Another "career" thread

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WiresDreamDisastersWiresDreamDisasters Frets: 2737
edited July 16 in Off Topic
Fuck me. I don't want to write this, but I feel I need to, even just to get it out of my head. I can't get too specific due to slander clauses in my contract. But let's say this - I have zero idea where I am going these days. I used to have a game plan. Bits of which I can't talk about, but effectively I was being groomed to be a product owner. So I would finally have full creative control over the vision of a product - let's pretend it's a drum product for musicians. I would have successfully moved sideways into a position that I actually wanted at the time, and it would've been great for my CV and my future.

Alas, that ship has sailed now I feel. I've been demoted to what I can only call a content developer. And it sucks. Long hours and boring progress bar watching jobs, for a meagre wage which doesn't go far enough each month due to outgoings and alcohol (a terrible way to deal with stress and anxiety about the future, I know that) and I look at my developer friends who do half the hours I do for twice the pay... and I'm thinking ... what the actual fuck? Why am I doing this? No-one even cares about it.

I do audio and video production mainly. I'm better at the former, but getting better at the later. But when I look around at the jobs market for this kind of thing, it looks awful. Simply awful. And because these things are my job, I find it difficult to get hyped for the audio and video production stuff that I need to do in my personal life (band, Youtube, etc) and nearly every day I feel burnt out.

I'm moving across to doing four 10 hour days instead of five 8 hour days, but I can't do that until the end of July. I'm hoping the extra day will allow me to actually invest in myself instead of being the wage-slave patriarch that I have become, and always told myself I would never become, and feel entirely bitter over the whole thing.

I should add that even though I'm contracted to do 8 hour days, I regularly do 13-14 hour days. Two weeks ago I did an 18 hour day followed by two 12 hour days back to back too. You wouldn't know it if you only went on my posting rate on here, but I work my ass off most weeks. Dropping a day and fixing my hours to 4 feels like a step in the right direction - in the short term anyway.

As I say - some specifics I can't get into ... but where I am in life and career right now is so utterly miserable, and I don't see a way out. I truly don't. And I have zero support from anyone.

I've said things on here in the past relating to this, but simply put - how the hell do I get out of this spider web?!
TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER
Dominus Spiritus Invictus
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  • fields5069fields5069 Frets: 1649
    I like the idea of "cutting down" to 4 days. In effect each day's hours will probably not change much, but you'll have full justification on your off day not to touch your phone.

    I must say that sounds crap, I feel for you. I recently did a 67-hour week, but I'm pretty well paid, looked after with expenses paid etc. Even so, our local team have hatched a plan to take some TOIL without telling head office. We work from home a lot and I have never spoken to my boss, so that works for us.

    What's driving the length of the work days? Deadlines? If so then I'm sure there will be pressure to work on your off day, so that may not help. If it's just a feeling of obligation which is driving the hours then the off day sounds like a good plan.

    But when it comes down to it, you are being abused and need to get out of there if possible, I would say.
    Some folks like water, some folks like wine.
    My feedback thread is here.
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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 3856
    I feel similar to you Drew - but I have the option to walk whenever I choose as (a) I'm a lot older, (b) I have no mortgage etc, and (c) some pension monies (never enough, but adequate).

    I was recently sent on a career enhancement course - let's say I was selected as a Grand PoohBah candidate - changed my perspective - in the end I declined as I'll be retired before I have any chance of acheiving it - but it was very nice to be (finally) asked.

    4 days/week has made a huge difference to me - do it, do it, do it. Walk away on a Thursday, phone-off, no email - simply magic !

    You can't go on as you are as you still have a long road ahead. Have you asked for a serious career 121 with your boss ? Things often won't change unless you take the initiative. Most companies will milk employees to the max, not because they're devious exploitative gits (though occasionally some are), but that's how things drift along, and employees step-up to fill a need/vacuum and so it goes .....
    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 12551
    Firstly, if your income is even slightly stretched because of alcohol you need to stop. Now.

    I know you know this and it can feel like the only way to wind down after a long hard day, but you need to find a healthy alternative. 

    Next, you need to find time for your wife and child, these are years you won't ever get back. 

    Career-wise only you can know really, but it is possible to breeze your way through a stressful job by emotionally prioritising other areas of your life - work is not everything, or shouldn't be. 

    If you feel unappreciated just cut your hours back to your contracted hours and spend more time with your family.

    If you don't have full creative control then you also don't have sole responsibility for deadlines, let some other mug take the strain unless they reward you for your efforts. 

    All this is very easy to type, but you need to start changing how work affects your emotions. 
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  • KittyfriskKittyfrisk Frets: 951
    Shit, sorry to hear about your situation.
    I don't know 'you' in real life, but I have been where you seem to be, as well as knowing many people that could and do, say exactly what you have stated.

    From the sound of things, you are in that perfect storm stress place, of not being able to do what you love doing; not having any real control over how things are done and also working extra hard, running to stand still. Also putting self esteem into work, which is natural, but often totally disregarded by others.
    Throw in a home life etc. and it just isn't sustainable for you (or anyone else).

    From long observation and involvement with good people trying to do their best at all times, I can say with some certainty that without change, the only thing that will 'give' is you... work just doesn't care about anything but work, no matter what the caring HR persons may say (even if you have any). Can you talk to your boss honestly and confidentially, without it being a career no-no?

    The first thing to go out of the window when a person is stressed, is the capacity to make rational, meaningful decisions.
    People tend to get involved with fire fighting, small, self prioritising 'emergencies' regardless of their actual significance.
    You lose the view of the bigger picture (sorry about the phrase... but it fits).
    Once you are in this situation, it doesn't tend to sort itself out by carrying on, or working extra hard to 'push back' at things.

    Despite your courage in communicating your situation here, this probably isn't something the best place to look for long term help.
    Have you a friend/acquaintance outside your work/music sphere, where you can get an impartial perspective?
    Or, can you get access to a 'talking therapy' ( sorry, but that's what they call counselling these days) maybe via a GP?

    Seeking help is not a failure or a weakness, it is the realisation that you really aren't managing on your own.
    That is a bloody hard thing to admit, but it is a positive thing to realise that you're not alone in feeling like this.

    Sorry if this all sounds a bit faux medical or touchy feely, it really isn't meant to be.
    Just some thoughts that hopefully might help, or at worst let you lose your rag at at me for sounding like smug prick (hope not).

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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2678
    Jalapeno said:

    You can't go on as you are  .....
    p90fool said:
    Firstly, ... alcohol you need to stop. Now.

    Next, you need to find time for your wife and child, these are years you won't ever get back. 

    ... work is not everything, or shouldn't be. If you feel unappreciated just cut your hours back to your contracted hours and spend more time with your family.
    ... without change, the only thing that will 'give' is you... 

    Seeking help is not a failure or a weakness, it is the realisation that you really aren't managing on your own. That is a bloody hard thing to admit, but it is a positive thing to realise that you're not alone in feeling like this.
    These points are so important that I thought I’d repeat them. The fact that you’ve started the thread shows that you know something has to change and, importantly, that you want to do it. If you could do it on your own then you already would have. 

    My advice: one step at a time. Talk it through with your wife, and stop drinking. 
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  • ToneControlToneControl Frets: 5732
    Can you get into non-music instrument IT software Quality assurance? i.e. "testing"? or IT project management / product ownership? Do you have any skills in "Agile" projects?
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  • stevebrumstevebrum Frets: 4871
    edited July 16
    p90fool said:

    Career-wise only you can know really, but it is possible to breeze your way through a stressful job by emotionally prioritising other areas of your life - work is not everything, or shouldn't be. 
    You’ve just articulated well what I actually do. I’ve worked with colleagues who find the job stressful but I don’t. You’ve nailed it - I work hard (harder than some who moan!) do the best I can but don’t take it home* and don’t take shit in the job personally because I’m emotionally detached.

    *If I do any work or think about work when I’m not there it’s on my terms only.

    It’s just a job. An okay job that pays well enough to support my current lifestyle. I’m older than you @drew and have limited opportunity in my current job for progression and can’t afford to take a pay cut to retrain. No help I know - but there’s probably a lot of people in your/our situation. There’s also many people in worse situations...

    Now and again I get a little annoyed with myself and wish I’d done better. To make sure that feeling doesn’t overwhelm me I look at positives in what I have done and remember there’s people who’d probably give anything to have my job and I should be thankful etc. Not sure if that’s a healthy way of looking at it but it works for me.

    Easing back in the drinking might help put things into perspective for you. With a clear mind only you can decide what the next step is.
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  • thermionicthermionic Frets: 5611
    Probably not what people want to hear, but if you were a member of a union you wouldn't be working 14 hour days whilst only being paid for 8.
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  • roundthebendroundthebend Frets: 511
    I feel your pain, all too hard.
    Have you spoken to your employer? They should be aware that you're putting in longer hours and feeling stressed because of it. By rights you should be able to just work to your contracted hours, right? You've put in a lot of extra effort and it's time that was repaid.

    I'm in a similar situation with regard to my future. I'm earning good money but pretty much spending most of it. My wage is basically what 4 people depend on, and I'm not enjoying my work very much lately but I'm trapped. My wife says I should do whatever makes me happy, but that will impact on her and my adult kids, so it's not easy to do it without seeming to be selfish.

    In my case I have some options to consider. And I don't let myself get worked to the bone, so I can at least do some activities outside of work that I enjoy - cycling/triathlon, motorbike, campervan conversion, guitar.

    I think you need to take control of that stuff first. Well, maybe get off the booze first. So, talk to your boss and see what they can do.

    Next up, do stuff you enjoy.

    Then it's probably a case of looking around for other jobs. I've been tempted to quit mine and see what happens - could I find something in the next month or two? Would I revert to my safe career, or would I go for something completely different?

    Don't be afraid. You're intelligent and passionate, so something will click into place if you let it.
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  • hywelghywelg Frets: 2130
    edited July 16
    You need a hobby unrelated to work.


    Have you thought of brewing! ;)


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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 583
    edited July 16
    Could you not jump ship to one of the other companies in the field developing similar products? I know of several that have expanded rapidly in recent years, and with it being a niche field, I doubt there are too many well-qualified people out there,
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  • randellarandella Frets: 2209
    Probably not what people want to hear, but if you were a member of a union you wouldn't be working 14 hour days whilst only being paid for 8.
    The IT/Tech sector has never really gone in for unions, unfortunately.  If they did I'd probably be a member of one.
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 9043
    randella said:
    Probably not what people want to hear, but if you were a member of a union you wouldn't be working 14 hour days whilst only being paid for 8.
    The IT/Tech sector has never really gone in for unions, unfortunately.  If they did I'd probably be a member of one.
    If it's only union invervention that prevents the working conditions from becoming intollerable it's probably not somewhere you want to work anyway.
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • TTonyTTony Frets: 15748
    Serious question / suggestion.

    Is there anyone you can talk to, face to face, regularly?

    Posting here is an outlet, you can vent, but it’s largely one way, and probably helps for even less time than a drink.

    Few people here (if anyone) know you well enough, are experienced and objective enough, and will also tell you stuff that you don’t want to hear (in a way that ensures that you do *hear* it, to give back what you need from the venting.

    Sometimes called a “critical friend” it has to be someone you trust completely, someone close enough that that either know you or can understand your situation, but someone sufficiently removed from your day to day life that you won’t have any embarrassment (at the time, or later) if you share the personal stuff with them.  Because it will and should get very personal.  It’s not just about the shit work stuff.

    Just to make the job description tougher, it also needs to be someone who’ll be critical when necessary rather than giving meaningless (and useless) platitudes, and someone whose advice you’ll respect.

    That gives you the 2-way interaction - you can still vent, but you’ll get something positive back.  It also needs to be a long-term thing - that critical friend needs to stick around and be there when you’re happy as well as when you’re less happy.

    HTH.


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  • earwighoneyearwighoney Frets: 1885
    p90fool said:
    Firstly, if your income is even slightly stretched because of alcohol you need to stop. Now.

    I know you know this and it can feel like the only way to wind down after a long hard day, but you need to find a healthy alternative. 
    Great post by P90F, and I don't really have much to add about the career aspects but I do about the drinking ones.  From my experiences, alcohol to alleviate stress can lead to a bit of a cycle of negativity/dark thoughts, especially if like myself the tendency for depression is already there.  Aside from messing up relationships with friends and family, as obvious as it sounds it can fuck up one's relationship with drinking.   From personal experience, I'd back away from drinking to alleviate tension, and again as obvious as it might sound to leave the drinking for times when it's actually enjoyable.  Something which it's taken me a while to get to used to doing.  
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 9043
    I don't have the time for a comprehenive post, but I can strongly recomend this book: http://www.calnewport.com/books/so-good/

    I found it extremely helpful. I wonder if looking for work outside audio would actually make you happier.
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • So many good posts here. I'm on another mad one today to try and hit a deadline next week, so I'll wait to respond. Lots of thoughts swirling.
    TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER
    Dominus Spiritus Invictus
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 9043
    So many good posts here. I'm on another mad one today to try and hit a deadline next week, so I'll wait to respond. Lots of thoughts swirling.
    Feel free to PM me if you want to talk about anything.
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 4798
    So I had a bit of a crisis along similar lines recently, brought about by my wife's imminent return to work after maternity leave. I deal with professional stress pretty well so the trigger event for me was starting to argue over how we would manage nursery drop offs, bed times, putting in the hours at work, managing the housework and pets etc for 2 pretty demanding jobs.

    The outcome for us was that Amy will take a couple of years off so we don't need to put our youngest into nursery until our oldest is at school.

    Now obviously part of that is that it further "traps" me in full time work. However as part of this process we also reassessed out next 5 year plan. We used a bunch of savings which we aspirationally wanted to use to buy a rental property to pay off our mortgage which reduced our outgoing and term, based on the remaining balance I think I can be mortgage free in 5 years and that will give me far more freedom. That might be to build more pension saving, or it might be that my wife returns to work (she previously held a CFO position) and I cut back hours to do the school runs etc but it means that those options are open now where before our high mortgage outgoing made it prohibitive.

    I suspect that you share something that I also have in my personality type which is that if I'm going to be doing a job for a minimum of 40 hours a week and investing that proportion of your time in something then I want to be doing it well, I want to be taking more ownership, having more control and more autonomy which inevitably means chasing promotions (and promotions are the most demoralising process I could imagine).

    I don't have an answer to that except that for me what helped was having a more concrete "exit plan" so the whole thing doesn't seem so futile and relentless. 
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  • ThePrettyDamnedThePrettyDamned Frets: 4073
    Is remote working also an option?

    I was burning out (concerning as I'm pretty young!). Work helped me and I can work remotely, which was a god send. You'd be amazed - it may not be as efficient (or it may be more so) but not having other people around to put forward further stress is a huge bonus. 

    4 day week for the win, too. I am hoping to negotiate something similar - very early start and end times, still 5 days but leaving 2 hours early will give me a much longer evening to wind down and enjoy my own time. 

    Hope it all works out. I remember you being really chuffed about your job, and sometimes quite small changes can be significant I've found. My job has fuck all to do with what I enioy, but I work with great people and being separate to my hobbies and interests is a blessing in some ways (compared to when I worked as a photographer). 
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 2878
    Stop trying to be the big man with drinking, fags, substance abuse. You will regret it (if you live long enough).
    You have reached the time of life when you are the provider. You have to take second seat to the family for a while,  this phase will pass and you will be proud of all you have done but it takes years. School was years but you survived and flourished, you can do it and you know you can. Select the job that provides but hang on to your dreams. 
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  • TTonyTTony Frets: 15748
    ESBlonde said:
    Stop trying to be the big man with drinking, fags, substance abuse. You will regret it (if you live long enough).
    You have reached the time of life when you are the provider. You have to take second seat to the family for a while,  this phase will pass and you will be proud of all you have done but it takes years. School was years but you survived and flourished, you can do it and you know you can. Select the job that provides but hang on to your dreams. 
    ^^
    Critical friend.
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  • jonnyburgojonnyburgo Frets: 6942
    Dont know what to say really Drew but try not to give them too much mate, it only benefits them. Things will improve but you’ve got to take those steps when you are a bit clearer maybe after a holiday or something. Best of luck pal.
    "OUR TOSSPOT"
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  • fastonebazfastonebaz Frets: 657
    Masturbate furiously for a couple of hours,  you'll feel much better. 

    Or change tact and get a job in the theatre,  still working with audio etc but different and capped hours.  

    Searching for jobs with audio in reveals loads of careers I'd never imagined.  Eg police audio unit field engineer sounds kind of interesting.   Searching on keywords yields interesting new lines of enquiry. 
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 13381
    Sounds a real bummer. The extra hours thing is something of a trap that one can get sucked into. I realised last week that due to working through lunches most days and staying late most days I have basically been working a 6 day week since mid-March. The difference for me is that I do basically enjoy my job. What does get on my t*ts is that I have a great pal at work who also works like mad most of the time, but another guy has announced that he is going to do 'compressed hours'. They owe me a shedload of compressed bloody hours!!! (that I will never see back)

    Anyway, not helping you ..... I agree with others on making time for your family. My kids are all pretty grown up now (well, youngest still 14), but I greatly cherish all those different ages/phases. Wonderful times and they grow out of some of the best bits so soon. I'd also agree with try and ditch the booze. My oldest son drank a lot, worried me to be honest, but his girlfriend suddenly found herself expecting and he quit virtually all of his drinking and is actually saving some money for the first time in his life. Didn't think I'd ever see that! Ditching booze can be done by most people.

    One thing that I have never done in life is take a chance, quit my safe world and go out on a limb to try to make my lot better. If I felt that bad about a job I think I'd risk a big change. Think of what you would rather be doing in an ideal world and see if you can plan a route to it. Don't worry about how pie in the sky it is.
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  • SchnozzSchnozz Frets: 943
    I had a friend like this and he applied for 3 jobs and got 2 interviews and then went for the one that was double his pay with less hours and he's not moving. He turned down the other which was more pay, because he didn't like the atmosphere/personalities. I was amazed how long he had worked for his previous company. 

    Another friend has recently done the same, doubling his pay but doing factory shifts, so not quite as good as the former, but still.
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  • KittyfriskKittyfrisk Frets: 951
    Masturbate furiously for a couple of hours,  you'll feel much better. 

    Or change tact and get a job in the theatre,  still working with audio etc but different and capped hours.  

    Searching for jobs with audio in reveals loads of careers I'd never imagined.  Eg police audio unit field engineer sounds kind of interesting.   Searching on keywords yields interesting new lines of enquiry. 
    'Or change tact and get a job in the theatre,  still working with audio etc but different and capped hours.'
    Honest question. Have you worked in this area in this capacity in reality?
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  • fastonebazfastonebaz Frets: 657
    @Kittyfrisk yes I was a musician in the theatre for a while. Great fun.
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  • KittyfriskKittyfrisk Frets: 951
    A musician, generally a fine idea.
    But a technician involved in sound, lighting, mixing, cueing etc; sometimes all at once, while dealing with a bunch of prima donna musicians, performers, directors, producers, guests, VIP friends... maybe not so great  ;)
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  • KittyfriskKittyfrisk Frets: 951
    PS. On reflection, sorry to be diluting/sidetracking this discussion with possibly irrelevant bollocks. 
    My bad.
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