Today was my three-year anniversary at the agency where I work. Mercifully, I took the day off - after working 60-hour weeks for three of the last four, I was running on empty.
But these past three years have gone by quickly, and I've thought a great deal about where I was when I first moved back to Los Angeles . . . and where I am now. I'm not unhappy, at least not in a broad, general sense, but rather I'm . . . discontented.
Professionally, I'm restless. I know myself well enough to know that if I'm not constantly being challenged, I grow restless, and ultimately, apathetic. I've reached a plateau in my current position, and I'm getting antsy for something more, something different, something better. I work with some amazing people, all younger than I, who are just waiting for the opportunity to blossom into creative geniuses. They're being stifled where they are, which is such a shame. I'd love to pluck them out of where they are and just turn them loose, and marvel at what happens next. However, I also work with people who are exactly like some of my former colleagues in the government and education sectors, mere clock punchers who are content to do the same thing, over and over, collecting a paycheck, with no desire for anything more. Had I stayed in Maryland, not taking that opportunity three years ago to return to Los Angeles, two things would have happened: (1) I'd have spent the rest of my career locked into one job, becoming the very employee I loathed so much, and (2) I'd always have wondered, "What if?"
Perhaps my first venture into the private sector is an anomaly, that my current situation isn't indicative of how good, successful companies are run. But maybe where I am now IS the norm, and I'm just naive for thinking otherwise. I do know that the sloppiness, laziness, and ineptitude that I've seen in the last three years is becoming intolerable for me, and is not now, and will never be, acceptable.
So now what? Where do I go from here? I'm actively looking, but will steadfastly refuse to change jobs simply for change's sake. Every career move I've made and will continue to make will be a step up. Perhaps the greatest benefit from the past three years is intangible, because it's certainly not been financial. Maybe I'm learning how to be a good manager, because I've seen so many bad ones, or how to be a good mentor to others, because I haven't had one myself. I just don't know.
I'll keep you posted . . .