteroffers, the firm and I finally reached a compromise that worked for us both; I wanted that job.

The competing job was a content manager for a company specializing in mobile advertising. This company was a small start-up that had received a new round of venture-capital funding and, presently speaking, could very well be on its way to a major buyout.

If you don’t know anything about start-ups, they can be stressful and exciting at the same time. They come with major growing pains and few processes in place. For example, when most people go to work in the morning, they have a multistep plan for completing a project; it’s likely always been that way, with occasional modifications along the way. With a start-up, YOU are creating the processes, the plan, how the project is moved from Point A to Point B.

At the same time, the excitement of being part of something new can often override the growing pains. It takes a lot of work, but the end results justify the journey. Like raising a child (or so I’ve been told), there are moments — years even — that leave parents bewildered and waving the white flag. (C’mon, we were all jerks during the terrible twos and teenage years.) In the end, though, developing and nurturing a child from infancy to mature adulthood comes with a sense of fulfillment, accomplishment and appreciation.

This job offer came to fruition when my former boss (from the marketing agency where I worked previously) approached me in summer 2011, with our solid working relationship still fresh in her mind. We had kept in touch after the agency closed its doors for good that fateful day in April. She had heard that I was unhappy in my recent role, despite it only being a month. After several conversations with her, she convinced me that this job could be a life changer. Was I ready to change my life? Well…

The company was hot. On the verge. Innovative. Emerging.

The perks were plentiful.

The people were the best: a collection of industry leaders.

The opportunity could catapult my career forward.

The job was everything I wanted.

The location: New York City.


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Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Career


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