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Career Crossroads

July 20, 2011

For those readers who might not know me personally, professional success is extremely important to me. It doesn’t have to do with money or how others perceive me. It has to do with the fact that I spend 40 hours a week somewhere. I might as well make it worth my while.

I was fortunate to graduate from college in 2009 and have a full-time job. To grow professionally, I am involved in a couple of professional organizations: Connect Young Professionals through the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce to network locally, and the STC Carolina chapter to network regionally and the Society for Technical Communication to network globally within my field.

I work for Capsugel, a company that specializes in “innovative dosage solutions,” as a global technical documentation specialist. What does this mean to you? I’m the one who writes the instruction manuals for the equipment that is used to manufacture, print, and sort capsules. The shorter job title would have been technical writer, but when I picked out my job title, I thought something longer would sound better (and hopefully make me more valuable in the eyes of the company). I don’t think it fooled our human resources.

I have a great supervisor who allows me to manage myself. I feel the need to give updates (about once a month) more often than he probably cares to get them. As long as no one is asking questions about the documentation or complaining about the document management system, he seems happy. He defends my decisions and supports my continuous search for improvements.

My coworkers are easy to get along with. The benefits and pay are the best I have ever had and very competitive in this economy. I should be happy.

So why do I feel so unfulfilled?

Perhaps it is because I have conquered the three major challenges in my work: increasing document security, increasing document accessibility, and increasing document readability. Perhaps it is because there is not a clear career path within the company. (There might be a lateral move eventually, but no direct vertical moves.) Perhaps it is because there are days when the only human interaction I have is during my lunch break. Perhaps it is because I am concerned about the effect our acquisition by KKR will have on my job. Perhaps I need changes in my environment more often than I should. (This is the longest I have ever stayed in one place at only 3.5 years.)

So what do I do?

I wait.

What else can I do? I need to develop more skills to move on to almost anything else. I must try to find more value and opportunities in my current position.

And I learn.

There are other specialties in communications I would like to consider in the future. So I am trying to increase my knowledge and get practice where I can. I am attempting to build a writing and design portfolio.

And I read.

My list of books to read is growing faster than I can keep up:

And I write.

I am trying to blog a little more often. I am working on a fun article to submit to a family magazine. (I don’t have high hopes, but it would be exciting to be published!) I have even worked on a little—very little—poetry.

Writing helps me polish my grammar and style skills while also encouraging my creative side.

And I listen.

I stay active in social networks, online and in real life. I follow some amazing people on Twitter. I read industry magazines. I attend webinars. I pay attention to colleagues at work. I watch relevant presentations online.

And?

And so I have an interesting journey ahead of me. I look forward to finding a path where I can connect outside of my employer. I look forward to finding  a subject about which I can be passionate . I look forward to learning more about communication. I look forward to whatever may come next.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2011 8:54 am

    Hi Jamie!
    I’m honored that Clout is part of your reading list. To me, it sounds like you’ll be in wonderful position to take on a new challenge and opportunity when you spot it. Enjoy being in such good position–you worked hard to earn it.
    Colleen

    • July 23, 2011 6:01 pm

      Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your words of encouragement.

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