Back in June, my commute was chopped in half. My employer had been leasing a floor in the Random House building at 56th and Broadway, but due to general agency growth (and our landlord evicting us) we ended up moving to the Parent Holding Company building downtown in TriBeCa, at 6th and Canal. This reduced my commute by five of the ten miles that I had been biking on the rare occasions I still rode into work.
Apparently though, that wasn’t short enough. On November 30th, I’ll start working at a different agency: one that is 0.8mi closer still to home, reducing my commute even further to 4.2mi by bike (albeit a slightly longer time on a less speedy subway).
Obviously, shortening my commute by a further 20% isn’t an incentive to change jobs though. I’ve been at my current agency for over four years, a long time in my industry. And at some point this year, I realized my career growth had flattened into stagnation. I haven’t had the right circumstances to actually move forward into the next level of account management, to get better at what it is I do for a living, for almost two years. I joke a lot that my job is “glorified project manager crossed with Liz Lemon” but the reality is, I have not had the opportunity to do my best work in the last year and a half, nor have I had the right path to grow and become a better leader.
There is also a certain element of fear at play as well. The digital marketing industry feels like Logans Run sometimes, a youth focused culture where the only people over forty are senior management. If I’m not moving forward in my career, I worry that my age will become a liability. Perhaps this is fear of aging more than an actual perception, but it’s one I’ve offset by getting promoted on a regular basis every two to three years. (It should be noted I also wear makeup, but refuse to dye my hair or consider any sort of Botox or Juvederm because why should I have to pump poison into my body to create an image of youth? This entire society is messed up but that’s a whole other story.)
Mostly though, I’ve just been lacking in job satisfaction. I don’t have challenges I can solve; I have challenges that become quagmires. I don’t bounce into work and settle into a flow state where I use my experience and expertise all day to produce any sort of meaningful work. Instead, I drag myself in and spend the day competing for scraps of an overstretched team, feeling like there is no progress to be made, which in turn, makes me feel like I’m not even good at my job anymore. And I know I’m good at my job. So when a recruiter from an even bigger media agency came knocking, I answered, hoping it would be the proverbial window opening to returning to a more positive situation. And as I went through round after round of interviews, I actually got excited about moving to a new agency, and, by contrast, realized how unhappy I was at my current one.
As Paul says, this is why we moved to New York City, so if I am not happy in my job, I can literally walk down the street for a new one. I will now have the opportunity to apply my endless curiosity to a new client, build relationships with a new team, take on new challenges, learn from new people. I’m psyched. And I’m lucky. I have the extreme luxury of having “job satisfaction” be a factor in my life, something I have control over. Only in NYC do I have this, only at the center of the media buying universe can I have this many options, and only here can I work with the top talent of my craft.
My last day at my current employer is November 21st. My first day at my new job is November 30th. Change is always terrifying and exciting, but I look forward to it anyways.