At some point you just have to take the leap and go get or do that thing that you know will make you happy. I’m my case I’m subtley referring to finding some sort of career that I feel challenged and excited by. A career where I feel useful and competent, where I have some sort of specialized skill set that most people don’t.
I’m not a social worker by trade. Heck, I don’t even really like being surrounded by people. People complicate things and I’m a freak about avoiding comlications. The social work thing was just a job I basically stumbled into as a stop gap. In the beginning it was a perfect diversion from the noxious fumes and DNA-scrambling chemicals I had been working with in the lab. I worked part-time and picked up shifts that suited me. There was really no responsibility to tackle serious issues or meet anybody’s expectations. I just went in each day and had as much fun as possible. Basketball, frisbee, nature hikes, whatever. I was happy and I think I made people around me happy with that positivity.
Of course I got my paperwork done and did whatever was asked of me and people were like “wow, you’re a good worker, you should apply for that open full-time position,” and I was like “hmm, I could use the vacation time and a raise really would be nice, yeah, why not?” And then at first I played the same cards, or at least tried to, and went into my new full-time position with the same expectations of making my job work for me, of having fun and enjoying working at a place where I could wear shorts and sandals if I chose to. But then I began sitting in meetings talking about specific goals for kids and then I began sitting on official-sounding comittees, planning campus-wide events. And I wasn’t as happy as I used to be and people were like “you’re too quiet, we know you’re smart, it’s a shame you don’t speak up more.”
Suddenly I had expectations that I wasn’t meeting (and at the same time I also had some unholy terrors whipping pool balls at my head daily) and every day I came home angry until finally I was like “forget this, I’m going to spend the summer working the pool,” and I tried to put in my two weeks notice. But, I guess I was liked enough at work where they were like “no, no, just try this first,” and they moved me to a home where I thought I’d be more comfortable. And this was better in the sense that I no longer had to duck flying objects every day.
For about six months I kept seeing this as a temporary job, something that I could tolerate and not be stuck in a cubicle, where I could get paid to run around playing football. Just until something real came along. But recently I’ve been working harder, acting more responsibly and investing myself in the welfare of the kids and the program, doing things on my days off, speaking up more, and coming up with bigger ideas. Which has created a new conundrum.
I’ve been doing things that ultimately will get me better job within my company assuming I stick around for another couple of years. So really I’m at the point where I need to decide if that’s what I want to do or not. Do I want to continue working hard (and largely going unrecognized for these actions) and commit to my role as a teenage role model? Or do I want to get out now while I’m still young enough to try just about anything else?
Because Spring is coming and everyone knows that’s the time when things get done, when things change. And the time when schools accept applications. And when most people sell their homes.
I’ve got some things resolved for 2006. Some general resolutions, some specific. I plan on making it a ridiculously fine year.