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Podcast Episode 009: "I've Given Up On My Dream Career. Where Do I Go From Here?"

Episode 009: “I’ve Given up on My Dream Career. Where Do I Go From Here?”



Today we answer a letter from Patreon Donor Julia, who feels lost after making a big change of direction in her life.

Today’s question

“I’m twenty-one years old and I was in college majoring in biology, but I was just miserable and had to leave. But all I ever wanted to do was science, and now I’m really struggling with what to do next. I was paying for classes as I went (as much as I could, anyway) so I only have one loan to pay off. But I just really don’t know what I want to do with my life. I’ve worked in retail and foodservice and I hated it. I’ve been applying to daycare centers because I like kids, but I haven’t heard back from any of them. Any advice you could give me on finding a direction would be very much appreciated.”

This question made our hearts heavy. We hate to see a twenty-one-year-old sounding so lost and resigned. Because twenty-one is so young! You’re an adult when you’re twenty-one, but like, it’s the toddler stage of adulthood. The world won’t always feel so intimidating and impenetrable.

Our Boomer parents would certainly tell her to fOlLoW hEr DrEaM, dAmN tHe CoNsEqUeNcEs. But obviously we have to bring a more nuanced answer than that.

Allow us to remind all of our young listeners that…

  • Cs are passing grades. They are enough. Let yourself step down off the hamster wheel of your own demanding expectations.
  • College curricula can be more challenging than the “real world” career you’re preparing you for.
  • Piggy and I graduated from college ten years ago, and in the last decade, the number of employers who have expressed a desire to know our letter grades in college is absolute zero—a thermodynamic state once thought to be merely theoretical! SCIENCE!
  • Some careers are challenging to pursue because they’re vanishingly rare and impossibly glamorous: professional video game player, A-list film actor, high-end vibrator tester, etc. But other careers are challenging to pursue because they require a lot of intelligence, persistence, and education: biologist, surgeon, high-end vibrator engineer. Shake the former, push the latter.
  • STEM fields will remain overwhelmingly male so long as women and nonbinary folks lack mentors and programs to help them through the doubt.
  • Sometimes you wanna quit because you know yourself, and you’ve made a mature and informed decision about what’s best for you. Other times you wanna quit because you’re scared of failure, or scared of success, or unsure how to move forward. You will spend a lot of your young adulthood learning to spot the difference between the two.
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Podcast Episode 001: "Should I tell my boss I'm looking for another job?"

Episode 001: “Should I Tell My Boss I’m Looking for Another Job?”



That’s right. We’ve already teased this information, but it’s true.

Piggy and I stared deeply into each other’s eyes, communicated our love and dedication from a realm beyond words, pulled the condom off, and decided to make a podcast baby together. Here’s hoping it inherits her lustrous hair and my mighty wrists, which can open any jar!

Listen above—or look for Bitches Get Riches in the podcast app of your choice!

Today’s Question

When, if ever, is it good/OK to tell people you’re job hunting in your current place of employment? For example, is it ever a good/OK idea to: tell a friendly coworker, either just for moral support, or to ask them to keep an eye out for opportunities, or help you brainstorm your strengths so you can position yourself well for what’s next?

What about with a superior at your current job? Is there a useful way to bring this up in the form of negotiation to get something you want at your current job? Or does it just put you at risk to let them know you’re looking elsewhere? I have been told that in the world of academia, it’s typical to tell your institution that you’ve been invited to interview elsewhere in order to renegotiate your position. But it’s hard for me to picture doing this in working environments I’ve been in.

Special shoutout to Patreon donor V.B. for this question. And props in general to all of our Patreon donors, who gave us so much valuable feedback on our pilot episode.

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For the socially awkward among us, quitting a job is as painful and difficult as shaving one's legs with a pair of dentures.

How to Quit a Job: Giving Notice with Dignity, Poise, and Tastefully Subtle Shade

For the socially awkward among us, quitting a job can seem more painful and difficult than shaving one’s legs with a pair of dentures. I should know: I’m generally an anxious wreck and I overthink everything! (Also I nick myself every time I try to shave around my knees, but that’s neither here nor there.)

It’s not the prospect of switching from one job to another that’s tough. It’s the idea of surprising another human with news that will affect their daily operations. It’s having to give a reason, explain the situation, look them in the eye and say “I’m changing things.”

The very thought reduces me to a puddle of quivering nerve endings. Not a good look.

Perhaps changing your identity, burning down the office building, and moving to Kathmandu would just be easier for everyone involved.

It’s not. But it sure is tempting!

I’ve recently had some experience with this awful process (quitting, not arson). And I’m going to share what I learned with you. Because that’s what we do here at Bitches Get Riches, where every aspect of career navigation is overthought and dissected for the benefit of the masses!

So let’s get down with the who, what, where, when, and how of quitting a job. It’s easier than you think.

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I'm nervous to publish this. But you know what? It's okay to talk about your failures.

Confession: I Hate My Job and I Don’t Know How to Leave It

I don’t fancy myself a hypocrite. And yet I haven’t been practicing what I preach.

We talk a lot about career advancement as a path to financial independence here. You’ve got to angle for promotions and ask for raises and, most importantly, switch jobs on the regular.

And yet I’ve been stuck at the same company for almost eight years.

And I don’t want to be.

In that time, I’ve been promoted three times and I’ve received multiple raises. But it’s a small publishing house on a metaphorically small, remote island within the broader publishing industry.

And unless my boss gets torn apart by angry maenads sometime soon, I’ve literally reached the top of the ladder here. There’s nowhere else to go within my company, and very few options for other publishing jobs in the area.

I feel trapped. I feel like a failure. I’m bored, directionless, and frustrated. I want to enjoy going to work again. I want to feel challenged and get paid more.

So because I’m feeling rather… truthsome right now, I want to dissect my current career stagnation. I want to confess my failures and seek absolution. People of the Internet, be gentle with me.

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