Searching For Satisfaction

Archive for the ‘career’ Category

Today is a very busy day for me.

Today is interview day.

This morning I am interviewing technicians to serve as my hands on the big project I’ve been managing at my job. The method we are bringing online in very involved & requires a lot of hands-on time, time that I simply don’t have. So my boss finally got the powers that be to approve hiring a technician, so I will no longer be chained to this project #yay

I’ve been an interviewer before a few times, but it’s always interesting to be the one conducting the interview.

Especially today.

After I conduct interviews, I’m driving across town to interview for a position.

That’s right, I will be both the interviewer and the interviewee in the span of about 3 hours.

I’m not sure if I want this job, moreso because I don’t want to make another hasty, ill-planned move. I want my next move to be a better move…and moving to my current job was not. I do not want to repeat this experience, so I have to do a better job of ascertaining whether a position is an upgrade or a downgrade. I do not want to jump to a new position solely to get out of a bad situation.

But in the meantime…I have an interview.

Wish me luck!

 

Ever taken a Myers-Briggs Test?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality inventory questionnaire, and it’s often used as part of an overall job/career assessment. Knowing your Myers-Briggs type can help you figure out what careers you’re best suited for, as well as just give you general information about your personality, and your outlook on the world.

Myers-Briggs has 4 dichotomies:

  • Extraversion – Introversion
  • Sensing – Intuition
  • Thinking – Feeling
  • Judgement – Perception

How you score in each of the four dichotomies makes up your overall Myers-Briggs type, which is made up of letters from all four dichotomies. So for example, you’ll hear people refer to themselves as an ESTP or an INTJ.

I took the Myers-Briggs the other day, because the attorney mentioned it, and I realized that I hadn’t taken it since I was in high school. I knew I was an “E” given my super-extroverted nature, but I wasn’t sure about the rest of my type.

If you wanna take the Myers-Brigg, try this one: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

So what is Jubi’s type? I’m an ENFP, also known as a Champion, which fits under the Idealist grouping.

Champions are:

  • rare – only 3-4% of the population
  • very in touch with their emotions & the emotions of others
  • view life as a great drama & strive to have new experiences
  • very individualistic
  • often write or speak to share truth & knowledge with others
  • have strong intuitive powers
  • are observers & able to observe/read other people
  • are very good with people & have strong personal relationships
  • are very good in public, especially speaking in public
  • are spontaneous & dramatic

Champions often find careers as a counselor, teacher, writer, journalist, publicists, advertising execs, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and inventors.

I’d say that my Myers-Briggs type describes me well 😉 I’m extremely extroverted; I draw my energy from other people and I love to socialize with others. I am a very emotional person; as I get older I’ve learned how to rely on my emotional intelligence & intuitions as it relates both my life & also in my dealings with other people. As many of my friend’s know, I’m an inquisitive person, and I love to study other people, either through questions or simply through observation. Spontaneity & the desire to constantly have new experiences are definitely a part of my personality.

As for the careers part, well let’s see…I’m currently I’m a scientist/engineer. Over the past few years (especially the last year) I’ve embraced the writer in me & discovered my voice. And my ultimate goal is to be an entrepreneur…looks like all of that fits right in with my personality type.

Have you ever done the Myers-Briggs? What’s your personality type? Does it describe you?

Since last summer, when I first admitted to myself that I was unhappy in my career & needed a change, I’ve been considering the idea of going back to school. At various times I’ve been flip-flopping between a strong interest/desire to go back to school, and a strong aversion to additional schooling. Right now, I’m back on the “I might need to go back to school” side of the pendulum.

Currently I hold a BS and MS in chemistry. Lots of technical training, but that’s it. I’m very good technically at what I do, but now I have additional interests & areas that I want to master, that are way outside of my training. Areas like business development, entrepreneurship, finance, accounting, marketing, and management/HR. I’m not expecting to be an expert in all those areas, but right now I don’t even have a foundation in those areas, beyond what I’ve picked up in my almost 5 years in the corporate world. Right now I can’t really transition out of engineering & into the types of positions I want, because I only have a technical background, with no formal business training. In order to move out of engineering/sciences, which I desperately want to do, I either need some formal training, or someone to take a chance on me & allow me to learn on the job.

My ultimate goal is to own my own business – actually several businesses. I want to control my own destiny. I don’t mind hard-work at all, in fact, I enjoy it. But I want the fruit of those labors to directly benefit me, in more ways than simply a salary and benefits from an employer. If I’m going to give my effort and my time, I want it to be for me & mine, not simply to line the pockets of executives & investors. I won’t work 80-hour weeks for my current job, but I definitely will for my own business.

So why am I on the fence about going back for the MBA? Well there are a couple of factors. First, there is the money problem. I have more than enough student loan debt, and I am not interested in adding to it. In my perfect world, I wouldn’t have to pay a dime for my MBA, and I’d really like to make that happen. I am a realist & I know that’s hard to do, and that’s why I’m hesitant. One option is doing a part-time MBA program & utilizing a tuition reimbursement program through my employer. My current employer changed their tuition reimbursement program, and they now require a 5 year commitment AFTER the completion of the last class is completed, and with a 3-year program, that’s 8 years that I would have to stay #nobueno. So if I want to go the tuition reimbursement route, I have to change employers.

I’m also on the fence because of my age. I will be 29 in July, and if I decide to do a full-time program, the soonest I could begin is Fall 2012, and I would be 30. I’d graduate when I was 32. Do I really want to be in my 30s and back in school? Would I be deemed “too old”? Can I be a grown-up & go back to the life of a poor graduate student? I remember that life, and it was hard enough in my early 20’s. Now I have grown-up bills & responsibilities & I’m not sure if my finances can handle it. I’m not sure if my ego can handle being a 30+ year old graduate student.

My final hesitation about getting the MBA is simply if it is worth it. I know that I don’t want to be a cog in the corporate wheel for the rest of my life. I know I want to do my own thing & be my own boss. Will an MBA help me on that path, or will it simply train me to work for someone else & be a slave to a system that I’m desperate to escape from? I don’t want to spend 2-3 years and thousands of dollars on a piece of paper that won’t help me get to my ultimate goal. I don’t want to waste my time or my money, and I refuse to do so. I know that all the advice in the world won’t be able to guarantee that the time & money spent on an MBA is worth it in achieving my life goals…but it will help me decide whether or not I’m willing to take a chance on an MBA.

So here’s where I ask for advice…if you were in my position, what would you do? Given what I want to do, is an MBA worth it? Should I be worried about being a 30+ year old MBA student? And most important – any suggestions on how I can get my MBA paid for?

My dismal work situation has been the topic of several posts lately, including this one where I felt extremely disrespected at work & almost quit on the spot. Since that incident in December, it seems like folks have been at least attempting to stay on my good side & be more respectful.

A few weeks ago, I got an email saying that I received an award, similar to a bonus, as a thank you for all the extra work I had done for a big project. #Yay, finally some recognition of the work that I’ve been doing for folks. Instead of just giving cash, my company allows you to choose a giftcard from one of hundreds of stores for your award. I decided to get a Barnes & Noble giftcard, and I used it towards this:

That’s right – I got a NOOKcolor!

Months ago I made a list of Five Gadgets on my Wish List, and a E-reader was on the top of the list. I got a chance to play with my friend’s NOOKcolor while I was in Atlanta & I really liked it. When the opportunity presented itself to get one, I jumped at it #yay.

Incidently, I also got a new Blackberry Bold a few weeks ago, so I can scratch two items off that list.

Are any of you NOOK users? What tips do I need to know? Any good sites for books? Let me know!

Yeah...I'm ready to leave this place behind...

Its January, and I’m about two weeks away from my first anniversary at the new job. Its been quite an experience, full of ups & downs. On the plus side, this job got me out of Florida & back to Minneapolis, which made my non-work life become much more enjoyable. On the minus side, I discovered that I don’t like this job, I don’t want to be a chemist any longer, and working for a large company is no longer for me.While I’m thankful to have a job in this economy, I don’t want to waste my time in a job & career that makes me unhappy.

Since the summer I’ve been thinking about a career change, and I’ve explored several different options. Option #1 was going back to school for a second advanced degree. I looked at several programs – MBA, science public policy & human resources. Three very different areas, but all represent a facet of Jubi & my interests. In the end, I decided against going back to school, at least right now. I would go back to school if I could get funding, and in each of those programs, its hard to come by, at least full funding is. And I wasn’t eager about both going back to the life of a broke graduate student & the possibility of adding to my student loan debt.

Option #2 is entrepreneurship. This is still on the table & something I really want to do at some point in my life. Growing up, I saw my parents run a home business, and it was a great learning experience for me. I have several ideas that I’d like to get started with: making money from my blogging; social media consulting; and a niche travel business targeted to women of color. Blogging & social media are both things I already do & am passionate about, the key for me is finding how spin those into a business that puts money in my bank account. As for the travel business, it’s an idea that I’ve been kicking around with LM for a while, and I really think it’s a money-maker. She may not embark on that journey with me, but I’m committed to seeing it through & making it happen.

Option #3 is simply getting a new job. Out of the 3, this is the option that is most likely in the short-term. What I want to do is to take my transferable skills and apply them in a new area. Lots of new careers are on the table: project manager, technical writing, technical recruiting, technical sales, etc. I really just want to take the skills I already have & move them to a new area where I can learn new things & try my hand at something else.

So what are my skills? Well let’s divide them into transferable & non-transferable.

Non-transferable skills:

  • Polymer chemistry specifics – polymerization reactions, materials properties, etc.
  • Instrumentation – chromatography – IC, HPLC, GC-MS, GPC/SEC; microscopy – SEM, optical; spectroscopy – XRD, XPS, XRF, FTIR UV-VIS, NMR; thermal analysis – DMA, TMA, TGA, DSC; other – TOC.
  • Laboratory skills – wet chemistry techniques – columns/TLC, extractions, various reaction methods, distillations, etc.
  • Thin film chemistry coatings knowledge

Transferable skills:

  • Project management – I’ve gained a lot of experience in this area the last two years of my career. Starting with the initial definition of the project, getting buy-in from all parties, setting budgets & timelines, meeting deadlines, keeping all team members engaged & on-task, and ending with the project report out. I’ve learned how to use different types of software & techniques to keep projects on task, within budget, and how to track potential issues & decision areas.
  • Communication – Blogging has really helped with my writing skills, both technically & just in terms of prose. I’ve developed an ability to take very dense technical information & relate it to those who have little to no technical background so that they can grasp the high level concepts without being bogged down in the details. I would love to do something with this skill. Beyond writing, I have excellent presentation skills – in college I won a technical presentation contest two years in a row,, and I’ve gotten even better since then.
  • People skills – Being an extrovert & also a person who connects easily with others, I have the ability to build a rapport with people very easily. I enjoy working with people, and helping others be successful. I’ve found that the times where I’m able to talk to people, and really engage with them, is when I most enjoy what I’m doing.
  • Analytical skills – Being a scientist & working virtually as an engineer for almost five years, I’ve really honed my analytical skills. I am able to absorb large amounts of information, discern what I need for the task at hand, and make decisions often with limited information. I approach problems & projects with a logical, analytical thought process.
  • Creativity – A lot of people don’t realize the amount of creativity that goes into a laboratory career. Everyday I’m tasked with thinking outside the box & coming up with novel ideas.

My concern now is how to highlight those skills on my resume. I’ve been revamping it a few times this year, and I’d like to create a resume that highlights my skills instead of my work experience & what I’ve accomplished at each job. That’s a functional resume, right? I’ve never written one, so I’d love some tips if you’ve done one before.

My goal for the first six months of 2011 is to work on both options #2 & #3, with the focus being more on the transition to a new career first. Have any of you done it before? Any tips or strategies to use? I know that I can’t rely solely on an online search this time, I have to get out and network. So far I’ve met with two very helpful people who have given me a lot of advice & helped me make connections. Beyond that, I’m not sure what else to do. Or how I can prove that I would be an asset in a position that isn’t technical, given my almost five years of technical experience.

Wish me luck!

*sigh*

This week I’ve already been feeling feisty, and I kind of snapped yesterday in the office.

So for those who aren’t aware, I’m a polymer chemist, tho currently I run an analytical chemistry lab. Obviously that means I do testing for other people, mostly other engineers & scientists. In my group, there’s my boss, then my counterpart & I who report to my boss, and then 3 technicians who are supervised by my counterpart (we’ll call him CP for short). I don’t report to CP, we are parallels & we both report to the boss.

All year I’ve had a problem with people going to CP when they need testing done, because its the testing that I do. So essentially he’s just serving as an intermediary – he’s not doing any of the actual work, for whatever reason people just want to keep him in the loop and not me. So then he has to disseminate the information to me & then I have to follow up. Add to that, several people have erroneously assumed that I report to CP, as if I’m one of his technicians instead of his coworker. I’ve also dealt with an issue of requestors asking me for testing at the last minute, which is way more involved that than think & requires that I drop everything I’m doing to solve their immediate crisis.

In the most recent incident, which occurred yesterday, I was informed about some testing once again through CP. The requestor then comes to me with some additions, doesn’t actually ASK me to do the testing (and yall know I’m a stickler for words like “please” and “thank you”) and then expects me to drop everything to get them what they need by a certain time. This same requestor also asked me if I reported to CP about a month ago, and seemed genuinely surprised to hear that I didn’t. Ugh, I’m getting mad again just typing all of this out.

Then it got even worse! I got the additions done…and the next thing I know, MY BOSS’S BOSS comes up to me & tells me I did the samples wrong! o_o WTF? Yes, said requestor threw me under the bus in front of my boss’s boss, and instead of him getting the whole story first he decided to reprimand me in public.

Yall, I was thisclose to being the stereotypical Black woman. So I decided to pack it up for the day & try again tomorrow. My boss (the only cool & sane person in this entire story) came by my desk to drop off a sample, took one look at me, and took me back to her office to talk. She assured me that everything I was experiencing was not acceptable & she would make sure that folks knew what the proper chain of command was, and what info should go to what personnel. If my boss hadn’t handled it the way she did, I probably would have thrown them the deuces yesterday #realtalk..

To me, this is all disrespectful & I’m not going to stand for it. Yes, part of my job is to do testing for people, and I’m willing to do so. But I have other responsibilities, and I will not drop everything for folks who come to me at the last minute, especially people who are not appreciative of my efforts & how much work goes into getting them quality data quickly. Plus, I really resent folks assuming that I report to CP – I didn’t spend 4 years in undergrad & 2 years in grad school to be thought of as a technician.

The other factor in this situation is race and gender…I’m the only person of color & 2nd woman in my dept (my boss is the other woman). Everyone who I deal with is a White male, tho they range in age from late 20’s to probably 40’s or 50’s. Is there some subconcious thing going on? IDK – but I do know that no matter the motivation, this behavior is unacceptable.

I don’t handle disrespect well…AT ALL. So today was quite a challenge. I absolutely will not stand for disrespect…so I guess its time to move on, for real.

Ever had a crazy moment in the office? Been disrespected? How did you handle it? Any tips on how to NOT go totally off or end up unemployed before I have a new job?


The Blog

Ever wanted to get into the mind of a young, single, professional Black woman? Well here's your chance. Travel with me on this journey called life as I try to find the elusive state of satisfaction...I promise, it'll be a fun time....
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