On a friend’s recommendation I’m reading the Quaker book Let your Life Speak, by parker J. Palmer – and apparently mine has been bound and gagged in a corner for years – professionally speaking that is.
Now, unlike the author I was probably closest to my true vocation in high school than I am now as a marketing manager for corporate America. I desperate wanted to be a private detective. This was shocking to my mother – as it would be to any sane parent. But my future loves of history and genealogy follow the same lines of looking for clues to find answers.
…So how did I end up here, on the 11th floor of an office building creating powerpoint presentations and web pages? Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I work for a good company, they pay me well, I enjoy my peers, and many would probably love to be doing exactly this!
Well, for starters I went to business school, which for the record I LOVED! It challenged me to do and study things that I never thought I could be successful at. So that was all good. And then I got a job and a promotion, and then a better paying job, and so on..
But job after job (12 years later) I’m less and less satisfied even though I’m more confident, smarter, making more money, and much better at what I do than ever before. I realize that there’s a huge gap missing for me that this type of vocation – that occupies 8 hours of my waking day – doesn’t and never can fill. This isn’t just a “I’d-like-to-read-more” gap, this is the soul punching gap that makes you think “what the F am I doing here??”
The one gap it is filling and the one that can’t be underestimated is $$$. And for many years that was enough. When I was a single mom I could tolerate the daily grind better; I had no choice so I did what I needed to do. Scary thing, choices are.
I’m married now, and for the first time in my life I am faced with the reality that I could quit and do whatever it is I really want to do. Great Right?!
Several of my personal psychoses are standing in the way:
1. Guilt (that’s always a top choice) – guilt over the fact that my not having this job will mean taking my kids out of private school. My son’s school I especially love and it’s been so good for him. We aren’t zoned to great elementary schools. Am I doing them a disservice for a selfish reason?
2. More guilt – I just got married and we bought a new house, expenses are going up not down. My husband has changed his life style a lot to be with me, is it fair to make him the sole bread winner? Massively changing our lifestyle after only a few months of marriage?
3. I don’t have any clue what else I would do! Well, not NO clue, but not enough of a clue that I could justify it by saying “I’ve always wanted to do this!” – Whatever this is. I’m not exactly following a dream, I’d be sort of test driving dreams.
4. Ego – could I go from corporate, six figures to nobody overnight? I would be much harder than I think.
5. Stupidity – people are killing for jobs in this economy and I’m talking about giving one up? Am I crazy?? Should I just be stuffing cash in a mattress as fast as possible until the world implodes?!
Ok, I don’t really think the world will implode. I’m quite an optimist normally. But, admittedly, impatient. But how do I tell the difference between just being impatient for my attitude/job to improve vs. denying myself the opportunity to be truly happy and contributing – in whatever vocation that may be??
Time is the biggest tease in my life. I have a lot of great ideas that I’d like to pursue (at least I think they’re great), but with what time? Between work and kids and possibly more kids I think I may be able to do something I want in the year 2030! I’m drowning in not-for-me-ness…so I tie the gag on my life a little harder and go back to work so that everything will continue to work.
P.S. Writing this is the first time I’ve smiled all day, including the chocolate milk shake I got for lunch.
Any advice is good advice!