Thursday, September 01, 2011

Not quite right

I don’t know about this.

About my job, I mean. Even though, if I were being honest, I could apply that statement of doubt and unease to nearly every facet of my life. I’m really not sure about anything at the moment.

But right now, I’m talking about my job.

Last week, I had the review that marked the end of my probationary period. They’re keeping me around. Not that I doubted it – I was named to represent the ‘brary on a fancy-schmancy larger committee just the week before. But now I’m permanent. I’m official.

I’m doubting myself.

I thought that I would be happier. I thought that I would feel more at home. I thought that everything would click into place and I would feel like, finally, I am where I am supposed to be doing the things that I am supposed to be doing.

And I don’t.

Maybe I’m rushing this. Maybe I need to give it more time. But I am doubting this and I am doubting me and I’m questioning every choice that got me to this point and, my goodness, I am one month shy of my 29th birthday – when do I get to feel settled? Or like I’m on the right track? Or confident that I will ever do anything right on the first (or the second) try instead of foundering around and making stupid, costly errors and wasting my time and my life and every opportunity that has ever been presented to me?

I am terrified that this is, again, not quite right and, again, I missed the boat and studied the wrong things and got the wrong degree and followed the wrong path and have the wrong job. It is probably too early to tell. But I’m scared. Scared that I made the same mistake. That I did it again.

A number of my friends feel the same way. It is comforting, I suppose, to know that I am not the only one. That maybe we can blame this on our upbringings and our culture and higher powers and bad luck.

And that we can feel this way together. Like we have no idea what the hell we’re doing or where the hell we’re going but this road? It doesn’t seem right. Do you trust the map? Do you just keep going?


LLandL said...

I'm feeling all of those things... to a T.

Did I make a wrong turn somewhere? Miss a sign? Waste every chance?

I like to think of my life metaphor as a path or a road. Forward progress. That even if I can only see four inches in front of me most of the time, the engine is at the very least still running.

And I'm not patient AT ALL and I worry all the time, so it's difficult to just chill. And then I think back to six months ago. I wasn't volunteering, I wasn't running, I didn't even really have a set home base. I have all of that now... so there's some progress. Even if it's not a lot, it's there.

doahleigh said...

Maybe it's a generational thing? A female thing? A midwest thing? I don't know, but I feel and ask all the same things.

I wonder if my advanced degree was the right one to get. I wonder if I'm in the right field. I'm constantly looking for a new job. We're getting ready to move. Again. I'm never settled, never know what I want or what I'm doing.

I'm constantly questioning. So I have no good advice for you, but I can tell you you're not alone!

Teagan B. Sawyer said...

I completely feel the same way! You put the words perfectly.
Hang in there.
Selfishly it makes me feel better and less alone and less crazy to hear someone else feeling the same things.
And hey it could be worse...

Kari said...

You are not alone! Give it time, you've had a lot of changes this year.
Have a great long weekend!


Anonymous said...

I completely relate to this. I just finished a master's (after 5 years of professional work experience), that I thought would get me exactly where I wanted to be. The problem is that I no longer feel as excited to be in the places that the degree can take me. ;)

I remind myself that there all sorts of things out there in the world to do professionally-- companies, niches, etc. that are just now being created. I think of a Google hotshot who once said that they had planned out their career for the long-term, but obviously couldn't have planned on ending up at Google, since when they were making these plans, Google didn't exist yet. ;)

There is hope for all of us. DO you read Penelope Trunk's blog? I love her career advice.

Heather said...

so, given my recent employment disappointment, i'm torn between wondering all these same things and hoping that the powerball ticket in my pocket is The One so i can just finally Give The Fuck Up, because if no one wants to let me BE more than data entry even though they all can see i can DO far more than just data entry, then why NOT just stop?

given that my roommate is moving to boston by month's end and i'm going to be down in a city where i know no one else, and the loyalty to my company diminishes more and more by each rejection, i am finding myself also at a crossroads. do i suffer through the next few months, scrimping and saving to move closer to home? i could move to the other side of the MA/RI border, be an hour closer to home, have some friendly faces in the city, and still equidistant from work as i am now, which would provide me the flexibility to stay at this job while broadening the pool for new prospects. but i feel like there's still more here, in this city, for me to do. i don't feel done yet. so moving, while always an option, doesn't feel "right."

but jobs locally are low-paying. money, unfortunately, is something of an importance. i'm not interested in bumping my commute to two hours each way to work in boston, so this keeps me tied to my present job, which is making me miserable, leading me back to the start of the circle- with no roommate, i am now free to move about as i please. which one month ago, is all i very much wanted - i was feeling stifled, i was feeling trapped, i was feeling like things had to change before i lost my mind. but now, that very same freedom has me feeling frozen. i often state that the choices that led me here were some of the best i'd ever made, and that pressure has me wondering if that analysis holds true with the more time that passes. and i can't be sure. no one is ever sure.

so where does that leave me? where does that leave you? i suppose it leaves us both in the same boat of what-ifs. what if you DID study the wrong thing? what's so terrible about that? you're still alive. you can still go learn something else and be something else. but before you do, define for yourself who says it's wrong and why. because if you choose to change things because you think that everyone else thinks you've made a mistake, you're still doing it wrong. because the secret is that your choices have to be right for you- not for what you perceive other people to want for you. everyone's path is different. it took me a long time to learn this - to keep learning this.

i don't know what my choices by the end of the weekend will be - i've delayed my personal goals of finding employment elsewhere by a full six months because hope has been a cruel mistress, leading me on, over and over. i do know that i plan to clean out my closet, hopefully find a pair or two of work pants that fit, and finally go check out some live roller derby, and just get out of my own way for 24 hours (this is easier said than done).

if you're doing what you love - and by all accounts i think you might be - then i don't think you're making a wrong choice. everything that is new is hard until it becomes easy. you're still in the hard part. you'll get to the easy part, i know this. you know this. however, if you really don't think you will, know that the beauty of each day is that - as lucy maude montgomery wrote in Anne of Green Gables - it's fresh, with no mistakes in it. it's also a fresh opportunity to change yourself. if at your very core you're not happy and not pleased, go be something that does make you happy and pleased. if you're simply feeling unsettled because you're not where you thought you'd be ten or fifteen years ago, keep doing the things that make you happy now, and that feeling will pass. don't be so hard on yourself; you're doing far better than you think you are.

my life is brilliant said...

You know I just keep going. We've talked about this over email. I hate my job. Fuh. King. Hate it. Every day. Even weekends and holidays. But I go, because apparently I'm stubborn to a fault.

I don't think you got the wrong degree. I hate that you're not happy in your job because I know how frustrating that is. But hopefully this position puts you in a place to be able to more freely enjoy your time outside of said job.

That's the only benefit of mine. *le sigh*

kim said...

This is exactly what happened to me when I left my last job for my current job. Although I still have this job two years later, I'm fully aware that it is not the path for me. I've found some joys in the job but they're mostly related to the fact that I've had time and luxury to explore other interests while being employed. Maybe that's what this time is for you. Time to readjust and refocus.

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