Driving home tonight I felt the need to reaffirm with myself what it is that I want out of life.
My most immediate thought was that I needed a glass of wine . . . that of course would wait until I got home – but at least it was something that I could make happen pretty well immediately.
So with the thought of a lavishly large glass of cabernet sauvignon waiting for me at home I pondered just how disconcerting it was to find oneself at a certain age and not doing what it was that you thought you would be. Even after having spent years attempting to do just that.
How do teenagers figure this stuff out – they are forced to make decisions about there career at such an early age. All I can remember thinking as a teen was that I really didn’t know what specific career I wanted to take part in – all I knew were a couple key things.
1 - I didn’t want to do anything with math, and 2 - I loved to write.
My best advice to teens being forced into choosing their career path at such an early age is, to be true to you and to do something in tune with the things you love and are passionate about.
Once upon a time in my life I did love my job - it was such a great job that I didn't even think of it as a job. One day I found myself becoming complacent and thought I could do better . . . it turns out maybe I should have stayed where I was – but at the time I thought I was making the best decision. Being me I also have to find a positive way to spin it – the decisions that I made weren’t bad ones . . . they all had a reason, I just had to go on this journey. If I hadn’t gone on this journey I would not have met the people that I did, nor would I have learned the things I learned and I wouldn’t be where I am now, who I am now or with the wonderful man in my life now had I stayed where I was when I was supposedly so happy. And as the adage goes, you can't go home again because home isn't the same as when you left it. And that certainly rings true of the workplace that I loved and still hold very dear to my heart. It's not the same, and if I were to go back now I would be very unhappy.
I left the job I loved for a fantastic opportunity that was in essence handed to me when I was in my early 20's. I thought I had it made, and many others did too. Unfortunately it was all a show and I soon came to find that I wasn't ready to handle the blows thrown at me by people I thought would be more respectable - they certainly had been people that I had respected - at any rate, I recall being in the office one day working on one thing or another and being asked in front of a number of people, "and what is it you would like to be when you grow up my dear - that is outside of something the boss chases around the desk?" I guess somehow this withered up old prune was satisfied by trying to belittle me in front of a crowd. Without batting an eye (I knew enough that that would be a sign of weakness, I waited till after when I was alone to be upset) I replied that I wanted "to be happy." My answer was unexpected and she shut up, never to bother me again - to my face at least. Maybe I wasn't the bimbo dip-shit she thought I was. I do believe the Grinch’s heart grew two sizes that day.
Fast forward several years and I grew even more of a backbone, perhaps spurred on by the displeasing and unfair working conditions I encountered in a variety of places - I was becoming jaded. I armed myself with knowledge, attending human resources classes and becoming, of all things (I'm not sure how) a union steward - seems somehow people saw me as knowledgeable and fair. Unfortunately working with the
I started to realize that maybe work wasn't everything. It isn't - it is a means to an end and if you are lucky enough, as I was at one time, you will end up doing what it is that you love. It is truly sad that so many people have such a difficult time finding that balance between work and life. In the society we have today life is work and vice versa. Why is it that so many companies and organizations promote a workplace where people arrive at their desk by 9am and don't leave it (only for bathroom breaks) until 5pm? The time for breaks and lunches goes out the window, no one has time. Instead of being encouraged to maintain that balance of life and work, staff are encouraged by example to sit in that one stationary place for hours while their arteries harden - you tell yourself everyone else is doing it, I guess I should too . . . ? You don't want to be seen as not part of the team - a team player willing to go that extra mile like everyone else - after all everyone is busy building the bottom line.
As I drive home saying to myself that things will get better because I am experienced, knowledgeable, qualified and a good worker - I think "how the hell did I get to this place again?" What is it in my life that is most important? My result - My family, my partner and doing something that inspires me. After losing my father this year and fearing the loss of my mother because of her diagnosis with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma I find that I know what is most important - and it isn't working my ass off (mostly in the attempt to cover it) for the Miranda Priestley’s of the world. Miranda should be working for me.
Being a part of the rat race is what I wanted to avoid and what I therefore must leave. But how do I navigate myself to where I want to be . . . the answer doesn't come to me immediately - but I know that I will come to it.