Coming off a three-day weekend during which I (in addition to other household chores)…..
-Did a deeper than usual cleaning (DP helped) and bought new pillows to combat recent allergy flares
-Did a ton of stretching and other exercising to combat my chronic, undiagnosed-despite-x-ray-and-rheuma-visit back problems, which also alternate between being tailbone, trap, pec, elbow, and neck problems (hoping the new pillows will help with this as well)
-Discovered and explored a new niche multimedia artist
-Investigated some unfamiliar ground in my town and took editorially eerie photos of it for Insta (#anxietyvision #liminalspaces)
…..I suddenly remember that being thankful for a job in hard times, and not being recklessly desperate to get out, should not equate to resigning oneself to the status quo forever.
Of course it’s been nice feeling less out-of-control – a side effect of recognizing that staying put is my choice – which has allowed me to enjoy creativity because I’m not constantly freaking the eff out. But at the same time – am I really prepared to be HERE till “retirement”? Is THIS what I want to devote another 25 years to (which, let’s face it, in 35+ homogenous WFH vision is really not that long from now, but that in itself has me shook), eight hours a day, five days a week? Do I want the job of my boss, or his boss? Do I even want to be in this (admittedly lovely, verging on overfamiliar) town much longer? It’s already been five years since I first developed roving eyes; six years in a call center; three-and-a-half years in my current role. Ten months since I first saw a career counselor. Fat increments of time pass like nothing anymore. I am nearly 40. If I do nothing, nothing will happen.
Another long-timer jumped ship recently. She and her husband are live music aficionados, her son is an indie recording artist, and she was the one who stood up and told me over the cubicle wall in 2016 that David Bowie was dead. She was one year away from regular retirement, but bailed early. I didn’t assume anything about/project anything onto this, but when I emailed her my congratulations, her response affirmed that she felt she had to hang it up for the sake of her health and didn’t want to wait even one more year. She confessed that the recent increase in our workload (which – me talking here – involves us shouldering more responsibility with less expertise) had clinched her decision.
Powerfully, she closed by saying, “I’m fortunate that I have a choice.”
I thought of the times she’d called the lead line with her voice nearly gone, ragged with allergies. I recalled that she’d tried to make inroads to my senior team a few years ago, but management hadn’t given her the chance, despite the fact that she was a total resource nerd, and even sometimes remembered procedural updates I had forgotten.
Remember, too, what I said last entry: it is clear to all – uncomfortably so, and probably even more than I am aware – what I am passionate about and what I’m not. If I pursue the latter, the gatekeepers will spot it easily.
I think the best career-change advice I’ve read through all this rigamarole is probably the simplest. Do something, dammit. Change your routine. Go to a place you’ve never been and talk to people. Get seen and heard. Make it clear, publicly, what you’re about and what you’re looking for.
Short of this, absolutely nothing will happen, and will continue to happen.