Setbacks and Ego.
This year has handed me some of my first ever major professional setbacks. When my department was hiring a new engineer, I was initially in the running to be the person to whom that new recruit reported. Instead, they were hired as a peer. This means that my career plan being in charge of engineering for operational improvement at MECMC is in jeopardy. In fact, I think it has vaporized.
I am a program manager in a successful department at a prestigious research institution. You’d think I’d be pleased. But now, with the feeling of a ceiling above me being slotted into permanent place at my current station, I am starting to wonder if I shouldn’t be pursuing other options. Maybe I should be looking to move to be with BB. Maybe I should be considering different career paths.
Maybe I should accept that the occasional professional setback is normal and ordinary, and I should take it in stride. I’m not special. I shouldn’t expect to have an endlessly rising tone to my career. But I’ve had setback after setback this year and I’m feeling demoralized and frustrated.
What I need to couple that with is that I’m not a very good manager in this kind of department. I know how to be and academic mentor, but despite training and coaching, I’m just not very good at the management and organization of a department. And I don’t like it. It feels like constant busy work taking me away from what I’m good at. I want to keep ascending, but that takes me further and further from what I’m good and and into things I dislike.
I want to be important and I want to make more money and I want to have a position of influence, but I’m not good at the things I need to be good at to make those things happen. And I want it all to happen immediately and I have a bad concept of a time frame for these things. People have been elevating me and accelerating me my whole life and maybe I’ve found the place from which I should no longer climb.
Maybe I’m just being a spoiled little kid. “If they’re not going to catapult me upwards, I’ll take my ball and go play somewhere else.” My ego is like that. But I’m feeling like I can’t do what I’ve been given to do, at the same time as I want more responsibility and greater sphere of influence. I need to stop, quiet, and ease off.
Serenity comes from humility. Being right-sized for where I am and what I need. Right now, I need to get better at what I’m doing rather than try to continue accelerating upwards. That’s embarrassing. I feel stupid and incompetent. I’m not sure how to do what I need to do, learn what I need to learn, or achieve what I want to achieve. I need to practice my AA principles. Be humble. Practice acceptance.