I’ve written and deleted a few different posts that border on this over the last several months. Generally they revolved around some frustration with something I had done or was doing (going to conventions, writing, whatever) that I wasn’t happy with. I ended up scrapping them because ultimately the disatisfaction I experienced arose from my own internal issues.
I didn’t want to muddy other things just because I have issues, and I couldn’t give an honest assessment without reflecting those. So I generally gave up. Because I hate the idea of filling my blog with my own existential whining. And I have a lot of things I don’t talk about.
I’ve lately felt motivated to do something about this and begun taking small steps. Since I know I’m hardly alone in this, I figured I’d share my experiences. I don’t know where I’m going with this. But hopefully my broken and scorched trail will help someone else.
There are a few things that have brought me to this point in my life.
First, I’ve struggled for years with depression and other things. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve received the right level of medication. I still have my bad days, but it’s no longer every day. The difference is so astounding, it has cast my pre-medication life in an entirely new light. I’ve resisted talking about this openly for a while for many reasons, including stigmas against mental health and putting this out for potential future employers to see. But I’ve come to realize that I’ve had an Internet presence for 20+ years in one form or another. There are worse things that people can find about me.
Second, I don’t know what to do with my life. Call it a lack of meaning, I guess? I don’t have career goals, my past attempts at finding career goals have repeatedly tanked. Instead ,I’ve just stumbled through a series of jobs where I’ve been competent enough to be valued but never happy with where I am. I’m on the cusp of 40, and I just feel kind of lost and all too mortal. (Yes, while I recognize intellectually that 40 is not really that old, emotionally it is weighing on me. I’m not entirely sure why.)
Third, I have a metric crap-ton of debt. I’ve always been bad with managing my money, and I’ve suffered for it. I won’t name a number. Let’s just say that if I stopped spending money on *anything* else, I could probably pay it all off within a year. Maybe less. And this is with a well paying government job. I bring this up mainly because it feeds into the other two problems pretty heavy.
For the last decade, these three things have loomed larger in my life than before. Toss in a divorce and an evolution in my belief system, and it’s been a mess. It impacts a lot of my life. My current theory is that I lack a purpose. Or meaning. They might not even be the right words. But it’s a working model.
I’m seeking to solve that through finding a career that I actually care about. Which isn’t easy with the whole debt thing. But I spend most of my waking ours at a job that’s emotionally unsatisfying at best. While it provides hilarious inspiration for my writing sometimes, it’s increasingly draining.
For a while I thought I wanted to write full time, and maybe I still do. But it’s not an option for me at this point with the whole mountain-o-debt thing. Because seriously: Authors don’t generally make much money. Especially SF writers. I won’t belabor the point. Google it if you don’t believe me.
So a couple weeks ago, when looking for something else entirely on the King County website, I discovered that the County has a Career Support Services Program. (I work for King County, for those who don’t know.) And it’s come at a point where I’m really feeling motivated to find a change.
There was a point a few years ago when I had reached a need to change and saw a career counselor on my own time and dime. And it was generally helpful, but I didn’t have much success early on and ultimately chickened out. Because it was hard for me to leave the County and give up good pay, benefits, and retirement on a “maybe this will be better.”
It doesn’t help that I’ve gotten burned a lot in past attempts to change to a more satisfying job.
So here I am, back at it. I had my first meeting with someone from the Career Support group. Talked about where I am with my job and my life. My Introversion and my Myers Briggs results came up. She asked to see my Myers Briggs info. I don’t know what became of the test I did with the other career counselor, so I did a new one and this is what I have:
Introvert(67%) iNtuitive(25%) Feeling(38%) Judging(1%)
•You have distinct preference of Introversion over Extraversion (67%)
•You have moderate preference of Intuition over Sensing (25%)
•You have moderate preference of Feeling over Thinking (38%)
•You have marginal or no preference of Judging over Perceiving (1%)
She recommended a workshop through Centerpoint Institute for Life and Career Renewal, specifically the “Passion Search” workshop. The cynical part of me recoils at the thought of a bunch of new agey touchy-feely stuff. But at this point in my life I’m desperate enough to try something new.
The biggest downside is that it’s $625, which is a bit outside of my budget. They have a free introductory thing every Tuesday evening, so I’m going to check it out. Hopefully it won’t be as hard-sell as other things that are offered as “free.”
I’m also to look at job listings of various sorts to see what jumps out at me. Not searching with an eye towards actually applying. Just seeing what things appeal to me and what don’t. This is all with an eye towards creating a “Vision Statement.” The author of the link uses Google+ as his web site. Not sure how much I can respect him after that, but I guess I’m going to give it a shot.
She also sent me this site as a way to look at different sorts of occupations:
I hope if someone else is in the same place in their life, my shared experiences will help them along.