Quick Reminder: If Your Career Doesn’t Fit and You Think You’re Fooling People, You’re Probably Not.

I had a performance review at work today, and it was surreal.

That is not to say it was negative. By all accounts I am doing what I am paid to do, and doing it well.

It was, however, suggested that recent changes to my job description might have “re-engaged” me.

That is an interesting statement, for two reasons.

One, what I am currently doing that resembles “engagement” is just my frantically trying not make a fool of myself in comparison to others. But apparently from the outside that looks hella energetic!

Two, it implies I was noticeably DIS-engaging previously. Which – I suppose constantly applying for jobs outside the department, even if above board and with my manager’s involvement, all while leaving clues here and there that I was also receiving guidance from a career counselor, DOES qualify as “disengaging.”

Now of course I wasn’t dumb enough to say something like, “Nope, I’m no more engaged than I was”. But I did admit that, though I prefer task rotation, which I’ve been given more of lately, it remains a fact that – ahem – “a call center environment is just a bit challenging for someone of my temperament and natural inclinations”.

It was then that my manager told me I reminded him of a former employee of his who was a talented working artist on the side. She had a snarky sense of humor and an approach to things he described as foreign to him; nevertheless, she was a solid employee who actually ended up retiring from the company (*faint*). He always wondered how she got “stuck” – his word – in insurance.

It struck me that he didn’t shy away from using that word. “Stuck”. It reverberated in my head for the rest of the day, simply because I was considering the source. I’ve always thought this gentleman “knew what was up”… now I know he kNoWz WuZz UuP

Anyhow, since I was reminded of this today, I thought I’d remind you all. If you think you’re fooling people with feigned career enthusiasm – you’re probably not.

So, once again, all signs seem to indicate that to avoid some sort of violent personality rupture (this is about 89.9% a joke), I am going to have to go back to escape planning. It’s going to require total commitment (and a level of self-belief verging on delusion) if it has a chance in hell. The unfortunate thing is that “the system” – whatever that means – seems stacked against career changers, since most horizon-expanding opportunities occur within normal business hours. That obstacle notwithstanding, the strongest piece of advice I’ve gotten from any source is probably this: “look for people, not jobs”.

I am going to put this little success story here because, despite having absolutely nothing in common with me (I’m sure she’s lovely but I would loathe being even a part-time educator about as much as I would loathe reading Eat, Pray, Love), there is something about it that set it apart from others I’ve read and made me feel the closest thing to deep green envy I’ve felt in awhile. I think it’s mainly that her job – now her “way of life” – has a lot of spokes that are related to each other. It is possible I should pay attention to that inkling.

Careershifters – From Art Restoration to Portfolio Career

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