This is my first mobile post as I’m at the airport headed to a two month consulting gig. Tomorrow I will work my first full day in about 13 months. I’m generally excited about it though last night I was feeling anxious- I think- or something close to anxiety. I’m not sure why. I think it’s mostly because the gig is in another city, away from my husband and our pup. Or it could be that this job is completely different than what I’ve done before at a company much smaller and in a very different industry than I’ve worked before. But that generally excites me (I think). I’m ready to get started! (I think 🙂
I don’t know if this is a ‘turning point’ in my search. What makes me more nervous (anxious, scared, freaked out…) is what if it’s not a turning point but just another dead end. I can’t think that way. And so I won’t make this a big deal (deep breath…) It’s just another stepping stone in the search and another adventure to have in life.
I read an awesome quote today that read something like- “two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled… and boy did it hurt! rocks, thorns, I even lost my pants!”
I had to laugh. I have loved the real phrase for so long and hoped to be the one that took the road less traveled. In the past I have been mostly glad. I feel that often in the past I was rewarded with what I wanted- a different experience, an interesting story or a good outcome. However, I am having a hard time with this current endeavor at career change and agreeing that seeking work where you feel like you are in fact “tap dancing” to work is the good way to go at this stage in life (i.e. mid career).
I used to think that people didn’t seek their true passions because they were afraid, because they needed a middle class income, because they made up all these restrictions in their heads. I still think that is true but I now see the downside in trying to find your true passion. It’s possible that you take too long to find it (or never find it) and so you’ve missed out on building an expertise in something mediocre for the wish to find that which truly motivates you. I thought that if one looked one would be certain to find. I still hope that is true but I also want to be good at something, not just moving from “interest” to “interest” and in the end being excellent at nothing. This is important to me because all my personality tests say that I enjoy feeling very knowledgeable and an expert in my “area”, meaning line of work. Perhaps, I wonder, if I had not sought the career change I could have just focused on achieving the “very knowledgeable” status in my prior field and that would have been fulfilling enough. As it stands now, I have neither the advanced knowledge in a field I kind of care about nor do I have the work in a field that I love.
So, there are more risks to the road less traveled than just income or what people will think of you. I didn’t even think I was veering that far off the path– I’m getting too old for that much adventure! There are real risks of ending up nowhere, in an open field with nothing around and double guessing yourself while others go along their perhaps boring but well trodden path; but at least they know where they are going. Mostly I fear going about in circles and ending up where I started and for all that effort I got neither the adventure I sought nor the outcome I envisioned. Maybe this means making the circle very, very big, like in The Alchemist. If you haven’t read it, give it a try. The way I’m bumming out, seems like I should read it again.
I’ve been gone a while. For a bit I was dreading the accountability. I didn’t achieve my smart goals. All the things I “should have” been doing give me acid in my stomach. And every so often, they feel natural, just every so often. Anyway…I have news… 🙂
I’ve received a verbal offer for a two month “trial” period for what I believe to be an exciting operational finance related position. Its a different type of company than I’m used to– a rag tag, small startup- in another city but I’m willing to try it. I think it might be fun. As this opportunity rolled in, after a few months of waiting for them to get back to me, I was working on another exciting opportunity at another startup working on an online product. Both these things happened at once and to make it more busy a third interview cam my way for an entirely different opportunity in private wealth that I have decided not to pursue for now.
Perhaps my diverse opportunities exemplify my confusion on what I want to do “when I grow up”. I’m past 35 so perhaps this is not a good thing. No matter. I will try to be as excited about a clean slate as I was in my 20s. I remember the butterflies in my belly, partly from excitement and partly from fear. These days, those butterflies are mostly fear but I have to find a way to turn them into excitement. Perhaps I am finally getting this career change on the road. I surely hope so. I’m ready to get going!
Networking emails sent= 0 out of goal of 10
Job Applications sent = 0 out of goal of 10
I have all kinds of excuses for this– no point sending out an application if I don’t really want it, “networking” is so murky and unrewarding it’s hard to want to do it, I’m waiting to “want” to do it, if only it wasn’t so lonely/unrewarding/uncomfortable/boring/unstructured….
I guess I have had 2 long phone conversations that should be considered “networking” and I have been researching a new industry. I also wrote an update email. Definitely not spectacular, especially considering the amount of time I spent surfing the web, reading random things, watching tv…
Better luck next week.
I was dragging my feet, feeling sad. Another interview-2 days plus travel this time- without the decency of a response. Then I had to fly “home” again. My father was sick and within the week he was gone. Just like that the man that fostered my habit for reading and learning, and so many other things, was gone from this world. I struggle with this blog. How much information do I really want to put out there into the ether? I really don’t know. I will say that as I sat with my father in the hospital not knowing which way his health would turn, thinking about the future was ludicrous and impossible. And that feeling of not being able to plan for something, of just being in the present was stifling. Perhaps it was because I was faced with such an uncertain outcome but I wondered if all the raving about “being in the present” is correct, not being able to think about a future was not liberating at that moment, it was stifling.
I have no lessons from this…for now. I have no new-found energy to make life count. I just am; just moving forward step by step, one step at a time without knowing where it will lead because this recent path of the last few years has taken me in circles and finally left me in a confusing wilderness with no indication of where I may turn. Passions, interests, hobbies…all that is one big jumble of nothingness. So I have to get up and just start walking somewhere one step at a time.
Ahhh…a well needed and much deserved break. I decided to come “home”, the place where I grew up, the place where my huge, multi-generational family is, the place I used to run away from and now I go to in order to regroup, rest and remember that many of my dreams HAVE indeed come true 🙂
I have not thought about the job search much, except to have a few conversations and the sometimes sudden pang of worry that I shoo away readily. Instead, for the past week, I have embarked on a “de-cluttering” mission, gutting my childhood bedroom and my mother’s house. I have been using yerdle, a fun app where you can give away the stuff you don’t need or no longer use and get other stuff that’s interesting or even stuff that you might need. It’s amazing how much we can accumulate, some things that are never even used but you don’t really want to give to Goodwill. Anyway, I have had fun packing stuff, interacting with people all over the US and even finding awesome stuff that I forgot I had.
Next week it’s back to the job search. I am working on creating a different vision of the search. Instead of imagining it as a daily grind knocking on closed doors or getting them slammed in my face, perhaps I will imagine that I am in the jungle on a super secret and important mission of finding the lost city of a long forgotten peoples. It’s a vast jungle and I must be vigilant, I must gather clues that will lead me to that long forgotten city. There are no maps, no well trodden paths that will lead me there. I must rely on my resourcefulness, hardiness and persistence to lead me to that mythical city that holds the key to a long forgotten and underestimated civilization. For now, I spot a watering hole and some berries, time for a lunch break!
The sloth, the dragging feet, the procrastination….My new theory is that j*b se*rching, like searching for a lost item, must be done and concluded rather quickly, otherwise your likelihood of finding said j*b or item drops precipitously. This is easily explained for j*b se*rching requires a series of onerous, nerve racking, thankless tasks that no sane human being would like to have prolonged exposure to. Like searching for a lost item, the longer time lapses, the more you forget the original reasons for the search, the original steps you took to come to this decision that is now inflicting so much “ugghhhh” in your life.
I am now avoiding my j*b se*arching responsibilities like the plague. Washing dishes is more important, going to acupuncture is more important, walking the dog is more important. Some days I declare “Off” days in which I don’t have to do any required duties. This is laughable because the only difference is that I don’t “worry” about the j*b se*rch on “off” days nor do I have that little voice in my head that says “Well you should be doing something”.
I have tried many tools to break out of these times–giving myself “points” for actions taken, setting minimum “goals” of actions to be taken, setting more “structure” to my days. They sometimes work well for the first few months of job searching but as the search now drags on way past what I was prepared for it gets harder and harder to rev up the engines. “Maybe you need a break”, I’ve heard from two people. My life IS a Break! So I shouldn’t complain right? I didn’t quit my job to waste my time away. “But whose fault is it now?”, says that little voice in my head.
I recently found solace in a wonderful piece on raptitude.com : The frightening thing you learn when you quit the 9-5. While I’m not trying to quit the 9-5 permanently, not yet anyways, it did make me wonder if I’m ok with being a robot that requires someone/something else (parents, school, job, boss) to give me direction and purpose rather than declaring my own. I’ve always prided myself on liking structure and finding purpose in the 9-5. I thought I was just a hardworking individual. But the article made me wonder. Am I just being a robot, unable to think on my own and this is why I’m just wandering about with no rhyme or reason and not even enjoying this time where I can define my days to my choosing so I’m not so aimless, bored and frustrated.