Tuesday, January 12, 2016

You Can't Get What You Want ('Til You Know What You Want)

This post may get a little wordy, so I'll just cut to the chase here: I've finally found what I want to do for my next job, and that's be a content marketing manager. Yes, it only took me nearly two years of unemployment to figure this out.

You often can't attract something unless you know what it is you want in the first place. Sometimes people don't know what they want in one particular area of their life. And as it turns out, I believe this is a reason why I've been floundering around in unemployment for close to two years, applying to a variety of jobs that were sorta close to what I had an idea I wanted to do (but not quite), and not really getting anywhere with ones I interviewed for.

That's where the title of this post comes in. It's also the name of a Joe Jackson song -- a song I was listening to it one day in work a few years ago when it dawned on me that it totally applied to the law of attraction. Joe is absolutely right -- you can't get what you want until you know what you want to begin with. (The Rolling Stones might disagree and say you can't always get what you want, but I personally believe the law of attraction does deliver what you're putting out there with your feelings and beliefs.)

It's like saying you want to use the law of attraction to find a house but you have no clue what the size of it should be, how many bedrooms it has, or what kind of neighborhood it's in. The same problem applies to a car, a partner, or in my case, a job.

I'll be honest -- all this time, I wasn't so sure what I wanted to do for my next career move. I've been in marketing for most of my post-college life, and the next logical step would be to apply for marketing manager positions (which is my "title" given to me by the company I freelance for.) But most MM positions that I looked at online came with a few unfavorable duties that I knew I did not want to do anymore. A couple of months after I was laid off, I started contemplating and made out a list of everything that I didn't like about my previous job, and then a new list of qualities that were the opposite of those -- this is a really helpful exercise I've read about a lot, by the way, for anyone having trouble zeroing in on exactly what they want. The contrast really helps in that respect.

One of the things I wrote down that I knew I didn't want to do was to be traveling to set up and take down booths at trade shows. Been there, done that, way too many times at other jobs. I actually have a love/hate relationship with trade shows. I like traveling and seeing a different city, I like meeting new people and don't mind talking to potential customers about a product or service, but I don't like having to stand on my feet all day (I did enough of that during my first job ever at a grocery store and later putting myself through college working at a local hotel.) Also it's just exhausting assembling a booth and then taking it down and packing everything up to be shipped back. One year at my last job, not only did I manage our entire presence at one trade show including designing the booth and marketing materials, ordering the equipment, shipping everything, and sending the travel info to every employee that was attending, but I then had to travel to the venue myself to set up the booth and help man it. It was actually during this trip that I realized it was time to start thinking about looking for a new job, but that's another post for another time.

Anyways, trade shows and traveling to participate in one and deal with the equipment was out for me. I'm also not crazy about playing around with spreadsheets and researching promotional items for a company to put their logo on and give out at the trade shows.

Last year and the year before I got interviews for a copywriter position, a social media manager position, a web content editor and some job that had a long title involving writing and newsletter creation. I turned down the last one for a few reasons, and I wasn't offered the other three. (Every company I interviewed for has accumulated several negative employee reviews online during the past year, so I feel it was for the best that I didn't get these jobs.)

I love social media, but I'm not crazy about the idea of doing in-depth analytics and reporting on how effective a tweet was, which is what a lot of SM managers are required to do these days.

In 2015 I also considered venturing into a different career. One of my friends that I met in my Meetup group insisted that I would make a good event or wedding planner, because of the fact I run a Meetup group. But there's a big difference between making a reservation for a restaurant and overseeing an event where anything could go wrong and where you have to be on-site for hours in case anything does hit the fan.

I applied to some office manager positions. I figured I'd be good at keeping a company kitchen clean and stocked and it would be a great opportunity to get to know everyone in a company. I think, however, that my vast amount of experience probably worked against me so I was never invited for an interview.

To make a long story short, it was a few weeks after I started meditating before bedtime that I felt an inner voice say to me, "You need to be writing." And then not long after that, while looking at jobs online, that I saw one with the title content marketing manager. No trade show management. No crunching numbers in a spreadsheet, and no ordering cheesy promotional items. Mostly this position within a company focuses on what I like to do best...writing social media statuses, blog posts, email promotions, and other marketing materials and figuring out how to get creative with them and repurpose them.

I still have my work cut out for me; I need to tweak my resume and update my online portfolio, but thanks to this clarity and focus I finally feel one step closer to finding the right job, now that I've figured out exactly what it is I want to do in the first place!

And in case you need to hear it, here's that great song by Joe Jackson:

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