I currently work at a small web design agency with a team of 5. I'm the sole marketer where I do all digital marketing for clients. This includes SEO/PPC, some social media, and everything else growth marketing related. I love the autonomy, the people I work with, and 'owning' the entire digital marketing role and department. My only complaint: clients are really small (e.g., electricians, attorneys) and I'm itching for something more challenging and complex. However, I am learning a lot. Work-life balance is amazing at the agency, allowing me to take on MOOCs and side projects where I'm learning to code. Recently, a large public company offered me a PPC Analyst role where I'll manage a 10MM ppc campaign. Glassdoor reviews mention poor work-life balance. My brief pros & cons analysis of take the job offer: PROS + higher salary + more prestige and responsibility + learning, yes, but very focused on SEM in one particular vertical CONS + 50-60+ work weeks + less time for MOOCs, self-study and side projects + possibility of low job satisfaction (culture, politics) === My question === What would you do? Do I continue working at the agency where I'm comfortable and can have the autonomy to master what excites me. Or take the job offer with more responsibility and pay but at the expense of narrowing my career focus and skill-sets too much.
You seem to think there is only two options for you: Stay where you are or go to this possible low-satisfaction job. Why can't you continue to search for a great job that fits all your requirements? Also - are you sure this new job is a 50-60+ week job with low-job satisfaction? Or are you just making assumptions?
You are ultimately responsible for your own time and project schedule. If your salary is based on a 40 hour week - then your salary is based on a 40 hour week. If you decide that you want to limit your general work week to 40 hours a week (giving you some space for MOOCs, self-study and side projects) - just outline your project schedules more realistically. As long as you provide realistic expectations on your deliveries - you can still schedule space and time for your other projects (with the understanding that there may be "some times" when you need to work extra hours - but not all the time).
If you feel that if you don't put in 50-60 hours a week to receive advancement - then you are choosing that over the other things. Figure out what you really want; decide what are the imperatives and non-negotiables - and design your life accordingly.
I'd consider finding some middle ground. Be careful of SEM farm agencies where it's a bit more of a factory atmosphere. That said, your current gig doesn't seem to be challenging you. So I'd consider a change but I'd be more picky about where you go so you can find an environment where you can learn but also be happy.