I sometimes wish I was able to throw my baby wanting energy, all those 4 years, into turning my career into something amazing. I didn't. I took a job that I figured would be a good spot to leave after going on maternity leave. I was well paid, but under stimulated and it was a move that left my career somewhat stagnant to a degree.
While there were lots of career killing downsides to staying in that old job, the work I came to do had stalled pretty much the entire 4 years. I called it the work baby. In a fit of change, I took a risk on yet another lateral move with a very senior role, with a not-so-much title with a bit less pay. (Note to future self here, please don't do this again). I went from a drama-free job to building something amazing amid complete chaos. My boss had a baby 13 weeks too soon after working for her 6 weeks. I had two bosses while she was on maternity leave with vastly different ideas of progress and reporting. My original boss finally came back in January of this year, only to step in and waste my time. Changing projects, creating projects, canceling projects, which are all my very most favorite things. The kicker was an endless line of feedback.
I work with creative types and if I go past 2 rounds of feedback on a project, I consider it my failure to communicate my requirements effectively. I have learned to live with less than perfect, especially when my deadlines are tight. When I am in the groove, I hum like nobody's business. So you can imagine that being my own boss was great, and then not-so-great when someone's telling me what to do (in places like, make that more/less green, etc, particularly useless feedback for my objective).
Fast forward to maternity leave, I am paid forward by being allowed six months off. My boss is awesome. They finally hire a person akin to a gardener to allow me to be the landscape architect. And for two weeks, I've been planning and doing brainy stuff instead of digging holes and pulling weeds. This last part is not uncommon for senior people in small start ups. I need out of the weeds. I have someone semi-officially working for me. Life looks like it's getting better.
Last Monday, the boss says she's leaving. I understand why. But, I am heartbroken. The move to the East is a career killer. While she has never taken credit for my program, EVERYONE thinks she did it. It's feedback I gave her in my big heart-to-heart. She was my biggest fan. She knows that I am, indeed, a senior level monkey. And now I am adrift, reporting to someone I've never met and left with a view that I'm more junior. It hurts.
I have a deep catalog of accomplishments in this company. My work shaped the brand and totally revamped our strategy and voice. I'm super proud of it, even if I don't get the credit for it. And I've made them tons of money. My boss knows this and now she'll be gone. I start over.
Sure, the move to Philly was a career killer in for my internet company, but at least I will leave armed with real accomplishments for whatever will be next. Sure, my junior gardener (yeah, sticking to this metaphor, sorry), will not report to me. I will be responsible for her work, reporting, scheduling, prioritizing, troubleshooting, and pretty much her job, but not her manager. And that's the part that nearly brought me to tears. Seriously. Fucked. "I can't have her report to you, but maybe a dot dot dot."
I am working from home. I have someone I trust taking care of my baby from home. I am grateful to not have to find a new job in a new city. And yet I am coming to terms with another loss all of a sudden.
Career driven self says finish up a few more bullets for resume and move on in 5 months. Greedy baby mama self says, stick with this job until you get or quit #2 baby in the baby hoarding plan. Mama self says don't be stupid to squander a chance to be home with your baby. Either way, I get to make a phone call to someone I've never met next week who will be my 5th boss in less than 2 years. It exhausts me already.