For those who have been following on Twitter, work lately has been incredibly crazy. Within a matter of a few weeks, I have a new boss and a completely new organizational structure. Then, I negotiated an alternative work schedule to accommodate the lack of daycare options. This was all followed very quickly by the announcement of a massive two-year project that will take a majority of our current resources and change the way we completely do business. Within this last announcement came the shock that my co-worker of five years, the senior person in our small department of two, will be permanently assigned to this special project and will then retire after the project is complete. To say that I am discombobulated is an understatement.
There have been so many changes lately that I am honestly afraid to come to work because I do not know what else will be announced. Today, I had the pleasure of listening to my workload and my future position in the company being discussed by my new boss and departing co-worker, all from my desk because I was not part of the conversation. I feel like my career is quickly careening out of my control, and I’m not certain I like the feeling.
I do know that within this special project is the need for a full-time communications person. As soon as that position was announced, I perked up and expressed my desire for the job. I’ve been trying to volunteer for this special project for three months and have either not been taken seriously or have been ignored. But communications? This I can do well. I already have traction as the editor and founder of the company newsletter, something which has been met with tremendous success and continues to generate impressive responses from elsewhere in the parent company. I have proven that I can write communication pieces. I want this job.
However, when I expressed my interest to my manager, he was concerned that it is the exact opposite of everything I have been working towards for the past five years. This is indeed true. It is the opposite of what I have been doing…at work. This entire exchange has me more than a little concerned. Should I be pigeon-holed into a role solely because that is where my experience lies? At what point in time should reality limit your dreams?
See – I feel certain that even though I am volunteering for this special project and would be a perfect fit for the communications role, my request is going to be ignored. Why is this? For one thing, with my co-worker’s pending departure, the company is going to have to fill her role, meaning hiring someone new. When you work at something as important as pricing all of a company’s products, it is not a role that is easily replaceable. I do not see them letting both of us go, no matter how much I wish otherwise. Also, I think the fact that I have my certification and MBA in accounting, my manager’s incredulity will rule the day. Because he can’t fathom me wanting to switch career paths after all that work, he is not going to let me do so. This means that no matter how much I lobby for my dream role, I have no confidence I will get it.
So I ask others – at what point in time do you put your dreams aside and face down reality? Is it right to expect a company to allow me to switch career paths at the drop of a hat, even though it might cause temporary problems for day-to-day business? Should I continue to fight (and beg and plead) for the communications role, or should I muster up excitement at becoming the senior pricing specialist in the building, complete with more meetings, more teams, more bureaucracy, and a ton more work,