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I need a change; what would you do?

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Micah McDowellI need a change; what would you do?
by on Aug 23, 2012 at 6:16:09 pm

Well, I'm to that point... my current job is something I'm having a hard time enjoying anymore and I want a change.

I've been working for the same organization since graduating college majoring in video production. I had other previous long-term part time and freelance work which was wonderful experience and decent money, but this is the only full-time job with reel-worthy work that I've had in the business. It was the best work environment imaginable when I started several years ago, and continued to be until the last 6-12 months. Now, our department director has left, her boss also left, and now it's just a direct chain of command from those in higher authority, down to us who have to make their ideas work. It's not fun. Plus, I see writing on the wall that the organization is a sinking ship (or downsizing at least). I've been advised by former coworkers to keep a reel and resume on standby. I do still work with some great people in the department, and one of the biggest reasons I'd want to stay is to keep them from being short-handed, but I don't believe in what I'm doing anymore and I know that my best work is behind me here. I want to make a change, but the scary part is that I don't know of anywhere to turn.

I'm an "editor" by job description, but on a regular basis I do motion graphics/compositing/graphic design/live directing/field shooting/troubleshooting/equipment repair/et cetera. I'm fluent in most software and familiar with most hardware. My local area doesn't have much to offer other than a couple small TV stations and a few small production companies, most of whom I have been advised against working for by former employees. I have many contacts from various odd freelance jobs, but I doubt that I could make a living through freelance work alone. Right now may not be the best time for a relocation, and if I did, I wouldn't know how to go about it. I've never even applied for a job before; I've always been approached by others who heard of me and hired on the spot.

Pardon many non-specifics of my post, but I do know that Google indexes this, though at this point, I really don't care who knows. Where does one go from a situation like this? Do I just wait it out, try to keep motivated and get the passion back, and enjoy the steady salary? Do I send reels every which way and hope that I hear back and get lucky? I'd love to hear from you who have dealt with similar situations before, if only for inspiration. Thank you.


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Mark SuszkoRe: I need a change; what would you do?
by on Aug 23, 2012 at 6:32:55 pm

What hobbies, charities, or other interests are you passionate about, and can you think of any video applications relating to those? Any niche markets there you might exploit?

Right now you have no focus, no direction, so it feels very frustrating and anxiety-provoking. Once you pick a direction, ANY direction, it will feel like some weight has been taken off.

But first...

And have you really irrevocably decided to leave that place? Consider, for a moment, what if you applied for a promotion there, to take over the missing functions? What's the worst that could happen? What's the best? Maybe this is your chance to step up into management right where you are, as the person with the best preparation to know what's right and how things should be done. And there would be more money too.


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Micah McDowellRe: I need a change; what would you do?
by on Aug 23, 2012 at 8:30:18 pm

Mark, thanks for your insight. You bring up some points that make this an interesting situation.

I originally got into my job as a volunteer (it is a large church... non-profit). I loved the work and would have done it for free at the time, but I ended up with a great job and salary. Now, it makes me hesitate to go down the same road again, for fear that I'd end up in the same place. As far as interests, I'm a bit of a musician and interested in things of that nature, but I haven't figured out how to make that into a career, related to video or not.

No chance of promotion; staff members have been leaving rapidly as of late, and no significant new hires. Duties just get shuffled around and folded into other people's job descriptions, or done away with all together. In example: we no longer have an administrator for our network, so when someone has a problem, I'm now the unofficial go-to guy and get to figure out how to fix it or it doesn't get done, ever. However, family members and friends of administration get whatever they want, whenever. Most of the poorest decisions seem to be coming from the top, so I don't think I want to stick around.

I appreciate the advice for looking for a direction. Now, just where to go...


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Mark SuszkoRe: I need a change; what would you do?
by on Aug 23, 2012 at 8:46:52 pm

What about changing the job you have into a contractual/consultant gig? Gains you back some sense of control, frees up some time to explore new things, and you increase the pay (because you are covering more expenses).

In a down economy, try fixing the job you have, before you jump into the void of the unemployed.

Do some visualization exercises. If you won the lottery and money was not an issue, what would you do every day for the sheer joy of doing it? is there a specific ministry you really like?


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Chen Wu XinRe: I need a change; what would you do?
by on Aug 24, 2012 at 4:51:47 pm

[Mark Suszko] "What about changing the job you have into a contractual/consultant gig? Gains you back some sense of control, frees up some time to explore new things, and you increase the pay (because you are covering more expenses).

In a down economy, try fixing the job you have, before you jump into the void of the unemployed."


Great advice! There's no reason not to try it out! And it DOES free "up some time to explore new things"!


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John BaumchenRe: I need a change; what would you do?
by on Aug 23, 2012 at 8:37:41 pm

If you want a bit of job security at the expense of limited creativity...

try this link: http://www.usajobs.gov/

Select advanced search and type in 1071, (A/V production specialist), for the series.


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Mark SuszkoRe: I need a change; what would you do?
by on Aug 23, 2012 at 9:48:56 pm

Micah:

maybe all you need is a really stimulating project otuside of the daily one, to re-energize yourself. Based on the few details you've given, I found this:







You may or may not like Whitacre specifically, that's okay. I'm only looking at the overall concept of grabbing a lot of individual clips from youtube and combining them in intriguing ways, and you said you liked musical stuff.

Let's say just for an example, you started a project on, I dunno, how couples stay together a long time. What if you put out the call for clips of couples giving their advice, and combined those multiple tracks with some kinetic typography, really push your skills to the max, to create something that churches like yours, and many others, could show in couples therapy ministries or Pre-Cana weekends? Divorce is at crisis levels today, people need some guidance.

Or you could pick any number of such subjects, things like family dynamics and disciplining the kids, etc. There are many opportunities out there to teach people skills they lack, using dynamic, memorable methods that resonate with how people take their information today.

Does any of this make your wheels start to turn?


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Sareesh SudhakaranRe: I need a change; what would you do?
by on Aug 24, 2012 at 9:38:16 am

"It was the best work environment imaginable when I started several years ago, and continued to be until the last 6-12 months"

I have worked in many countries with people from all around the world, and the one thing I've learnt is that there isn't such a thing as a perfect workplace, unless you make it so.

So your company has hit a rough patch. So what? You are perfectly entitled to look for better opportunities, but -

What if you can create the opportunities for yourself?

What if you could -
Find out why your organization is going south
Put together a plan to reverse this trend, no matter how bad the situation
Inspire some trustworthy and supportive friends to help you
Walk into your boss's office - whoever is most likely to care - and present this plan
Is your boss the devil himself? Present your ideas in such a way that'll make him/her look good
They'll probably refuse or try to avoid you. Keep doing it until they say yes
Take charge, deal with the responsibility, and make the plan a reality

I've done the exact same thing more than once, and I have heard many 'nays', but they always ended in an 'aye'. I've got a few bosses to agree to some crazy ideas. Isn't this what sales people do every day - handle negativity, apathy and rejection?

Only if you've talked to everyone there is to talk to, and tried everything there is to be tried, are you allowed to throw in the towel.

Or you could find another job and hope the next organization will make you set for life. Nothing wrong with it at all. You just need to decide what suits you best.

Hope this helps.

http://wolfcrow.com/blog/ - Workflow information and support for filmmakers, photographers, audiographers and videographers.


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