The seven-year itch: Should I stay or should I go?

January 10, 2008

marilynmonroe.jpgMany bloggers are posting their resolutions this time of year.

I’m skipping that ritual, but after reading Tom Johnson’s post today on lists, I had to rise to the occasion and enumerate something.

According to Tom, the best formula is an attention-grabbing topic and image (enter Marilyn Monroe stage left), a common problem, and proposed list of solutions.

Here goes:

I’ve been working at the same place for over 7 years. That’s not much in “gray flannel suit” years, but it equals close to 25 in “the world is flat” years. (“And 49 in dog years!” says Abby.)

The career advice columnists warn about getting stale if you stay in one job too long. Is it time to move on or should I work at pumping some excitement back into my current job? If I decide to leave, what do I need to do to prepare?

Hence, two lists with 5 (a magical number) suggestions.

5 ways to rekindle the fire

  1. Look ahead.
    Don’t dwell on the “old days” because they are gone.
  2. Build new relationships with people at your workplace who inspire you.
    (Hint: No one inspires you? It’s time to leave.)
  3. Leverage your seniority.
    In many cases, higher seniority workers have greater value because of their tacit knowledge. Chances are, your management wants to keep you and will respond to reasonable demands. At last year’s performance evaluation, I asked for an office with a window. Bingo! Let the sun shine in.
  4. Move into a different role.
    You can combine of the advantages of getting a whole new job—different kinds of work, new challenges, new coworkers, new boss—with the advantages of staying on—knowing where the skeletons are hidden, who the go-to people are, and who’s got the best candy jar.
  5. Move out of or into management.
    Sometimes managers like where they work, but they just don’t like the hassles of being a manager. Likewise, some worker bees are yearning to move up out of the trenches. In most cases, moving out is easier to achieve than moving in.

5 steps to breaking out

  1. Update your resume. (Duh!)
  2. Put your resume out there.
    Post it on,,, etc.
  3. Apply for a job you are not quite qualified for just to practice selling yourself.
    You may be surprised and get an offer.
  4. Follow the job listings so you know what employers are looking for.
    Try some new keywords in your job search that describe what you’d like to do.
  5. Make up your dream job, then get someone to hire you to do it.
    Sounds crazy, but that’s exactly the message in the Bible on career change What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles. It was first published in the early 70s and has been updated yearly ever since.

Other suggestions in either category??


When we last left our hero . . .

November 6, 2007

. . . she had fallen off the blogging horse and went missing in the wilderness for forty days.

We’re happy to report that she is back in the saddle!

I was so overwhelmed with work and personal stuff recently that my blogging suffered and I shamefully neglected reading my favorite tech comm bloggers except for the occasional peek at what Tom Johnson was up to.

In September and October I was traveling every other week to deliver training at power plants. My trainees were shift workers, so our classes were held at 6 and 6:30 in the morning. A couple of the plants were in remote corners of Maryland, so my wakeup call was at 4:30 and I had to be on the road by 5:30 am. Training sessions were 1 1/2 or 2 hours long with 1/2 an hour breaks  in between. Lunch was brought in and then we kept on going until the night shift guys came in at 4:30 pm. After a day like that, all I wanted to do was have a glass of wine, grab a dose of comfort food for dinner, and hit the sack.

Add to all of that the unpleasant experience of being herded through the Hartsfield-Jackson security lines (don’t forget to take off your shoes!), jittery nerves during turbulent flights, unexpected delays, and being away from my loved ones. Boo-hoo.

Not surprisingly, when my last trip ended, I came down with an ear and bronchitis that knocked me out for a full week.

In the meantime, Steve and I decided to move out of the apartment we’d been living in since 1999. We bought a house and moved in last Friday. In between trips out of town, I was madly packing while trying to find time to do the fun stuff like picking out a refrigerator, washer, dryer, couch, etc. The movers pulled up to the apartment just as I was emerging from the fog of affliction. It took 8 hours to move all the stuff and another four days to clear out the jetsam and flotsam in the apartment that we failed to pack or decided to toss. Argh!

We’re now happily unpacking in our wonderful house. Abby is adjusting well to her new surroundings and getting to know the dogs in the neighborhood.

As we set up our new appliances and began to learn how to use them, I was reminded of my earlier defense of the manual and the ongoing need for good user documentation for mechanical things. I figured I’d better get back to my blog. Over the next few days I’ll also troll through my aggregator to see what the others are writing about that may need the benefit of my comments and opinions.

As you might know, I’ve missed out on a lot of STC activities lately, but I’m off to the Atlanta Council meeting tonight to see what’s up with the chapter and humbly offer my volunteer services once more.