Saturday, November 03, 2007

Here we go again...

I have been having a career crisis of sorts for the past year or so. I am a Spanish teacher by training, but my favorite job so far has actually been in sales. I worked for three years for a paper company up in the Fox Valley as an account manager, and I absolutely loved it. I loved the people and the company's culture, it was challenging, and, most of the time, it was rewarding. Unfortunately, during my last year of employment at this company, management changed and things went downhill quickly. I ended up leaving just a little over a year ago and I have been bouncing around ever since.

As much as I loved my job in sales, there was one thing missing. In my entire three years working for this company, I only used my Spanish-speaking skills a handful of times, and that made me sad. After all, I worked so hard in high school and college and as a teacher to improve and hone my skills, and I found that the phrase "use it or lose it" applied to my situation. I was rapidly losing my skills, so my new career goal was to find a position where I would be using Spanish at least half of the time.

So, I was offered a position as a recruiter with a staffing company. I was told when I was hired that I would be using my Spanish skills as a large number of this company's hires were Spanish speakers. Well, this turned out to be true, much to my delight, and I congratulated myself on a brilliant life decision. Unfortunately, about six months later, the company transferred me to another branch out in the middle of NOWHERE, and although the move was a step up for me career-wise and meant that I would be using Spanish at least 90% of the time, I just wasn't at a point in my personal life where I could relocate to a place where I would be far away from both my family and from Aaron. It just didn't make sense for me and for Gracie.

Back to square one. I found a great position with an interpreting company in the Fox Valley as a medical interpreter. Perfect! I would be using my Spanish skills all day, every day, and as a bonus, I would be helping people out and making a difference in the world. And, I loved the job. The only problem was that the position was in Appleton, and Aaron was in Milwaukee. Here we were planning a wedding and we still had no firm plans to actually be living in the same city by the wedding date. We tried to work out a compromise wherein we would live halfway between Appleton and Milwaukee and we could both keep our jobs. It sounded like it would work until we went apartment hunting and I realized immediately that neither one of us would have been happy with this arrangement. We each would have been commuting over an hour each day, and we would be moving to a small town that didn't have anything to offer either of us. The only solution that made sense was for Grace and me to move to Milwaukee. So, I left my interpreting job behind in Appleton and left for Milwaukee without having a new job lined up.

This brings us to the present. Readers of my blog know that I took a position as a recruiter with a marketing firm about two months ago, and I have been less than happy. I'm find myself in another position where I am never using my Spanish skills, which is even more of a crime now after being an interpreter and having worked really hard to learn even more stuff. I guess the job would be okay if I at least enjoyed the climate in the office or derived any sort of enjoyment or fulfillment out of it at all. I just don't. It's not for me, and I took the position because I felt like I needed to bring money into the household to take some pressure off of Aaron. I realize now that he really wasn't feeling pressure to begin with and that taking a job for that reason was a bad idea.

I realize this situation is my own fault. By nature I am quick to jump into things without putting a whole lot of thought into it, and I realize looking back that this is what I have done more than once over the past year. I know now that I should have sat down with Aaron and thought about the big picture before jumping from job to job. I guess if I had done that, I would have moved to Milwaukee a year ago and found an interpreting job here. Hindsight is 20/20.

Aaron, being the caring husband that he is, has noticed my unhappiness and my mini-panic attacks every Sunday night before having to go back to work on Monday, and he took some steps to help me out. One of his coworkers has siblings that work for an interpreting firm here in Milwaukee, and he got me a name and phone number for the agency's owner. I had an interview and skills test with this company on Friday, and I was offered a position with the company as a medical interpreter. I could make my own hours, work as much or as little as I would like, and make quite a bit more money than I am at my current position. And, I would be in a job where I would be both using my Spanish and making a difference again.

So, here I am, wanting desperately to take this offer but worrying that changing jobs yet again will leave a horrible black mark on my resume. Lately, I have resigned myself to the idea that I might always be one of those people that hates their job but does it anyway out of a sense of duty. Problem is, I don't want to be one of those people and frankly, I feel like I deserve more.

I need to make a decision soon, because I don't want this opportunity to pass me by, and I don't want this hanging over my head forever. I think I'll have a glass of wine now and think things over a bit.


Bert said...

Oh, Girl! The interpreter job sounds wonderful. And it doesn't sound like you're always unhappy in your job... just since the one you really liked went downhill. Life hands you opportunities; it's your job to smile and say "thank you". Good luck in your decision making. (I do find that a glass of wine definitely helps with life's major question marks.)

angie said...

TAKE THE JOB!!!! It sounds amazing. It's more money. It's in your desired field. I think most would agree you'd be crazy not to. Don't you think that sometimes we find the best things in life by letting go of the tolerable, yet uninspiring ones? xoxo