October 25th was my last day as a full-time employee at Webster University. I’d been there for a little over five years, and I’d been unhappy for about half of that time. I was unhappy for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest was that I threw a lot of myself into the job, but I wasn’t working toward any personal or professional goals.
I worked in the print shop at the university, and in my time there, I was able to accomplish a lot. I helped to raise the level of quality of the printed materials that we delivered to the Webster University community, which helped us gain more work from our marketing department, which helped us get an amazing digital press. I also created new opportunities for the university’s graphic design students by creating work study positions. My department was even featured in In-plant Graphics (a trade magazine for internal printing departments) because I repeatedly urged my supervisor to participate in a piece for a trade association newsletter.
This is a very short list of what I did. None of these things actually fell within my job responsibilities and I never asked for special recognition for going way beyond what should have been expected of me. And I didn’t get it.
If I learned anything from my time at the university, it’s that I won’t get very far if I don’t stand up for myself. My position was very technical and highly skilled, but I made it seem simple because to me, it was. I pushed to increased the grade level of the positions within my department, but because I never really understood just how misunderstood my job was, I didn’t get very far.
Taking a risk and moving on
After five years, I decided that it was time to dedicate most of my energy to my school work and to figuring out where I wanted to be in the next five years. Thus far, it’s been both good and bad. I finally have time to make plans to improve my life. But for the first time in a decade or so, I don’t have a set schedule. I need routine in order to thrive, so sooner or later I’m going to have to sit down and schedule my life.
I’ve never tried anything this risky before. If you have any advice that would help through this uncertain time, I am all ears.