Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Greetings from the Island of Misfit Toys

I am having angst. It is career-related angst, and it is not a pretty thing. It is a bright red, heavy, sharp-horned little creature yanking on my neck and piggybacking along throughout my days.
In a recent post I wrote that my current job, the one I referred to as Safety School and where I’ve been for all of two months, is not Awesome with a capital A. I bemoaned the fact that I took the job out of desperation. I noted that a position at my First Choice, where I really wanted to work, was still open.

I don’t think I have fully conveyed how unhappy I was at my previous job. I had been there for 5 ½ years, still love the organization and the people there, but the job itself was killing my soul. I wasn’t growing at all and there wasn’t any way for me to move up or even laterally there.

This new thing I’m doing is a higher level than what I was doing before, but I am still basically doing a lot of the same functions. Now I am supervising staff and that is taking up a lot of time, because I am editing work as well as writing my own.

But it is still the same hamster wheel.

I am trying to figure out what to do now, realizing it is partly the place where I work but also partly the work I am doing that is clouding my days.

In all this, I am aware that I am very lucky to have a job. My job is what gives my family health insurance and a steady paycheck. It has now been almost two years since Sweet Dub was laid off. He continues to freelance, and some months are better than others. Quite honestly, I feel a steady low-thrumming, kind of free-floating anxiety in the back of my mind much of the time.

I am wondering how to transition out of this. Can I afford to take classes on the side? Should I actually enroll in a degree program or just pick up a class here or there? How can I handle this job in the meantime? Why won’t a pile of money drop from the sky? Would I be better off just dropping off the grid and moving my whole family to…I don’t know, where would we move to?

I feel I am operating out of fear rather than out of enthusiasm in this career thing right now. I am skateboarding (badly) while holding an egg. I can’t just leave, and I don’t want to bail out of this job into another one doing what I have grown to dislike. I have decided against trying to re-apply for a job at First Choice as the appeal of that job was not the job itself but the organization, which is very artsy and creative—as opposed to where I am now, which is very rigid and sterile.

(An aside: I have never worked anywhere where such a high degree of social awkwardness pervades nearly every interaction. It is truly bizarre.)

(Also:  I found out that the person I now supervise interviewed for my job. And really wanted it. And is rather bitter and sarcastic, occasionally flaring up with an attitude when I ask her to do things. Work things, conveyed to me by my boss as Things We Need To Do. Oh, it is a blast and a half at Safety School.)

(Not to worry, I am documenting everything.)

 So, yeah. It is a conundrum! A dilemma! And being the Grown-Up sucks some days, the end.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Safety School

When I was job hunting this fall, I applied for a couple of positions, and I got an offer at the first one I interviewed at before I even interviewed with the one I really wanted. It’s like being picked by your safety school and having to give them a decision before you hear from your first choice.

So:  as I was in the midst of the serious due diligence required to be employed at Safety School (fingerprinting, criminal check, etc), I got a call for an interview from First Choice, but they couldn’t schedule anything for nearly three weeks. You know where this is going, right? I scheduled an interview, and in the meantime as much as I delayed with Safety School, they made me an offer. At this point I still hadn’t had an interview with First Choice, so I decided a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush, or whatever that crappy expression is. I took it.

I took four weeks off in between jobs and I have now been at Safety School for six weeks. To be blunt: it is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Today I found myself driving past convenience stores when they weren’t even on my way home*—oops, I mean I found myself back on the website for First Choice. It appears that the position is still open.

Er-hrrrrm.  This is a bit of a pickle. More to come.

* Sorry, couldn’t resist. I just have that image in my head of Nicholas Cage driving slowly past the convenience store in Raising Arizona, feeling hemmed in by domestic life and trying to resist going back to his checkered and more exciting past.