Leaving the job I had at the end of last year was a good thing.
I left with the ambitious goal of being a paid writer (and for a variety of other reasons), which I am, kinda… but it doesn’t bring in the dinero like what I had been making. That’s meant some changes around Chez Muse, not bad changes, but changes that have been felt.
There have also been some things I’ve learned during the last three months, things that are fairly important when it comes to pursuing my writing dream.
First of all, I love to write my own shit.
Second, I like writing other people’s shit if it’s about a topic in which I’m interested.
Third, writing shit for others about topics I have zero interest is akin to torture.
Fourth, one of the things that I love writing about are my travels and my salary went for travel (among other things) and well… you see where I’m going with this?
I’ve done a lot of soul-searching over the last month along with having some conversations with Mr. Muse. I have felt lost when it comes to “what next” in the job and career department. I’ve not been blessed with the feeling of overwhelming passion gripping me letting me know “THIS” it what I should be doing (other than writing).
For years I have asked friends and acquaintances, on and off, how they choose, or knew, or decided to pursue their line of work. My hair stylist – she knew she wanted to do hair when she was a little girl. My massage therapist – he knew when he was in his mid-teens after a chiropractic visit (he still want to be a chiropractor). Mr. Muse’s childhood involved taking apart electronics and well, that led him to engineering. My mom liked working with numbers so she was a banker.
It seems like most people I know knew to their very depths what they wanted to do from an early age.
Then there’s me. Every article out there that starts in on talking about passion and following your interests leaves me frustrated. The articles on passion make it seem like poof, one day you wake up and there you have it. The articles on developing your interests are more relatable, however, each time I think of pursuing one of my interests as a career, my nose wrinkles and I just don’t see it happening. I just know that I love traveling for fun, I love writing about where I go, and… I want to make sure that continues to be a reality.
I’m frustrated, feeling lost, and as much as I profess not knowing what I’m doing as an adult, I feel that “not knowing” even more.
Now, I need to ask everyone who is reading this what I’ve been asking everyone else: when did you know that you wanted to do what you do for a job/career? What was the moment you knew? Was it an interest? A passion? Something else?
I did not become a lawyer because of a sense of “passion” but because it just seemed to fit my skills and interests well. I was the first in the family to be educated so the immigrant “school is for career” element was always present. In a perfect world I think I’d have pursued a PhD in history and taught, wrote. Ah but the world is far from perfect as am I. All best wishes my friend.
Thank you, David, for commenting – you are a wise man and I always enjoy hearing your perspective on topics. I hope one day we can philosophize in person!
But, back to today’s matter… I think one of the troubles I have is that my interests are so varied that I’m having a difficult time pulling together a common theme. I’m also still stuck on the “forever” thing despite the fact that I know that what I choose doesn’t have to be “forever”. Plus, it seems that EVERY employer is calling for a 4-year degree specific to whatever the industry is that they are in; I have a 2-year Associate of Science. I think I just need to send in my credentials anyway since my experience MORE than makes up for being a newbie fresh out of college. I’ve managed offices, managed projects, done collections and A/R, not to mention Social Media management, quality assurance, and compliance BESIDES having a long background in horticulture and some years at a veterinary clinic.
I don’t even have an answer for the “in a perfect world” scenario. Most of what I can come up with is “I just want to do things that interest me and have people leave me alone to think”. Unfortunately, that doesn’t pay very well, and definitely doesn’t pay for travel. It also makes me come across as very unfriendly, which I know I’m the quite the opposite. Everything I do for fun is something I’m loathe to enter into for career because I don’t want what I enjoy doing to turn into something I don’t like at all. And, the payscales for many of the things I enjoy are very low – I know my target income and I would get laughed at, despite having wicked awesome skills and experience, when I said, “I need X per year and no less than 3 weeks paid vacation.” Because if you don’t ask for it, the answer is always no!
Do you really think that most folks are doing a job that they are passionate about – I don’t. Hopefully it’s a job they can perform competently – maybe they are even good at it. But to wake up in the morning like it’s Christmas morning every day and rush off with a smile to work – I think not. When you tell someone you are going to work – it doesn’t have the same panache as I am going to play. Was your Mom really passionate about being a banker – or was she good at it? Sometimes it’s the torture of writing shit for others that you have no interest in – that allows you to pursue those things you are passionate about.
Oh no, I have no delusions about most people being passionate about what they do – but hopefully they don’t dread it. I haven’t dreaded past jobs, but interoffice drama has driven me away along with incompetent management to handle said drama. Or, horrible management, period.
At this stage, I’ve reached the conclusion that traveling and writing about my travels is FAR more important to me than writing about things for which I have zero interest. That means, a steady job working for someone else.
I knew I wanted to be a photographer when I was in 8th grade. My wife has never felt that passion in anything she does for a living and my 25 yr old daughter is struggling to find her passion.
There is comfort in knowing I’m not alone in my lack of passion. I think it’s disconcerting to see so many job ads requiring 4-year degrees, particularly when one doesn’t possess one. I know I’d be more than qualified when it comes to experience, but that stupid requirement stares at me from the screen. I should just ignore it and go for those jobs that sound interesting.
I knew in high school. I knew that something creative, whether it be photograper, visual artist, writer or stage, was something I had to do. I too left (code for being too expensive to keep) a job that had become tedious. Ten years of designing other people’s shit. Sure, times are a bit tough, I don’t make near as much and the administrative crap drives me crazy but I am doing what I love. It took me a long time and many an adventure to reach this place but now I can say that I’ve tried it and will stick with it. I’m not sure I can work for any other company again nor do I believe any other company would take me on! Hahaha. I will still do things I don’t like but at least I’ll do them on my terms
You curmudgeon, you! And, I honestly just don’t know what I want to do. I love writing, but I want writing to remain enjoyable. One of my big fears is that if I do it full-time as a job, the enjoyment will leave it, and that makes me sad.
You know, it’s funny – I look back and I can tell you that I *LOVED* being on stage – making good music. But I *ALWAYS* tried to “just get through” rehearsals because, well, they’re no fun. Also? I have always loved eating cheese — and there has never been part of the prep there that I didn’t enjoy. So, really, I think I need to be a professional cheese eater. Or a masturbator. I was really good at that and always enjoyed it.
Seriously, though, I see my job as a means to an end – put food on the table & a roof over the family. All along, I’ll figure out the other stuff I’ll need to feed the me – but the timing just isn’t right for me to “not do shit for other people.” However much I’d love to hang up that part of my career.
The means to an end approach seems to be something I’m settling on. Travel is an expensive hobby, one that at this stage of the game, working for someone else for a steady paycheck can make a reality.
I ended up a banker because in the 60’s, women either became a nurse, a teacher or worked in an office. I would have been a terrible nurse and disliked school so steered into office work. And ues, I was good with numbers. In truth, moving up the ladder in banking was mostly the result of making the numbers balance, being reliable and taking what was dished out. One very wise remale bank executive advised at a training seminar that it was important to learn “who you can work with and who you needed to work around”. There was always that noble “Its a Wonderful Life” idea that you could be helpful to your customers and that would make it all worthwhile. Eventually ‘progress” happened and it was no longer fun – too much politics, spend your time sucking up to people who didn’t mean anything to me and losing respect for some of the ‘leaders’ that used to care about the integrity of the institution and the contributions of the staff. It was time to move on and that decision was hard, but not as hard as it would have been only 3 years earlier.
Lord knows the wages in banking were nover as favorable for the women as they were for the men in the same positions, but the bills got paid and there was time for the country home, the critters and the family with all the activities that involved. But passion, nope, didn’t have it, just wasn’t important to me. I know you’ll do well in whatever choice you make, just because something aworks for one person doesn’t mean it is right for the next one. Like Jack Palance in City Slickers professed, the secret of likfe is what you make it.
All true and loss of respect for the leaders was another primary reason for leaving the last job. The work itself wasn’t exciting, but as soon as the complete loss of leadership and integrity happened, it no longer became worth it to stay.
If anything good came of that situation, I know a lot of different questions I would ask in an interview of a potential employer.
I think we all struggle to find ourselves and usually end up doing something that we may be good at but not happy with. Just go where your heart takes you. 🙂
Honestly, everyone’s comments have been incredibly helpful. Talking to Mr. Muse has been as well, especially when it comes to reminding me why I work in the first place: so I can travel. Traveling is one of my first loves – a paycheck enables me to participate in that. I had to stop seeing a job or career as something I leap out of bed for in the morning, but something that allows me to leap out of bed in anticipating of a trip. As long as I don’t dread going into the office, that’s a plus.