I went to college with the dream of one day becoming a CEO. To make my dream into a goal, I drafted my planned career path:
- Become an account executive, preferably for an advertising firm;
- Get promoted to supervisory/managerial position;
- Get promoted to directory position; and finally,
- Become a CEO.
However, because I did not do as well in school as I should, I could not get a job for the account executive position without any prior experience. After six months of fruitless applications, I decided to widen my search. That was when I landed my first job as a web copywriter for an e-commerce company.
While this position was under the company’s marketing department, its job description was not as “social” as an account executive’s. Also, we were not expected to dress up and wear high heels or anything, which was a bummer. But I still accepted the job offer because:
- After being jobless for six months I was desperate to start working; and,
- The pay was pretty high for a fresh graduate.
Overall, my experience at my first job was much better than I thought. On my first day, I gathered my courage to introduce myself to another new girl, and we became office best friends. She is still one of my closest friends today. I also adapted to the workload pretty quickly. It was there that I learned I can write 2,000 words per day. Our office encouraged a fun working environment–there was a game room where we can watch TV, play XBOX and foosball, or just lounge on the comfy chairs. Often after our lunch break, I and some of my teammates would head there to play a round or three of foosball. Our boss did not mind if we take long or frequent breaks as long as we reach our weekly quota. We also had company- and department-wide events such as scavenger hunts, karaoke nights, and parties.
Still, I have not given up on my dream of getting on top of the corporate ladder. After 4 months , I started to get bored with my job. Writing about cars and car parts for 8 to 9 hours got me wishing to be on lunch meetings, sending and receiving important emails, basically anything else other than writing my fifth article on how to troubleshoot your Toyota HiLux.
Before I got the chance to leave on my own terms, however, we received bad news: the company suffered some huge losses because of inventory that weren’t sold. In order to make up for it, they had to lay off almost a majority of their workforce.
All I felt that day was confusion and shock–I had no idea what happened, everything was a blur, and I wasn’t sure what to do next. Even though I was thinking about finding a new job, I wanted to take my time searching. After all, I loved that company’s environment and culture. I wanted to find another company that is similar to them–minus the massive turnovers and layoffs.
After getting home, explaining to my parents what happened, and getting a good night’s rest, I came up with a plan. All I could think of during that time was I did not want to be jobless for 6 months AGAIN. So I sent out applications more often and more diligently, but this time I focused on sales and marketing job openings. In less than a month, I got a job offer for a marketing assistant position at a small systems integrator company.
Getting back on track
Despite wanting to accept the job offer on the spot, there were two things that concerned me:
- When I sent them my CV I expressed interest in the account management position. However, because of my lack of experience in the field as well as the urgency of the position, they asked if I would like to take the marketing assistant role instead. Because the marketing assistant worked closely with the account managers anyway, I figured that this would be a stepping stone to learn the ropes about sales and other stuff expected from my desired position.
- The salary they offered me was significantly lower than my first. But that wasn’t a big deal to me back then. As a fresh graduate, learning came first to me before earning. What mattered most to me was that I will finally be able to pursue my dream.
My first month as a marketing assistant filled me with adrenaline rush and I loved it. I got to do different stuff every day, compared to my first job where I just wrote articles 5 days a week. Also, I did not just stay in the office, we also conducted meetings elsewhere and went to trade shows. I also got to go out of town to assist in a training we gave to one of our clients. Soon I was assigned more tasks such as channel sales and bidding for new projects. When our marketing associate left the company, I was given her responsibilities as well.
After a month of working solo in the marketing department, I started feeling spent and demotivated. By that time I was already working in that company for 10 months, but I never got a reassignment to become an account manager, a pay raise, or even a promotion to regular employment, which would entitle me to enjoy company benefits. Feeling taken advantage of, I resolved that if I don’t get a promotion or a raise within a month, I would quit. A day before the month was up, however, I was given both a raise and a promotion to regular employment.
Still, I wasn’t as happy with my job as I was before. Although I did not actively look for other opportunities, I started responding to invitations to job interviews from employers. It wasn’t until August 2014 when, after reaching out to a LinkedIn contact and going to two interviews, I got an offer for the account management position at a startup company.
Achieving and living the dream
I finally did it. I finally achieved the first step towards my dream, and I was on my way to the top. Because it was a startup company and I was one of the pioneer employees, I thought that I had the chance to climb the corporate ladder faster than I expected. My inspiration was our own CEO who is only in his late 20s.
On the first few months, I lived my dream. I was out and about meeting with our partners, my phone glued to my hand because of the nonstop calls and messages, and my inbox filled with new work-related emails each day. I loved it. I relished the attention by both my boss, my colleagues, and our partners. I felt wanted. I felt valued. I felt important.
However, you must know that I am an introvert, and it is common knowledge that introverts get overwhelmed when thrusted into too much social interaction, which was what happened to me. While I do enjoy meeting people and get excited when I receive a call or message, I also needed a lot of time alone to recuperate. Unfortunately, my job took this away from me. I kept getting phone calls and messages as early as 6 AM and sometimes until midnight. My weekends and holidays were ruined by more phone calls and Skype messages. Heck, I even had to make some more calls on Christmas Day while I was on a road trip with my family.
When I got back from our Christmas break, I was exhausted. I started to dread Mondays, to the point that I get panic attacks the night before. I started to get tired of hearing my phone ring. I started to get annoyed having to go through 50+ emails every morning and getting more messages the more I reply.
My sad epiphany
After working in the startup for almost 5 months, I quit. I do not want to constantly think about work. I do not want to answer calls early in the morning. I do not want to be an account manager anymore or be at the top of the corporate ladder. After obsessing on my dream career for so many years, I realized I don’t really want it that much.
Now I’m back to square one.