The “Salaried Man” — When your future isn’t yours
I’m in my mid 30s and currently working for a startup tech company (in middle management) that was created by a conservative conglomerate for the last 5 years. Yeah, everybody wants their own “startup” nowadays. The work environment is fast paced, pays a reasonable wage and work life balance is acceptable. I have an MBA and am professionally certified within my domain of work. So, everything is good at the moment and I can’t hope for any better.
That was until I saw the movie, “The Company Men” starring Ben Affleck:
Ben plays a 37-year-old man who is well paid (earning a 6-figure salary) going by his days working hard to climb the corporate ladder. He is enjoying the moment and leads a comfortable lifestyle (in which he drives a Porsche and plays golf regularly) together with his wife and 2 children. Unfortunately, one day his life was turned upside down when his company decides to downsize and he was deemed redundant and let go. The remainder of the story shows how he struggled and eventually got back on his feet.
Now, I don’t own a sports car, don’t have a country club membership nor am I getting a substantial salary but the circumstances of Ben’s character somehow resonate with me. It made me think that I could be in the same predicament given my age, perceived contributions and salary as compared to younger employees. There’s always the possibility that I may be seen as a redundant resource even though I’m still performing and meeting targets/ KPIs if the company decides to become more “efficient” by downsizing.
Would I have a say in these decisions being made beyond my level? Would I want to place my future in the hands of others in hopes that they will remember my past contributions? Would a golden handshake be enough at a time where financial stability is so crucial (e.g. funding for kids’ education, on-going expenses and commitments)?
So that triggered me to look into ways of gaining more skills and knowledge that adds to my credentials in hopes of carving out a niche, continue to make myself relevant, maybe start a new career or even create my own business. So, what I did next was to look for courses online that would allow me to study and learn at my own pace and most importantly, courses that are recognized within its own industry.
Using those points, I found Udacity and was intrigued by their offering of accredited courses that was developed jointly with industry giants (like Facebook and Google). The course that interested me the most was their “Digital Marketing Nanodegree Program”. My day job does not directly involve marketing but as a consumer we are constantly exposed to it and I was interested to take this chance to learn how marketing is done in today’s digital world.
After a bit of planning to get my own personal schedules in order (since the course requires a commitment of 3 months to complete), I finally signed up to the course about a month ago. Who knows what this would lead to. So far, I’m 3 weeks into the course and I’m enjoying the journey and gaining many insights on industry best practices, methods and popular tools used for Digital Marketing. If you are interested you can have a look at their course here.