So, I got a new job! I'm so excited. I posted about not being completely happy in my job awhile back and also shared that my department went through some lay offs. But for the most part, I haven't talked a lot about my job here. That's because it hasn't been a bright spot in my life. This blog, and connecting with lovely readers like you! is a bright spot in my life, so I've kept them mostly separate. Even though I have so many happy things in my life it's been tough to spend 40+ hours a week doing something I don't love. Having a creative and positive outlet here has been amazingly helpful in keeping me optimistic! Thank you.
I'm not sure exactly when I realized I wasn't happy at my job. But I do remember having a down week at work several months ago and trying to figure out if it was just a bad week or was a recurring feeling. I flipped through my journal and found that I'd been writing about not feeling challenged and engaged at my job for months. It was not just a bad week. For some reason this is what it took to open my eyes in realizing it might be the job and not me.
It has been hard to admit to myself that my job isn't the right fit. I don't like to give up on things; I like to make them work. I thought that it was my attitude and would tell myself that I wasn't being positive enough. In every other part of my life I find it easy to be upbeat and enthusiastic. At work it's difficult. I love to be busy and feel challenged. At my job I frequently haven't had enough to work on and felt like I was bothering people when I asked for more work. I felt so frustrated not having the autonomy to keep myself busy. On top of that, filling out my timesheet is stressful because we have to account for every hour of our day and have target billable rates. When there's not an abundance of project work I stress about filling out my timesheet and watching my billable rate go down.
When I write it out or explain it to someone it seems obvious: this is not the right job for you. But when you're in the middle of it, day in and out, it's just your job. And many people don't love their jobs. How do you know it's time to look for new opportunities? And even if you decide to leave, there's the issue of finding another job. What an emotional process it is! I'd love to share more about applying and interviewing for a job in the coming weeks including what's worked for me.
But for now, I promised details about my new job! I'll be working for Arizona State University, which is also where Chris works! We'll be on different campuses but there's the possibility we could even have a meeting together at some point. I love that. My position is with the office at the university that deals in all things research: developing large grant proposals, administering research grants, and communicating research findings inside and outside of the university. My position as a Science Writer will mainly deal with the communication aspect but it sounds like there are opportunities to do lots of different things. The job seems like a perfect combination of my background in science and research and love of writing. I love that I am a officially a Writer.
To have a job that is a better fit for me I was fully prepared to take a pay cut. I thought that a university job might pay less than a private industry job. But ASU offered me $54,000! This is only a tiny bit lower than my current salary of $54,080 and during an interview when I was asked what I made I said $54,000 so they were matching what I had stated. I had decided that if the salary offer was close to or above what I was already making and the vacation time was as least as good that I would be very happy and wouldn't negotiate. So I was very pleased with the offer of $54,000 with 22 vacation days plus sick time (compared to the 16 days per year of combined vacation and sick time that I have now). I accepted! It was the first time I had a job offer for more money than I was expecting. A very welcome change.
As I was talking on the phone with my new boss and deciding on a start date I suggested March 20, based on some upcoming travel. After we agreed on March 20 I flipped my calendar to that week and saw that it will also be the first day of spring. What a perfect day to turn over a new leaf and start this new chapter of my career and of my life.