Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Oh, the guilt...

...should really be bothering me. But it isn't.

I was hired at MS in April as a program manager for a new education platform (I could tell you more, but I'd have to... yeah). Turned out to be a mismatch because I am NOT really technical -- which I kept repeating over and over and over again in my interview (which was, by the way, mostly with people I haven't seen since, people who have nothing to do with the project). The position for which I was hired is a more technical position, though. Within a few weeks of my hire I insisted on what I called an "Elephant in the Livingroom" meeting with my boss and once it was all out in the open, we both breathed a sigh of relief and agreed that, while there is definitely a place for me at MS, that particular PM position wasn't it. In that meeting I pretty much said to my boss, "So this is what I think I should do..." and he pretty much breathed a sigh of relief and said, "Cool!" (I know he didn't WANT to lay me off because he felt responsible for the mis-hire, even though he wasn't even in the department when I was hired.) We've both looked for the "perfect position" within MS for me since then, but haven't found it. Yet.

In that meeting I proposed that I be more of a PRODUCT manager than a program manager(never confuse the two within 100 miles of Redmond... program is development and product is marketing), and I even gave myself an informal new title: "Education Advocate." In other words, I've taken it upon myself to assure that our end audience is being listened to and that we're developing something that meets their needs. It came more from self-preservation and fear of unemployment at that moment, but it IS what I love and what I'm good at. The thing is, I'm really not doing that much! I'm doing some research and surveys and putting together a PowerPoint presentation ("Understanding Our Audience") that I'll present to the PMs, dev and test teams, but really, I'm FLUFF. Really well-paid fluff. Guilty fluff. Mis-hired fluff. But FLUFF. And it's only a matter of time before they realize that and boot me.

Or IS it? The company is paying something like 362 MILLION dollars a DAY in fines for the whole EU snafu, and *I* feel guilty for working not quite hard enough and costing some infinitesimal fraction of that?! What IS my problem, anyway?! (Actually, I know where this guilt comes from. I came from a small nonprofit where there was a constant awareness of fiscal responsibility, and that's hard to shake.)

So... those six balls I was juggling? One came crashing to the ground yesterday. I interviewed for the software company that makes games for girls and we (both sides) were getting pretty enthused about the whole thing, but it turns out that the mid salary range is barely half what I make now. Much as I'd love to do games for girls, I couldn't do that... and they WON'T find someone with much experience in this field who will. So that's out. The Aussie company might not be as financially stable as they wanted us to believe, so who knows where that will go. The online early reading company is still a possibility -- though I foresee the same salary discussion. (Hey, we have three more kids to put through college! And now that oldest daughter opened up the going-to-college-out-of-state thing, the others want to follow. HELP!)

What an awful, rambling post this is! My apologies. But it did allow me to put my thoughts down on "screen" and that does tend to help me sort things through. When all is said and done, my only option, as always, is to wait and see what life deals me...

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