Workin' 9-5

22 Nov
Mrs. D over at Life of a Doctor’s Wife has a post up today that totally stopped me in my tracks. And, if I’m being totally honest, made me completely jealous of her. She wrote about how much she loves her job and how much fulfillment she gets out of it. I am not that lucky and that makes me sad.
I don’t love my job so much. Once upon a time, I was a victim advocate at a domestic violence shelter. I LOVED my job. I felt like I was making a difference in the world, I was helping people, and sure the pay sucked, but the fulfillment I got out of the job totally compensated for it. Then my brother died. And then I got pregnant and they told me something might be wrong with the baby. And all of a sudden, I found myself unable to sympathize with people the way a social worker should. I was constantly thinking that people were making their problems much bigger than they were—you’re sad because your 85 year old father died? Well let me tell you about death. You can’t find a job? Well let me tell you what it’s like to be told that something might be wrong with your unborn baby. That kind of thing. I never actually said any of what I was thinking, but I’m sure my attitude came across in my interactions with clients. It was no way for anyone to act, but especially not someone who was in the business of helping people. So when Nolan was born, I quit. It was the right decision at the time, but it’s a decision I regret. Since then I’ve worked in the legal field, in a couple of different capacities. I hate it. I hate the stress, I hate the deadlines, I hate the stuck up lawyers and the greedy clients, I hate the monotony and I hate the voice in the back of my head telling me that I’m not doing anything but making rich people richer. It makes it physically painful to leave my kids in daycare every day to go to a job I don’t like and that doesn’t compensate me adequately for my time and effort. If I were making enough money to significantly impact my family, it would be much easier to put up with the daily grind. But as it stands now, I’m pretty much just working to keep the kids in daycare. That sucks. End of story. I am crabby at work and that filters into my personal life. I dread Mondays with a passion, my stomach clenches whenever I get a work-related phone call and when things are stressful at work, I grind my teeth at night. It’s not healthy and it doesn’t make me happy. I’ve stuck with it for too long, and it’s not getting any better.

 Another important point is that up until now I haven’t felt healthy enough emotionally to make any decisions about my career. I was afraid that the cloud of grief and depression that’s been hanging over me wasn’t allowing me to see things clearly. I wanted to make sure that I was in a good place in my personal life before I changed my professional life. Now that I have some clarity about what I want out of my life personally, it’s time for me to make some changes. I would love to go back to school but that’s not an option for me right now, financially and logistically. So, my only real option is to enter the heartbreaking and competitive world of the job search. And let me tell you, there’s not a lot out there.  

 I’ve never been sure what I want to do with my life. I’m still not 100% sure. But it is time to find a job that fulfills me and makes me happy. Doing that will make me a better person. I know that I need to do something that makes a difference for someone. I know that I love to read, I love to write, and I love helping people. You put all that together and what do you get? Becoming an editor for self-help books? Begging people to read my blog until I build up enough of a following that someone starts paying me to write my drivel on some random website? I just don’t know.

 But I feel the need to say something. Maybe if I admit it to you, Internet, I’ll acknowledge to myself that maybe I can do it. I love to write. I want to write. If I could make writing or editing my job, I would in a nanosecond. Whew. There. I said it. I’ve never really admitted that, for fear that someone might laugh at me. And if that someone were reading this nonsensical stream-of-consciousness blog post, they most definitely would laugh. But there it is. I want to write. It feels good to admit it. But please don’t laugh.

 So I guess I’m off to figure out how one actually becomes a writer. I’m sure it’s real easy.

Ummm… so do you guys know of anyone who would like to hire a talented social worker or a completely inexperienced editor or a mediocre, never-had-anything-published writer??


2 Responses to “Workin' 9-5”

  1. Heather November 23, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    I doubt I can help much from a professional standpoint, but you have 100% of my support. I love your writing style … your honesty … the way you depict a story and share the thorugh process behind every “easy” decision.

    I, for one, am SO HAPPY to see you writing again, sister! Love you!!

  2. Life of a Doctor's Wife November 23, 2010 at 9:11 am #

    You could TOTALLY be a writer.

    One of the best ways to do it is to do it part time. Scour the web for freelance jobs, build up a portfolio, and keep an eye out for companies in your area who are looking for writers. (Marketing departments ALWAYS need writers and sometimes editors.)

    MediaBistro is a good place to get started. Or you can try AWAI online which is a reputable company that offers training in lots of writing fields. (They also offer free e-newsletters that have tips and strategies, and often come with job openings.) Your local newspaper might have some blogging opportunities – may or may not be paid, but you can at least build up a portfolio.

    You CAN do this. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns and I will help as best I can.

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