It happened. It was something I always feared would happen, something I've tried to prevent. It seemed to have been confirmed on Tuesday. The issue: being pigeonholed!
When I first starting working at the bank, I intended it to be a stepping stone to better things, more marketing related. I was promoted twice in the first 17 months, gathering more and more responsibility. The entire time this was happening, I was trying to get out. Not a serious job search, mind you; I'd just shoot of resume's every now and then, go on some interviews, but nothing ever materialized. I was worried people would start to see me as this data-centric, SAS/SQL programmer, and not the campaign manager that I am. I worried I'd be lumped in with IT people, or database administrators, or even worse, data entry.
I've started to be a bit more active in my job search. I know it sounds odd, I'm planning to apply this fall to many business schools, yet I'm also looking for a new job. I feel I've got good reasons for it: the new experience, how I shouldn't let me MBA aspirations put the rest of my career on hold, etc. But, after speaking to several hiring managers, it appears everything about my previous positions screams back-office data guy. I was specifically called that on Tuesday, as I sat in a conference room at a competing bank. Needless to say, I walked out feeling awful.
It's a pretty terrible feeling, like you're trapped under the weight of a decision you made over three years ago, that you'll always be the bank data guy. I try and push my other accomplishments, my leadership experience, project management skills, but it always seems to come back to data. I can do more! I think this fear of being trapped is what initially led me to want an MBA. I'm the perfect definition of a career switcher. Problem is, I just have faint ideas of what I want to do. MBA AdComs do not like faint ideas of future goals. Being rich doesn't count.
Now, I must combat this fear head on, and figure out a way so that admissions committee members do not see me as the Bank Data Guy, and as someone who brings so much more to the table. I'm not an engineer, I'm not a sales guy. I don't do financial services or consulting. I feel I'm a category loosely defined in the MBA world. I just pray it's enough to gain acceptance to a single school.
And me and the GF have gone our separate ways...