Friday, January 30, 2009

Dilemma (English post)

{Bu yazının Türkçe versiyonu için tıklayınız, veya bir yukarıdaki post'a gidiniz}

I need some help from my insightful readers. Here is my dilemma:

I am 23, an industrial designer in a country which industrial design is extremely limited. I was a good student, and am generally pretty good at what I do. I have a passion for industrial design; not graphic, not web, not fashion, not interior, not textile. I don't need to work at the moment, I just wanted to work because I wanted to jumpstart my career. But money doesn't hurt as my family isn't rich and eventually I want to start my own design office or move abroad(both require money!). I have been in my current job for 8 months now and it is my first job ever. It is a very big retail company in home development and belongs to both Turkish and foreign partners. I am the only designer in the company, which means I don't have an experienced designer to learn from, and I really need to learn how the design process works in the business world and about production and project finalization. My dilemma is that I have been fantasizing about quitting my job for months now, had been noticing skills that I am missing and need to learn but can't learn here, had decided on a schedule for the following few months to accomplish my goals, and had set the first week of February to give my notice. But before I had a chance to state I wanted to quit, I got a raise! A small one, but you can't just say "I quit" to a boss who just gave you a raise. My dilemma is should I quit or should I wait some more? Because I KNOW I don't want to spend years here, and had planned in the very beginning to quit when I completed my first year here. I'll list the pros and cons of the job:

First, pros:

-It is a respectable company.

-The boss is extremely nice, sweet, smart and understanding. I do not want to burn bridges with her.

-I'm earning some money, not that much but I am able to put 100% of it to bank. Most entry level design jobs in Turkey don't even pay.

-Work hours are 8:30-6:00. It doesn't stretch any longer into the evening for me(I am not that busy), although everyone else in my department(the buyers) stay late despite not getting paid for extra hours.

-There is always a shortage of design jobs in Turkey, now there's the recession on top of that.

-I'm not learning anything but it is work experience on my resumé.

-The days I can see my boyfriend are so rare that he feels like a new man every day, like "50 First Dates".

-My boss said we can come up with a balance between work and my school (master's).


Now, cons:

-Although it is a design job on paper, I don't really get to do actualy design work, I am not learning anything related to design & production that I have to learn in order to have a career in industrial design. I find myself struggling to design textiles and boy, it ain't workin'.

-I feel like I should have been working as an underling to an experienced designer in order to learn things that I need if I want the freelance designing career of my dreams.

-The company has a suppressive websense policy, my web access is limited to blogspot and typepad, I can only do a fraction of the daily research I used to do. You can tell by the lack of blog posts!

-The office is in the middle of nowhere, it is ugly as hell, the whole neighbourhood is ugly and unsafe and I can't even go for a walk in my lunch hour. The windows don't open either. I feel like I am suffocating.

-Because it is in the middle of nowhere, my commute takes nearly one hour in the morning, and another one in the evening. No public transport comes here, we are collected by the company bus which feels like a rodeo. So as a result I leave at 7:30, come home at 7:00, Work takes approx. 12 hours everyday and I have no life. Haha.

-No proper web surfing and being stuck in an ugly office means inspiration is hard to come by.

-The food is so crappy and unhealthy, I have to pack my breakfast, lunch and snacks every day. That takes time!

-I see what I am missing in order to become a more sought-after designer, and some of those are things that I have to take time to learn outside of work.

-I miss my boyfriend, my family, my dog, running in the morning, sleeping, not cursing in the morning, having a life I enjoy.

-I really have to work on my thesis and go to school frequently if I want to get my master's degree!

-There are only 2 weeks of vacation per year. The remaining 50 weeks are all work. That sucks, but that's how it is in Turkey.

-I am only 23 and don't have any responsibilities, if this isn't the time to take risks and start anew, when is??

I have a meeting with my boss next Monday, should I:

a- Tell the boss I want to quit anyway (how do I tell her?)
b- Linger here for another month and tell the boss it isn't working for me
c- Stay here for 3-4 months and finish the year
d-Do I not make sense at all and should stick to this job (and die inside)?

Which option makes more sense?


All images except #3 are from here. #3 source unknown.

14 comments:

miss a. said...

I know what you're going through because I happen to have gone through the same exact thing (except with the big exception of me switching entire careers). As much as I hate my current job and think that it's completely useless, I decided to stick out the year for the reasons you've listed above:
1- we're in a recession and jobs are hard to come by now.
2- it looks good on your resume that you've stayed somewhere for at least a year.

I would say stick it out for the year - you only have 3 or 4 months left. That way, future employers will think that you have the ability to stick to something for a decent period of time. In the meantime, I would contact other designers and ask if you can shadow them or act as their assistant after you quit this current job just so you have something lined up after you quit, even if it's nonpaying.

miss a. said...

P.S. Good luck!

alis said...

Thanks miss a., that's great advice. Although I wish everyone would cheer "quit now don't stay" (because obviously staying is the hardest option), the second reason you stated does make a lot of sense. Thanks again, good luck to you too :)

Semper said...

Are there any opportunities to do something related to industrial design in your area? Because if there are, even if they are unpaid, I would start searching for those opportunities while you still have your current job, and once you land something, put your two weeks in. Although getting your Masters is a really big deal, too, and you should definitely devote your time to it!

As I am also 23, I feel like I understand your dilemma. If you are really not restricted by money at this point, I would say follow your heart. Having no responsibilities only lasts so long. Do what you can now so that you can have a job that you love when you really do need it to support yourself financially.

Good luck!

eileen said...

DO WHAT YOU LOVE!! Give your notice and follow your heart. The world is full of people who settle for less than who they are (for many valid reasons), but at the end of the day the WORLD IS LESS because of it. Be brave. Choose happiness above all else and I promise the Universe will meet you every step of the way!

Anonymous said...

I am a merchandise designer in the United States. After 13 1/2 years at a catalog company, I was laid off in August. Looking for a job right now is really hard, and I had a very "niche" job. There aren't a lot available, so I am looking at a whole new career. One of the reasons I am having a hard time is my company did not progress with the rest of the world, and upgrade our software. As a result, I am proficient in Freehand MX, a drawing program, which is no longer a desirable program, as Adobe purchased it, and they have Illustrator, which is also a drawing program, and interfaces with Photoshop much more easily. If you can afford it, I would put my money into upgrading my computer skills,(if you need to), and staying on top of the software game. I didn't and now, I am at a loss as to what I am going to do. As far as quitting your job, I would suggest making a list. Take your time, and put in two columnns: Advantages, Disadvantages. See which one is longer, and go over them to see which means more to you. It is one way to get a good idea of how you really feel. If all else fails, flip a coin. You will know if you are happy with the results, or not, then go from there.
I am looking at doing some freelancing, so hopefully that will help me along. This may be an option for you. With computers and the internet you don't have to be in the same city as the company you are freelancing for.
Good luck. It is tough to figure this one out, but I have a feeling you may already know where you want to go with this.

Anonymous said...

eğer gelecek ayda da maaşına zam yapılırsa gene 1 ay daha mı bekleyeceksin???
Çalıştığın şirketi bilemicem ama sadece ismi için orada duruyorsan ve öğrenme adına kendine yeni birşeyler katamıyorsan 5 dakika bekleme ve ayrıl.
Durumu artılarıyla eksileriyle bize anlattığın gibi patronuna da anlat eminim o da bunu anlayışla karşılayacaktır. Bu tip bir olay benim de mesleğimin başlarında karşıma çıkmıştı. Türkiyenin En İyi bankalarından birinin genel müdürlüğünde avukatlık yaptım, gerekli tecrübeye ulaştıktan sonra ayrıldım çünkü öğrenilecek yeni bir şey kalmamıştı.Herşey otomasyona bağlanmış ve rutindi.Kariyer hedeflerimi ve ulaşmak istediğim yerleri müşavirime anlattığımda beni anlayışla karşılamıştı hemde bende bir ay öncesinde maaşıma zam almış olmama rağmen:)

Şimdi ise kendi ofisim var,yüksek lisansım bitmek üzere ve tanınmış marka ve şirketlere hukuki danışmanlık ve avukatlık hizmeti veriyorum;)

Şimdi kararını sen ver:)

Sevgiler..

Jen (MahaloFashion) said...

I understand what you are saying
I've been wanting ti quit my job and concentrate on university and other things, but I can't seem to be able to. My situation though is slightly different to yours.
As for you, i don't think any amount of money is worth your happiness, I've always said I'd take a pay cut if it meant i was happier at work. Maybe you should move if you can, start a new journey go to France and learn some more...
Keep us updated in your decisision
oh and I think susan and helen mirren look amazing too.

alis said...

Semper - Being free of responsibilities is an opportunity I do not want to miss. I need to squeeze in a non-paid learning period after this job and who knows, I might decide to do it abroad. You are so right about making the preparations for a job I love when I actually need one.

eileen - I do believe the universe has a plan for everyone, I just need to follow the signs :) Thanks for the motivation!

anon 7:24 - I'm sorry to hear you were laid off. Computer skills were one of the things in my mind when I said I had some learning to do. Adobe Illustrator seems to be a must for everyone in the design business, no matter what the field. I know some basics but definitely need to improve it. Also good to know Freehand is no longer desired outsite of Turkey, I didn't know that as it is still in demand here. I hope your freelancing goes well, it is also in my plans once I upgrade my computer skills and become more self-sufficient. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!

anonymous 3:50 - Sanırım sadece işten ayrılacağın zamanı belirlerken değil, başka birçok konuda da çok doğru kararlar vermişsin, şu an olduğun konum benim de kendi mesleğimde bir dün gelmeyi umduğum konum, umarım ben de tespitlerimi/hareketlerimi senin kadar doğru gerçekleştirebilirim:) Yorumun için çok teşekkürler.

Jen - Going abroad for a while is definitely in my plans, even if only for the experience of it. It has always been; but I have been waiting for my boyfriend's graduation I guess. I actually admire how you manage to stand on your own feet and make it between Australia and Canada. I hope eventually your job also turns into something you enjoy everyday :)

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Anonymous said...

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corine said...

I'm reading this one day late, so I will give you my opinion before I read what your decision was:

I say you must take a chance now. Jump. before you have kids. You're obviously a tremendously talented person who is putting up with a lot for the sale of safety. Dream BIG! (that's my moto.)

ssbb said...

bence 3,5 ayı bekleyip para biriktirip dünya turuna çıkınız. ufkunuzu açacaktır, ve ileride yapmanız imkansız olabilir.

Sunday said...

I'm 42 now, and my motto is no longer Make Every Day Count; it is Make Every Minute Count. If you want to leave, then leave. There is an old saying that "Man learns through pain," but I believe you've had your pain. Now go forth in a happier direction. There is enough pain. You need to be learning more skilss under a qualified and experienced person in your field. Your boss will forgive you and probably understand you. It doesn't matter so much what she thinks. Make this minute count.