Up until this point in the brief existence of Personal Finance Utopia, I haven’t really shared too much about myself in any of the posts other than discussing my recent investment loss in How to Emotionally Deal with an Investment Loss. I also detailed why I had my wife open a Roth IRA in Roth IRAs Are Evil. Going forward that’s going to change as my intent for this site is to bring informative personal finance articles and share stories about my own personal situation as well. (Side Note: You can learn lots about me though in my foreclosure nightmare and how my wife and I beat over $140k of debt).
So, let’s get back to job burnout…
Who Am I And What Do I Do?
Let’s go back all the way to the beginning…I was born on — just kidding! While I won’t bore you with my life story, suffice it to say that I’ve never really had any strong inclinations about a career. Some people know they want to be a doctor, lawyer, firefighter, etc. Nothing ever really stood out to me as appealing when growing up – sad, I know. In any case, when I started college I knew I needed to pick a major so I ended up choosing architecture because, hey, designing houses sounded kind of neat. That only lasted about a semester or so and I was back to the drawing board (pun not intended).
I pondered it some more and figured a business degree was the way to go primarily because I assumed it would allow for a wide range of career options. As for my major, I selected accountancy since it’s essentially the “language of business” (if you understand the financials you understand the company). I stuck with it this time and graduated Summa Cum Laude (with highest honors).
How many millions of business majors are there? Lots. I decided I needed to further distinguish myself and obtained my MBA from a nationally ranked business school. It was a costly pursuit, but I think I can safely say it’s paid off.
In the meantime, I held various positions in public accounting and in the mutual fund and banking industries. While some positions and companies were more tolerable than others, my job has always felt like just that – a job. Right now I’m a senior financial analyst at a Fortune 50 company and it’s more or less the same mundane situation.
Job Burnout – Why Am I Tired Of My Career?
- Not Making a Difference – I crunch numbers, make some accounting entries, manage financial statements, and forecast results. At the end of the day, my contributions get sucked up and lost in the corporate vacuum. So what if a project I worked on saved $10 million when the company has billions in profit? And who am I really benefiting anyway? Nameless, faceless shareholders? The intrinsic satisfaction is missing. I’m not saying I want to go join the peace corps to “change the world” (nothing wrong with that by the way!). I just need more value from my work…something to feel passionate about…something to look forward to each day.
- Don’t Feel Like Playing the “Corporate Game” – Straight up, I’m not a fan of what I term the “corporate game.” Schmooze with right people and you go to the top. Don’t make the right allies and you’re destined to toil away at the lower levels (mid-management at best). Add to it that you’re just a number to the company. They’ll lay you off in a moment’s notice without even batting an eye.
- Disrespected – I’ll remain vague here, but my responsibilities have nearly tripled over the past year yet I’ve been given no promotion. The worst part is I know all of my counterparts with the same exact job description are scoped higher than me. I broached the topic several times – my manager even admits my case is “strong” – but nothing ever happens. I get the run around and mumbo jumbo about budget constraints and even “other people need to be fixed first.” Talk about disheartening. It’s the stuff from which a job burnout is made!
Options To Overcome My Job Burnout
- Status Quo – I could do nothing and keep riding it out which is what I’ve been doing for a while now. I don’t really view this as a sustainable option seeing as how my job burnout is intensifying as time progresses. Likelihood: Low
- Internal Job Switch – The company I work for is large and there are plenty of other finance opportunities. There’s also options in similar business support/analytics roles. With my MBA I could probably move into marketing or some ancillary field. The problem I have here is that I feel any such move would result in the same ultimate situation…same corporate environment, same silly problems, different faces with which to deal. Likelihood: Medium
- Leave for a Different Employer – Jump ship, right? I’ve talked to a few co-workers recently and the conversation went something like, “say, you know Horatio Hornblower? Yeah, he left and went to Awesome Company. He’s making more money and he’s less busy!” Sounds too good to be true. The grass is always greener on the other side. That’s not to say I couldn’t find a worthwhile and better opportunity elsewhere. I believe I could, but the search would be pretty exhausting and, in the end, I’m hesitant the end result would find me playing the “corporate game” yet again (job burnout once more). Likelihood: Medium
- Career Change – I’ll go ahead an acknowledge the fact that technically I could make a complete career change. Doing so would most likely require going back to school. I’m not at all wild about taking that path (and accumulating another round of student loans!). Plus, I would need to identify an area of extreme passion and I still haven’t found that (I guess I could give architecture another shot ;-)) Likelihood: None
- Turn Side Hustle/Online Income Into Full Time Self Employment – This is by far the most appealing, but also the most unrealistic especially considering I just began my blogging journey. I’ve scoured many a blog and the range of success is fairly staggering. Some are earning 6 figures in just a few years while others appear to be grossing a few hundred dollars per month after years of dedication. So, it’s quite difficult to gauge the feasibility of this option. Could I be one of the ones who achieves big things or will I end up among the majority who never make it in the blogosphere? Likelihood: High (that I will try); Low (that it will be an actual solution to my job burnout)
Kicking Job Burnout in the Butt: My 5 year goal
Let’s get straight to the point here – within 5 years I want to be a full time online entrepreneur. I realize that’s a long time from now. While patience is a virtue, I should get a sense much sooner if that goal is truly attainable. Right now I don’t have a detailed plan on how I’ll accomplish this aspiration. That doesn’t matter yet though. I’ll figure it out as time progresses and I’ll be sure to share it here at Personal Finance Utopia. Stick around and see how I fare!
Does anyone feel my pain? If yes, what are you doing to remedy? Have you overcome job burnout previously? How did you do it?