Friday, July 21, 2006

Part 1: Venting the Invective

This is not where I'm supposed to be.

I've been out of college for six years and married for a month and a half, and we're just over two weeks removed from my 29th birthday. In my formative years, I never envisioned myself still being in the "just starting out" phase financially at this late date, and yet that's exactly where I find myself. I've plugged along gamely for the past couple of years, trusting that a break would come along at some point that would make things easier. It hasn't happened yet, and I'm fed up. It's time to make something happen.

I honestly felt like such a break had come along when I took the job I have now, and while I haven't totally given up hope that it may turn out that way, such hope is ebbing. I took a pay cut from an already poor-paying position in order to take this job, lured by the promise of advancement, pay raises, and bonuses. Indeed, I've experienced all three, to one degree or another, and I'm still bringing home a salary that is, frankly, embarrassing and borderline insulting. I can't really complain too much, I suppose, because, looking back, I really screwed myself by accepting such a low starting salary. I did try to negotiate for something more, but I wasn't as aggressive as I could/should have been, and thus I didn't get it. I'm glad, though, that I didn't take a hard line that would have risked my getting the job, as the company at which I was previously employed has since moved out of the area.

At any rate, I've been doing this now for well over a year and a half, waiting for something more to come my way, and I've gotten to a point where I just don't see it happening. And while I know I deserve more than what I'm making, I don't necessarily want to suggest that they should just up and offer me more money without any added responsibilities. I'm ready for more, and they aren't shy about adding stuff to people's plates. Not mine, though, at least not for a while--I added some graphics responsibilities over a year ago, and there's been nothing else thrown my way since then. I'm approaching the length of service when my predecessors in this position were moved out of it, so things could change at a moment's notice, and I'm fully prepared for that if and when it happens. I just don't know that there is another place for me in this company in which I'm interested, short of moving over to graphics full time. That's not going to happen, though, because I would need extensive training, as my background is not in that area, and because the graphics department is currently fully staffed. Beyond that, once the novelty wore off, I think that would be just as boring as my current job--just the same old thing, month after month, with very little room for creativity. And there's no guarantee that the money would be sufficiently better anyway, and that's what I'm really concerned with at this point.

I hate bitching about money. Usually it doesn't even factor into my state of mind at all, but we're approaching a critical mass here. And I don't care to be rich. Sure, I'd like to be--who wouldn't?--but that's not what I'm getting at right now. I see my friends and other people my age buying cars and houses, or having kids, whereas I'm trying to decide between paying rent and buying groceries. Okay, so that's an overstatement, but it illustrates my point. I just want to get to a point where I make enough that I don't have to worry about money ALL THE TIME.

And there's money to be had at this place. Oh, yes indeed. Each month in our departmental meeting we're told how many millions of dollars the company has brought in, and how our sales continue to exceed expectations and projections. Now, we are doing quite a bit of growing and expanding, and I realize that a good deal of those profits are being reinvested in the company, but at what point do the rewards start to trickle down to the employees? I know I'm not the only one with the feeling of "I don't make enough to continue living," but I also get the feeling that some of my co-workers are doing at least relatively well.

So I'm throwing it all out there. If something should happen in my current job to change my situation, so be it, but it's time to stop depending on it. This weekend I'm making sure the resume is updated, and I'm actively beginning a search for a new job. I need to stay in the Toledo area for the time being due to Brandi being in grad school right now, but if anyone out there knows of any interesting openings, I'd love to hear about them.

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