I’m beginning to see the end of my “career”. Over 27 years in the same general field of work and it no longer interests me. The anticipation of approaching each new work day as something positive has been replaced with a feeling of at best indifference each morning or at worst a gloomy attitude about my value to the industry I’m in, my co-workers and customers. The bulk of my career was as an employee with the post-divestiture version of AT&T (starting in 1984) only to see it morph/crumble beyond recognition after several spin-offs (Lucent-1996, Avaya-2000). Serious doubts have crept in about the good, if any, the various products we offer really do for society overall. Much of what the industry does depersonalizes the customer-vendor experience. We were/are largely responsible for voice mail, automated response systems (press ‘1’ to hear your account balance) and the ability to provide out-sourced overseas call centers. When starting what became my long run with the AT&T/Lucent/Avaya group, the frequently stated philosophy of the man who hired me was “We’re going to do some work, make some money and have some fun”. For several years as my boss he made sure we did all three and managed to keep them in balance. Since then the money part was pretty consistent even as the work part varied. But some time after 2000 the fun went out of it. Just as troubling is that no one else seemed to notice or care. I’ve sought council with other old-timers from the industry and feel frustrated with their outlook. Though some successfully “retired”(by the age I am now, 49) all have chosen to stay in the same field. They tell me to just smile and keep accepting the paychecks. I suspect having multiple kids headed to or already in college is their main incentive to stay at it. Not me. Depending on whether I’m better off using the standard deduction versus itemizing this year I’m in a comfortable enough financial position to pay off the house and be completely debt free. The idea of making a 90 degree course adjustment in my life in terms of a job so that I can still pay the bills is really attractive at the moment.

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About Marcus

Who me? Introverted, neurotic, self-absorbed, increasingly cynical observer of human nature and part time social critic in hiding. Most of my life spent avoiding growing up. The naive idealistic passions of youth have evolved into the eclectic eccentricities of adulthood. Northeast Florida small-town native, related to people I can't relate to. Simultaneously my own best friend and worst enemy. Politically and spiritually unaffiliated, my personal ideologies put me all over the map or off it completely.
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3 Responses to

  1. felixwas says:

    I was driven by greedheads from a career I used to love, so I understand what you’re saying. Fortunately, I landed in another place that I love. If you have the opportunity to make a similar leap, go for it — but only after you take sober stock of your whole life. If you find that it’s merely the punch-the-clock hours that leave you joyless, then a career shift might be the answer. But if all the bubbles have gone flat in the rest of your champagne, too, then other issues may be at play.

    • marcsuttle says:

      Thanks. Sometimes I think I’m living my life in reverse. The things I enjoy now seem better suited to what I could have been doing in college instead of wearing blinders as I worked toward my engineering degree. A lot of it was the way I was raised but I don’t blame anyone for that. My parents did a good job based on what they knew about life. (mine was/is very different from theirs) I wanted to add a comment to your post this morning about your father but couldn’t find the right words. Basically it made me think about my father and how his life/death continue to affect me.

  2. Just in case you’re interested in getting advice from someone you barely know:
    DO IT!

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