Lately, I’ve been unhappy. I really shouldn’t be – I have a wonderful husband, a loving family, enough money to waste buying crap I don’t need, and endless opportunity (of course I believe everyone has this last one). Still, I haven’t been happy.
I suppose it started with my job, or rather, parts of my job. I absolutely loved my job, for awhile. To this day I love the duties, and I love what I should have been able to do. However, there were some staffing issues, and some decisions made by the gods of the agency, and I ended up deciding to leave.
I hope I'm missed.
No, I know I’m missed, at least by the great friends I made there. I’m probably not missed by a few people, people who made my life miserable, though I’ve come to believe they did that only because they were jealous. Honestly, it had to be, because I was damn good at my job, and I was well-liked and respected. Sure, there were a few things I could have handled better, but, after all, hind-sight is 20/20.
Anyway, back to my unhappiness. It definitely started with the job. I was unhappy for a long time; I dreaded going to work, I complained about work, and I brought work (and a bad attitude) home with me. As I said, I finally left the not-so-great-environment for what I hope is a better one. I’m trying something that is still in my field, but yet is new to me – training.
I’ve done a bit of training before, but never full time. I’ve always had a desire to be a teacher, but I’m not sure I want to make a complete change and do all the work that it takes to become a teacher…what if I end up not liking it? What if a kid throws up in my class and I throw up back on them?
So, training…teaching without the vomit.
I started my new job for exactly one day before going on a previously scheduled vacation. I have roughly 30 hours until I have to return to said new job after said vacation, and I’m having second thoughts. Perhaps this wasn’t the job for me. I don’t think anyone liked me. The people aren’t all that great.
I have the first-day-awkward-jitters. Except I’ve had them for almost two weeks now. The first few days on the job are never great, and since that experience was all I’ve had…I’ve been dwelling on it. Never go on vacation, even a previously scheduled vacation, right after you start a new job. Lesson learned.
So, I’ve had all this time to dwell, and it has at least given me time to think about what I want to do with my life. Is the reason that I’m not happy really my job, which I’ve changed, or is it something else? Am I aimlessly changing jobs within the public sector when I’m actually destined for greatness in the private sector (yet am I simply too comfortable and afraid to try something new)?
I realized I’ve been watching too much tv when I decided I was destined to stay home, not work, and take care of my house, my husband, and my dog. Reality has recently set back in, and I now know that not working is absolutely not an option. It’s simply a question of deciding what to do at work. Some people have a passion for things, and they earn money doing those things, or at least working in a related field. My mom could work in a quilt shop, my husband could build furniture. Me? I like a lot of things, but not enough to do them. I'm analytical through and through. Although I could definitely work at Starbucks.
I’ve come to the conclusion that for so long now, my only goal in life has been to get promoted. I started in public service when I was 18. I was a low, low man on the totem pole, I knew I was more talented than lots of people who made more money than me, and I knew that I’d promote as fast as was humanly possible. Well, I’ve done that, and I’m currently stuck where I am while waiting for the next available test. The next test for me is manager, and for a long time now, that’s what I’ve desired.
You know, that’s not what I desired when I started in public service. Clearly my goals have changed along the way, but is that because I truly desire a position in management, or simply because that’s the path I’ve found myself on, and management is the next step in that path? Will I enjoy it? Will I be good at it? Am I thinking about no longer following this path to management because I’m scared, or because I know it’s not what I really want?
I had lunch this weekend with a friend. She’s a single mom, and she seems to do pretty well for herself. She has a nice home full of nice things, and she makes time to spend with family and friends. She is always positive, and seems to know exactly what she’s doing in life.
I was discussing my recent unhappiness with her, and my desire to simply stay at home and cook, clean, and fold the laundry. She said to me, “April, work isn’t what I’m meant to do. I was meant to make cookies with my boys, and watch them be the Three Little Pigs in their school play, and spend time with the rest of my family. Work is just what I do so that I have the means to do those other things.”
Work is just what I do so that I have the means to do those other things.
Wow. That hit home.
So, I don’t have to love my job, or have a job that gives me this amazing sense of purpose…I just have to find something that I enjoy enough to not hate it, so I can earn money to do things with my family. Not to earn money to buy things, or to earn prestige and power, or even to look forward to going to work everyday…but to realize that getting up and going to work means I’ll have the time, and the money, to drive into the city for shopping with friends on the weekend, or to buy food to make seven-layer dip for my friend’s birthday party, or to buy my husband something that I know he’ll enjoy.
Hm. I wonder if I’ll look forward to going to work in 30 hours. I’ll settle for just not dreading it.