On Working From Home

I’m not the world’s biggest “people person,” but being alone all day long is really the pits. Even more pitsville is the fact that when I do interact with other people, it’s often a negative experience. Since I’m 900 miles away from the home office, people almost always forget to talk to me about important things, meaning that I’m always playing catchup. I sometimes even get left out of conversations that should ONLY include me, and find out about it from employees who have no connection to my job. How am I supposed to interpret that, other than being offended, or maybe frightened? Even when I’m completely on top of my own game and know I’ve covered all of my bases, being forced to scrabble around after other people in order to catch crumbs of what they’re doing just pushes all of the wrong buttons for me. I’m more stressed now than I’ve ever been in my life, and I’m afraid I’m reaching a breaking point. It’s a combination of factors that make this position poisonous, but in the end, it’s still time to call it quits. I desperately want to move on to a company that encourages growth and achievement, provides some form of mentoring, possibly the chance at friendships, and most importantly, proves to me that my job is worth doing. I want to know that I’m making a difference in the world. There’s something fundamentally wrong with being in charge of marketing for a company that actively supports efforts that your very soul despises.

Since I moved, I’ve been searching for a new job. My education is hindering me, I suspect. Although I have the experience and drive to be a marketer, I’m three courses away from having a MSc in Internet Marketing. With no Bachelor of Business or MBA to back that up, I still look like an amateur, despite almost 13 years of moving up the ladder into this field. I’m sad that I’m getting passed over, but I’m also anxious that I’ve spent so much money on yet another degree that won’t get me a job. I’m so far in student loan debt now that I’ll be lucky to dig myself out, and none of these degrees have given me a chance at a better life. It’s a bit discouraging, but I’ll make it; I have to keep believing that I’ll make it.

Last week, I applied to four positions, one of which I’d probably sell my first-born child to get into. It’s a curatorial position for the state history museum – though there’s no marketing involved, it’s actually what I wanted to do when I graduated from college the first time, so very many years ago. I’m sure I could include my marketing skills in some way to help the museum, but getting in entails getting noticed. I’ve spoken to a friend who knows some people and might be able to help me get feedback on my resume, see what the museum is looking for, that kind of thing. I’ve never had any museum internships, but I have worked in art conservation and antiques handling, plus I have all of the education they’re looking for, so maybe.

Yesterday, I applied to three positions, including a marketing position at a very well-known history museum. I am a huge history buff (I know, that doesn’t really show in my blog, huh?), plus I’m well-versed in the requirements of the position, but we’ll see. I actually applied at the museum before in 2007, and made it to interviews before getting cut, so I’m not going to hold my breath. It would be an EXCELLENT opportunity, though.

I don’t know what to do. All I want is to prove my worth and love my company. I’ve thought about going into business for myself, but I’m not ready for that leap yet, and I know that now. I also need a raise. I was promised a raise in 90 days when I started my job, plus annual yearly raises and bonuses, and four years later I’m still working for the same amount I started at, with no raises or bonuses (though I’ve gotten two promotions and am now doing a much more difficult job than at first). After taking the job I found out that no one had ever gotten a raise or bonus at my company, which was my first enormous warning sign. But what can you do when the economy is eating jobs, or even later, when you move to a city where $25k is somehow supposed to be a great starting salary? One thing’s for sure – I can’t survive alone on my current paycheck. If I didn’t have a significant other, I’d never be able to afford rent in a safe neighborhood. Even the cheapest fleabag apartments are $200 more than I pay, before factoring in utilities. I’m not planning on being alone, but it’s prudent to remain aware of one’s situation, and this is scary.

In the mean time, I’m working harder than ever to get involved in the city. If I can’t get the job that I want, at least I’ll still be a productive member of New Orleans. I’m now a member of the American Marketing Association, the Arts Council of New Orleans, the National WWII Museum, New Orleans Track Club, and the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus, and I’m on my second year of volunteering with the French Quarter Festival. I’m also going to step up my volunteer efforts after my June vacation, and start volunteering as a docent (or maybe even marketing help) at a local museum or historical society/non-profit if I can work it into my schedule somehow. I guess we’ll see what happens.

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