This week, I marked a pretty significant milestone: my five-year anniversary with healthsystemCIO.com. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but to me, it’s huge. You see, until I started working with Anthony, I was what you might call a job-hopper. About every two years, I sought — and found — greener pastures.
Now, before you dismiss me as a stereotypical fickle Gen Xer, let me explain. I’ve spent my entire career in publishing, a field that’s about as stable as George Steinbrenner’s temperament. And although working for newspapers and publications is exciting, it also means mediocre pay, a revolving door of bosses, and having everything hinge on whether ads are sold. And it often means that the only way to move up, sadly, is to move out.
So I did. Again and again — not just because I wanted to take on more responsibility and earn more money, but because I wanted to contribute and be heard. So I’d get aggravated, find a new job, and things would start out fine. I’d arrive brimming with concepts for articles and new site features, hungry to learn all I could about the publication.
But each time, the earth would drop out from under me. Of course it never happened right away; in fact, it was so gradual I barely noticed. Over time, my fresh ideas were put on the back burner, and the brainstorming meetings I was promised morphed into one-way conversations where we were told what to write about.
And it’s not always a major issue like a promotion that doesn’t happen (although that can grate on your soul). It’s the seemingly little things that can chip away at an employee’s happiness. Like when the privilege of being able to work remotely is taken away, or when the office stays open in a blizzard, or when requests for personal days are denied.
It all starts to pile up, and before you know it, the hunger is gone. It’s happened to me quite a few times. And trust me, for an overachiever to find herself doing “just enough” is downright soul-sucking.
Of course, I had always hoped I’d find a position — and a company — where my voice would be heard, and where I’d feel valued. I always believed that if I found that right situation, I wouldn’t feel the itch every two years.
And then, in the summer of 2011, I met Anthony for a drink. At this point I had been doing freelance work for healthsystemCIO.com, and so I figured we were just meeting to catch up. But when I told him about my frustrations at my current job, he took me by surprise. Instead of encouraging me to seek a better opportunity, he asked if I could stick it out for another six months or so. When I asked why, he told me that he wanted to bring me aboard at the start of 2012.
I was elated. It was the conversation — and the opportunity — I had been waiting for. And I’m happy to say that five years later, I still feel happy. Because in that time, I feel I’ve grown as a writer and editor. I’m able to contribute to a high-quality product, and I finally have the autonomy that enables me to thrive.
Of course, it hasn’t been all wine and roses. I’ve proposed ideas that have flopped, I’ve made not-so-small mistakes, and we as a company have had to weather some storms.
But it’s all been worth it, because at the end of the day, I know that I’m at the right place, with the right people. I’m at a place where I can be my best professional self.
And to me, it doesn’t get greener than that.