I’m 31 and my career trajectory so far has been cobbled together in a really hodgepodge and non-deliberate manner. I studied marketing (purely because I didn’t know what else to study, and I found it somewhat interesting), then worked in a few related roles before moving into administration in an industry that paid a lot even for admin work, but had nothing to do with my interests.
From there I got a high level assistant role, and through that I got internally headhunted and moved into the projects space. My position is secure, really well paid and I work for a highly reputable company that offers a lot of perks. I feel very privileged/lucky (almost guilty!) that I got here without really intending to.
The first world problem is, I hate it. I can do it, but it’s going to crush my soul. I am introverted and my department really encourages constant verbal engagement at large group forums/meetings, whereas I prefer to percolate on information and then provide my thoughts in a 1:1 or small group setting. I like working autonomously, not having to “information share” and “collaborate” constantly, or attend low value meetings all the time. I think it is the culture that I dislike most of all, but the work itself doesn’t really play to my interests or true strengths either.
My strengths have always been writing, editing/proofing and design & illustration (I have freelanced on the side doing illustration, animation and design etc. for a few years). Word has got around that I have these skills so I will help out other departments with graphic design tasks, even though it is totally out of my scope, purely because I love it so much and am good at it.
I also love helping people. While I am reserved in large groups (and hate them) I can be very social 1:1 or in small groups. Every career fit or personality quiz I’ve ever done has said I’m suited to writing, editing, art/art direction, film, psychology or teaching (in a nutshell).
Is it too late for me to pivot? And even if it’s not too late….how do I work out WHERE to pivot? Advertising was always my dream industry (from age 9 I wanted to be an “advertising designer” – before I knew it was called copywriting and art direction)… but my low confidence in my early 20s stopped me from trying to move in that direction, and it feels too late to try and move into that space now.
I feel way too old to still not quite know what I want to be when I “grow up”, but I have a sense of urgency around figuring this out. I also have a mortgage alone, which means I can’t throw caution to the wind and take a 50k pay cut to follow my heart somewhere unfortunately.
Any advice or stories from people who have been in a similar position would be greatly appreciated… 🙏