Mary, a good friend of mine, sent me an email and asked me if we can chat. Things have not been going well for her lately, and she wanted to talk about it… I said: sure, of course. If friends need time to vent or talk, I make sure that I am there for them. That’s what friends are for.
She told me that she recently broke up with her boyfriend of 3 years. She was very much vested in the relationship. I asked her what the reason for the break-up was. She said that she is approaching 30. Eventually, she wants to settle down and have kids, but the ex-boyfriend is not ready to make that commitment. She didn’t feel that their goals are aligned at this time. Therefore, she called it quits. That took an emotional toll on her. Thinking about putting herself out there again stressed her out. She decided to take a break from dating. I agree that’s the right thing to do for the time being.
Obviously, when it rains, it pours. If it’s not just the personal issue, she has to deal with it, as it turns out the work front is not going well either. She has a new manager. This manager sees her as the most junior and youngest person in the team and automatically assumes that she is not ready for big projects. She always assigns Mary operational tasks such as team meeting arrangements, program manager types of jobs. Mary can do this and can do it well, but she wants to work on something more strategic with more significant impact. She mentioned her concerns to her manager several times, but the manager decided not to do anything about it. She’s concerned that she will not have anything interesting to show, in regards to her marketing experience, on her resume after 2-years into this job.
I let her do most of the talking and venting. I was listening and asking questions. She asked me what I would do in her situation.
I told her that I sense her frustration. I’d be lost if I were her, too. I gave her big kudos for being brave enough to break up the relationship and not dragging on. Not many women can do that so simply and choose to move on that quickly. It will be painful for several months, but it’s the right thing to do in the long run.
On the work front, it’s a little trickier. I told Mary to make another appeal to her manager. Try one last time and let the manager know her desire to take on more strategic projects. There’s a chance it won’t work, but that’s OK.
In the meantime, if I were her, I’d focus on getting all the deliverables done but not so emotionally vested on the current job. Rather than devoting to the job 120%, I told her to change her attitude by focusing on her well-being. If there is something she wants to learn and try, now it’s a good time to do it. Apparently, she always wanted to learn dancing and French, well, now it’s a good time to do both.
At the same time, I said that I’d keep an eye open for other job opportunities within the company. Now, it’s the “wait” time, but she should also proactively explore opportunities. Patiently wait for other opportunities to come along.
I also asked her what kind of work her managers assigned to her. She said that there is mostly scrum project management. I was asking if scrum like agile software development type of scrum. She said yes, and she will be a certified scrum master. I was like “What?” I told her that is HUGE. It will certainly look good on her resume as a certified scrum master.
I also told her that there is Agile Marketing. She should check out Jeff Julian’s Agile Marketing book and Andrea Fryrear’s book, Death of A Marketer. If she positions it right, she can undoubtedly link her Scrum learning to Marketing. I told her project management, and scrum training won’t be wasted efforts. She was delighted to hear that – she did not initially share that perspective. At the end of our conversation, she felt a lot better and more excited about Scrum projects.
I told her to learn as much as she can about the Scrum and Agile approach and take the time to pamper herself whenever possible. She promised me that she would do that. You go, Mary!
In our lives, we tend to have more lows than highs. The key is to create your high points when you are in a low. Change your focus and attitude. No one stays in the low points forever, but you need to proactively make changes to bring the high points back to your life. Sitting around and doing nothing will not help.
Mary reaching out and proactively talking about her issues with me is the first step. Refocusing her energy on her well-being and being open to embrace and learn about scrum is the 2nd step. Paying attention to other opportunities is the 3rd step. She is making an effort. When we are making efforts, the universe is listening. Good things will happen.
Mary, I am thinking of you. I want to know how you are doing in a couple of months. You always have a friend in Portland.
Again, send me your marketing questions or thoughts via Twitter @pamdidner