I don't like talking about what I do for a living. I go to these social gatherings now and then where people ask me and then when I tell them they look all enthusiastic for about twenty seconds because it sounds like something that should be interesting to talk about, even though in practice it's not. Then they come up with these stories about so-and-so who really wanted to be what I am but never quite got there, and inevitably they ask me why I chose my job. I dread these conversations. Perhaps I should explain.

You know those women who decided on a whim one day not to use contraception and are now complaining about getting knocked up and raising a kid? Don't you just hate them? Well, metaphorically speaking, I am such a woman. People kept asking me in high school what I wanted to be when I grew up and I got bored with telling them I didn't know, so racked my brains and gave them the best idea I had at the time and, well, since then I just haven't managed to think of anything better. That's the whole story. And now I'm here, I don't exactly like it, but I still can't think of anything better. Well I can, but, see profile re: infertility.

And to make matters worse (warning: middle-class whining about complete non-problems continues for another whole paragraph) my sisters are, metaphorically speaking, the infertiles who struggled for years to gain what I take for granted. Woe, and again I say woe is me. I like to say I inspired them. Whatever - point is they both chose the same career path I did, and they both strove hard for years to claw their way into my position whereas I skipped and hopped straight from highschool to uni to graduation to my first job in the minimum possible time, all the while trying (but failing) to think of a more appealing alternative. Yes, it really sucks being me.

I think I'm ready to get over it.

If the longest I can work full time without throwing some sort of "stuff all this I'm going to Morocco to find myself" fit is under a year, it's time to move on. Mr Bea, bless him, has been very tolerant up til now. He says, as if he's not directly contradicting himself, "Sure! Alternative Career Path A sounds perfect for you - go for it!" and also, "You know, the career path you're on suits you so well, I really think returning to it** is the right choice!" plus, from time to time, "Well, just don't forget to send me a postcard! With camels on it!"

The fact is, what little satisfaction I do derive from my job is completely offset by the enormous level of stress it causes me. Causes me, mind you - other people don't seem to respond this way. And there are many who find my job intensely satisfying, but for some reason not me. The bottom line is I've been trying to follow a career path I find to be highly stressful and mostly unsatisfying. I mean, it's just stupid, isn't it? Plus I'm not very good at it.

Also - and this is key - in the shit fight between Mr Bea taking the job he really actually does want in Singapore, continuing to do IVF, and devloping my career, developing my career got so totally done over by the other two it woke up in hospital in a completely foreign state where the authorities are still waiting for it to recover its memory so they can ascertain its identity and contact its next of kin. And no-one, it seems, has so far reported it missing.

To sum up.

Please help Bea discover her purpose in life. A small prize* goes to the winner.

*Prize may be, like, really really small.

**Read "falling back on it".


Serenity said...

I think that it is a rare person who knows their "purpose in life." I certainly am not one of them. My career path has been a hodgepodge of "let's try this" over and over and over again. Three different careers in less than 10 years since I graduated college. Two masters degrees to go along with the career change. A crapload of student debt.

Yet the same thing happens with me too - about every year I throw in the towel and tell J that I missed my calling somehow.

Course, I don't know what that actually IS.

Except for the having kids part. I know that's part of my calling. Focusing on my career takes the back burner to that.

That's my very long way of saying that you are NOT alone, hon. And I wish I could help more, but I'm in the same place.

I've often thought about working with a "Life Coach" to help me figure out what it is I want to do with the rest of my life. I've just been too chicken. Because if she tells me that I'm best suited for something in which I have to go back to school, I think J will laugh me out of the house.

But maybe that's a start for you?

That's about all the assvice I've got. If/when you do figure it out, I'd love to hear how you did it. :)

Lut C. said...

I wanted to have kids first, and worry about a career later. That hasn't worked out, so now I feel guilty for not taking advantage of the time I have to work on my career.
I hadn't really decided what that career was going to be either.
The frustration, obsession and blues kind of get in the way.

To boot, my job is a stress factor in my life all on it's own. I really don't want to deal with it. You're not alone.

Carol said...

well, I'm going to have agree with Serenety and Lut - I don't have any great advice for you either, except to say that you're not alone. I am somewhat in the same boat - feel into a career a lot of people would kill to have. It used to be really, really fun and somewhat glamorous. But I've neglected it so much during the last 2 years of IF that now I have basically no work to do and I hate coming to work. So please let me know if you figure out the magic solution to this problem.

I guess I've just figured that any moment now the IVF will work and I'll be pregnant, and then I won't give a crap about what my career is because I will have a baby.

Unknown said...

Career? What's that?
Everyone I know is amazed I have had the same job for just over 5 years.... including me. I can't even remember some of the jobs I have had.
Being a social worker is totally my thing. I was always the 'counselor' for all my friends and my husband's, too.

Is there anything realistic you like? I say realistic because I love scuba diving but can't make a living at it. Aside from the fact I live in AZ (0:

One day, just look through the jobs ads and see what jumps out at you. If you're into social work, or working with kids, how about applying with the State? There are tons of positions and once you're in, you can laterally transfer to any other State position. Of course, you don't make much with government work, but you might find something you ENJOY.

So do I win!!!???

Anonymous said...

I think infertility really effs up the concept of a purpose in life or best-suited career. It's so hard to "find yourself" when everything around you seems out of sorts. I too wish that I could figure out what it is I'm supposed to be doing. But I think I'm in too resentful a place right now to make clear decisions.

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