{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Feeling really lost with my career path. Spent 10yrs as a Senior Media Planner in another country. Moved to USA for partner career opportunity. I could not work for 3 years due to visa cntd....", "post_id": "5ce58014cbc754001b1b473d", "reply_count": 8, "vote_count": 1, "bowl_id": "58f85563753e990016609ca0", "bowl_name": "Media Wizards" }

Feeling really lost with my career path. Spent 10yrs as a Senior Media Planner in another country. Moved to USA for partner career opportunity. I could not work for 3 years due to visa cntd....

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First of all, congrats. It sounds like you’ve not only adjusted to, but also accomplished, a lot—and in many different environments/areas of life! Secondly, I have a question for you: what do you WANT to do? You talk a lot about what roles you feel like you SHOULD go after, but not what you want to do. I think you should go after the roles you want! Third thing: international experience is such a plus; don’t let “lack of US experience” hold you back! And finally, I hear you on regretting a past personal choice. Like you, I still beat myself up about leaving somewhere too soon. It’s important that we remember that we made those choices for a reason, and just because we aren’t entirely happy with where we are now doesn’t mean they were bad choices. It sounds like you acted on a gut feeling, which honestly is almost always a good thing. And it sounds like you like small agencies, especially the one you’re at. Are you *sure* there’s no growth path for you (i.e., have you talked to your superiors about how you’re feeling and explored all the possibilities)? Please keep us posted. I wish you the best of luck and hope you go after the roles you want, especially those senior ones!

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Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I appreciate it so much. To be honest I'm on the fence about what I want to do. I fought so hard to get back into media planning after a gap in my career and not to mention how tough it is to be a planner in a new country and media landscape. At this point I have tons of local Nor Cal local media experience with a heavy focus on TV, Radio, OTT, digital TV and video and streaming. Plus some geo-fencing. All in the local automotive vertical. It's solid experience but all managed manually through working with vendor partners. When I look at staying in media planning the experience desired includes running planning tools, programmatic experience and digital planning such as SEM all of which I do not have experience on from my current position. I am nervous about taking on a role with heavy digital requirements. Because of this I feel like an account manager position or a position in marketing would be a better suited role for my next move. I also think that since I project manage video production it would serve me well in an account role. My old team in the book publishing industry has an account manager role that they want me to consider which would be amazing in terms of the team but the book publishing industry budgets are so tiny compared to planning in mass reach channels. And I wonder about the book industry long term. In terms of my current team and agency. You are correct, I love and respect the team so much. I do plan to push for more growth although I see current roles that have not changed for years and I know that growth is slow. Lastly thanks for the advice about making mistakes. I realize that I made a decision in a challenging situation and had I not had the stress of major changes at home with my child starting kindergarten with hard pick up deadlines coupled with my dad's diagnosis I probably would have handled things differently. I've been beating myself up about it for a long time now and it feels good to just be able to express myself here. And agree that international experience is priceless, definitely gives a person so much perspective.

Cntd.... and took the time to have two kids. Once green card was approved I eventually took a job in publishing industry just to get back to job market and then transitioned to a small agency as a media coordinator now planner. 4 years in the role but have the reality of the agency not investing in media tools needed. So I have to be creative and use scrappy skills to get what I need and that takes far more time. I keep talking with larger agencies but they see me as senior but I don't have recent experience or US experience running media planning tools which makes me hesitant to apply for senior roles. I'm in my early 40's too and that brings in an additional layer of complexity. I did make a move from small agency for about 2 weeks after working there for 1.5 years but ended up returning because of a team member at larger agency had my ear on my second week about the brutality of the team, never leaving the office in time to see family and basically airing all the teams dirty laundry at a new team member. In the heat of it I panicked, returned to the small agency and have felt so badly about it all ever since. I wish I could turn back the time and not panicked. To add to the complexity my kid had started kindergarten that week and I had on that particular morning being informed that my dad's brain cancer was confirmed terminal. It was all too much at the time to face. So now I am still at the small agency and see no further career growth. I love the team and agency but can't stick around earning $60k for all the pressure and multiple roles I do which is beyond media such as billing recons, trafficking, project manager of creative assets etc. I feel like I should either move to account manager type roles or consider a position back in publishing. I am really nervous to make the wrong choice because I don't want to have a repeat experience of the last time.

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My advise would be to apply to and interview for as many jobs in media as you can. Even if you feel you are not ‘qualified’ use the opportunity to learn about different agencies, roles, and verticals. Just because you interview doesn’t mean you have to take the job. It will help you figure out what you will really enjoy, and there is plenty of training to fill the gaps in your knowledge to land the role you really want.

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Don’t let your lack of experience/knowledge with tools and stuff hold you back- fake it til you make it and get the job you want then learn on the job! Plus if you look for work at a different agency you’re likelier to get in at a higher position which also means you wouldn’t necessarily even have to be the one running the programs at all, your direct reports would be handling that grunt work

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None of the media tools are hard to learn and if you enter in a more senior role, you’ll barely touch them. None of the SVP/EVP level (and most VPs) staff at my agency could actually execute a media campaign from start to finish. Horrifying? Sorta. But take that as further cause to believe in yourself and score that senior gig based on how great a leader you’ll be. Tools. Don’t. Matter. People do.

uplifting

Sorry they didn’t value you and took advantage of you being such a hard worker! But happy to hear you made the change that felt right for you at this time and that you stood up for yourself in that way! (Leaving the place that didn’t seem to deserve a dedicated and hard worker like you!!). Hope all continues to go well in the new role. And hey, it might have been something that seems to have “broken you away” from Agency life but sometimes those exact career “zags” are what ignite someone’s career path in ways they never expected!

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