Thursday, January 18, 2007

in case you haven't read enough about people's problems on other blogs.

as i count down the minutes til the next ugly betty episode (41, in case you were wondering), i would like to share a problem that i'm having with you all. well, not a problem that i have with you all per se, but i want to share it. with you all. yes? ok.

i am beginning to have the sneaking suspicion that my career doesn't actually make me very happy. before the chorus of howling laughter begins, let me say that i know that puts me in line with easily three-quarters of the population, but still. i'm 26, i'm in a stable relationship, i have two degrees and what i would consider a decent capacity for, you know, functioning. i feel as though i should be able to find something to do for eight hours a day that i enjoy. and for which i will be paid a living wage. i guess it's in the combination of the last two sentences where the difficulty lies.

grantwriting. a perfectly serviceable profession. utilizes my strongest skill set, always in demand, and based in the non-profit world where there's the most chance for my toiling to do some basic good in the world. seems like a winner, right? right. except that for the last few weeks, i've been going to work feeling like i'm dragging a weight with me - i spend my days feeling like i'm slogging through knee-high water. in the parlance of our times: i'm just not feeling it.

i wondered, after the chaos and craziness fest that was my last place of employment, whether my nagging ambivalence was not just lethargy due to my surroundings - a kind of defense mechanism, if you will. why get invested in the well-being of a clearly sinking ship, right? so when i left there, when i got here to dc and got another grantwriting job i thought, "ok. now we'll see." and i fear i'm jumping the gun with these worries that what i'm seeing is that i'm not satisfied. i mean, is three months really enough time? logically it doesn't seem so. but internally, gutturally, the signals are pretty strong. this work is not engaging me, it's not motivating me, it's not bringing me any real sense of fulfillment or accomplishment.

so what to do? i have no plans just to run off and join cirque de soleil at the moment, but i'm trying not to hide from this uneasiness, either. because if i'm truly rethinking everything, then this issue needs to be wrestled with somehow. if i were to do something else, what would it be? what would that look like? is it even feasible? practical? desirable?

it's hard, because even just typing those questions kinda scares me. it's a daunting idea, a career change, even at the relatively early career stage i'm in currently - i've seen how hard it is to do firsthand. it takes hard work, and a kind of determination and slight foolhardiness that i think i all but used up in orchestrating the move out here. honestly, it's tough to muster up the wherewithal just to lay out the problem on the table, much less figure out how to solve it.

but i'm trying.


Toast said...

Well, I have to ask the obvious, given your new location: Any interest in politics?

Amy said...

Hi you!

I read this and thought..God...i have the exact opposite problem...I'm in a crappy relationship...And I love my job. pays shit. Honestly...I go to work EVERY morning and say, "God, I love what I do..and I make a difference EVERY day" and then I get my paycheck...which I'm now ashamed to post the amount here...I get 790 for TWO WEEKS of work....and I go..what the fuck? My RENT is 600. (which may seem little but I live in East Bum Fuck Maine) So I feel your pain..just in a different way.

Love you

Roni said...

The hubby's in the same boat many a day and he's 34. I think a lot of people find themselves good at one thing and not really loving it. Isn't that fucked up? Perhaps it's the daily grind that really gets you down not the actual task. I dunno. Just thinking out loud. I'm lucky to have a job I love - even the icky parts aren't too bad. Hang in there. Maybe you need something outside of work to get you revved up.


dorothy rothschild said...

Have you thought about what you want to do? I mean really want to do?

You're only 26, so there is more than plenty of time to start taking steps to get there.

You're only 26 and that is way too young to keep doing work that you don't like (unless it's a day job financing something you do like that it would be difficult to make a living doing, like writing fiction or painting or making beaded earrings or elaborate collages of magazine clippings).

kate.d. said...

no, no politics for me i don't think...i used to think, but not anymore.

and dot, the financing thing does come into play here, for sure. i'd love to write (non-grants!) for a living, but it is far from a stable career path, and so most people recommend doing it after work, as a hobby, and then you'll be less unfulfilled at work. so far, i haven't found this arrangement satisfactory - i'm burnt out when i get home, and half the time writing feels more like a chore than something i'm doing willingly!

money is central to all this, and i'm thinking about doing some posts on the subject. i'm impressed, amy, by your willingness to put a number out there - it's one of the last great public taboos, you know? in that spirit: i only bring in a few hundred more dollars than amy every two weeks, and our rent alone is $1440. no utilities included. so, this seems like a barely tenable situation to me monetarily...

but that's a whole nother (couple of) posts!

Toast said...

one of the last great public taboos, you know?

Well, yeah. Because once people start finding out what other people make for various jobs, anger, jealousy, and feelings of injustice tend to ensue. Justifiably so, in most cases.

Our economy is not a meritocracy.

Cinnamon said...

Amy, I really hope that is after taxes. Really, really hope. Not that it is fair, cause it ain't.

And Kate, look at it this way. You can either be tired and in the job you're in now for the rest of your life and end up bitter and regretful that you didn't try something else. Or you can be extra tired for a little while as you decide if the switch really is what you want. That's how I'm able to justify the Poise thing. If I don't try this, I'm just going to regret it when I'm older. And if I wasn't sewing, I'd probably just drink more and waste money buying stuff I don't need.

educand said...

Life is too effin' short, Kate. If you don't want to do the grantwriting, for god's sake, don't do the grantwriting. Easily said, I suppose, but I have personally walked away from three jobs I hated with rent due, an unemployed spouse, and nothing else lined up, and it surprisingly worked out okay. I can't say I've quite found my reason for living yet, but I just got a degree to do just that.

Out of curiosity, is it the grant component that isn't doing it for you, or is it that what you're writing isn't creative? I've seen a lot of communications coordinator/director-type positions open in my half-assed job search thus far, many in your area.