Archive for December, 2009

Suck

This day was full of suckage. Indeed there was much suckatude happening.

This is the problem with my current job. While it is somewhat in my field and pays decent, I am hating the person that I am becoming in this job. I have made my list of things that I want in my work, but here is a list of some of the qualities that my current job is bringing out in me:

~ Anger ~ inpatience ~ paranoia ~ control

That’s to name a few. Yet, I would be a fool to leave my job in this economy, when there is no gurantee that I would find a different job.

Right?

Yeah. Right. I suppose I am just having a bad day, really. I have been looking over my list and trying not to feel hit over the head with the amount of things on that list that do not jive with my current job.

About 7 months ago, I had the opportunity to switch jobs. The problem is that the new job would have been about a 7k pay cut. I hemmed and hawwed and eventually, I did not take the new job (obviously!). About 3 months after I turned down this job, my current job offered a “buyout”. 25% of your current salary and you had to be gone by the first of the year. A great deal if you are young, going back to school, moving out of the area, retiring, or if you have another job lined up.

None of these things apply to me, unfortunately. I did have another job opportunity during that time, but I didn’t get the job.

Now, I have turned down one job and lost another and did not take the financial opportunity to get “unstuck” and I am feeling trapped. This is awful on 2 levels. First of all, who wants to feel trapped, right? But second of all I feel guilty because, as my manager is quick to point out, there are thousands of people who would probably sell their blood for the chance to feel “trapped” in my job.

But is the economy and guilt really a good reason to stay in a job that is bringing out the worst in your personality? That’s a good question. I think that it’s a good enough reason not to walk away without another job. But what about taking a lesser paying job? This assumes that a lesser paying job would present itself. Of course, I HAD a lesser paying job all lined up and ready to go, yet I turned it down.

The fact of the matter is that most social workers don’t make as much as I do. This means that I would walk out of my job and, if I stay in my current career, I would take a pay cut, period.

I am talking myself in circles. In case you hadn’t noticed. But I think I am back to my central point. All of this is pointless if you don’t know what it is that you like to do, or want to do.

I think that the bottom line is that I do not like being a social worker, but I’m good at it.

Now what?

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The job. Day 2.

Ok, well, it’s been more than 2 days since my last post but you get the gist.

So I have been looking over that lists and looking at some of the things that I listed. Some of the qualities that I listed are not relevant in terms of a job search. For example, I am 40 years old. I am probably not going to be a professional performer at this point, or a professional musician. Not because 40 year olds don’t do these things, but because the sacrifices that I would have to make in order to be even remotely successful are too much. And the truth is that I would likely not be more than remotely successful. Not worth it.

To take a small detour quickly, I watched Julie & Julia last night. Cute movie. Not the point. I was watching this movie and was struck by the life of Julia Child and how she made a career out of doing something she loved and how lucky she was to be able to do that. And I guess that is the one thing that is missing on my list. Simple, I would like to be doing something that I love.

I don’t know that I would say that I love what I am doing. I don’t hate it, as I said it’s a decent job. But I like many other starry-eyed world savers, got into Social Work because I wanted to help people. As I have told countless people since then, If you really want to help people, get a job that makes a lot of money and 1) donate and 2) volunteer. THAT is the recipe to help people. If you want to instead be trapped up in endless yards of red tape and maybe sort of help one out of every 100 people who you come in contact with then go get your license to practice social work and dive in!

If you’d like to know where to sign up, just email me! Try to resist my enticing description! I should write for the local schools program catalog!!

Eh. It’s true though. Social workers burn out early and fast, and there is a reason for that.

Anyway, this is more about focusing on what I want than dwelling on what is wrong with what I have. So. The first thing I think I need to do is free up some time to try doing some things that I love.

With that though, I have given up one of the 2 days I am working my second job. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but you know, baby steps.

I am going to try 2 new things to start. I am going to take a sculpting class at the arts center and try to get back in touch with my creativity and I am going to start making some of my own, all natural “beauty” products… bath salts, lotions, massage oils, etc. I think I am going to try to sell them, too. We’ll see.

That is my short term goal. My long term goal? Purchase a really nice digital SLR camera and give my old one to the Child. Then take him out and take pictures. We can then work together to clean up the shots and pick out our favorites. The goal being to express some creativity and maybe change how we view the world.

Plus, the child will have a BLAST! Which is what it’s all about, anyway!!!

The Job. Day one.

Ok, let’s get this party started!

I said I was going to focus on work, first, didn’t I? So let’s do that.

I am not miserable win my job. On the contrary, in many ways I have an awesome job. That said, keeping it until I retire would not be the worst thing in the world. But lately, I am feeling my age. When I was 20, everything was limitless possibilities and the question of “what will I be” was still undetermined. At 25 or 30, I could still change careers. I guess I feel like the older I get, the more “locked” into my profession I am. Logically, though I know this is not true. I know that at 60, I could start painting and redefine myself as a painter. I could retire as a social worker and start a second career as a baker at 65. Life truly IS limitless possibilities, so I think that the first thing I want to do is list all of the things that I am good at. I also want to list things that I would love to do if money were not an issue. And finally, values that are important to me that I would like to reflect in my work.

Ok. So. Things I am good at:

I can sing
I can write
I can analyze work
I can communicate ideas effectively
I am computer literate
I am an excellent public speaker and enjoy a crowd
I can play music
I am extensible schooled in Mental Health
I am an excellent case manager
I can prioritize
I can bake
I can problem solve effectively
I can promote teamwork and morale
I am creative
I am a leader
Knowing and understanding people
Helping people maximize their strengths

I may go back and add to this list. This is a work in progress

So, if Money were not an issue:

I would paint, or draw or do something else artistic that I am not good at
I would spend more time playing and writing music
I would work on a community garden
I would bake
I would write
I would read
I would provide support and feedback to anyone who asked for it
I would learn a new skill, such as pottery or knitting
I would create my own cleaning products and skin care products
I would cook from scratch

Again, I may add to this at a later time

Finally, What values are important to me that I would like to reflect in my work:

I would like to be encouraging and empowering women
I would like to be supporting the creative process
I would like to be able to feel peaceful and have others feel that as well
I would like to make enough to support my family
I would like to show respect for the earth
I would like to be able to lead by example
I would like those I serve to leave feeling better than when they started
I would like to have enough flexibility to be there for my family.

Again, by no means an exhaustive list.
Ok, so I need to look all of this over and see what it tells me about where I am and what I want or would ultimately be happy with. I can already see some areas in which my current job is in conflict with my values. But more on

Touchdown!

Goals goals goals… Goals are one of those things that I have always attributed to the Olympics… like “hey what’s your goal” “Well, I’m training for the Olympics!”

 Yeah. Here’s a memo… I will never be anywhere near the Olympics.

 That’s said, I am in desperate need of some goals. And not just the New Years resolution kind. I need the “wow this actually made a change” kind.

 So, here is my issue. I’m lazy. Ok, that’s not entirely true. My real issue is that I overwhelm myself. I could come up with any number of goals right now and I can guarantee you that they would not be any where near obtainable.

So, if the above content has bored you already, then you are about to be bored even further, because I am thinking that I am going to use this space to document my goals and the way I plan on achieving them. But the first thing I need to do is to clarify exactly what it is I want.

 This is going to be a feat in and of itself, so for goal number one, I am going to take the next week and every day, tackle a different area in my life and clarify it. When I am all done, I am going to look it over and develop some realistic goals based on what I figure out from this process.

Sound good? Ok, then.

 Tomorrow, I am going to tackle my job/career. That should be fun.

Or something.

Classic..

The truck in front of me driving home had the following 3 bumper stickers:

“Bush/Cheney 04”

“Proud to be a parent of a cub scout”

“I heart hooters”

Nice. Not even sure how to follow that up. Not sure that it REQUIRES follow up.

Also, my dad has cancer. Dudes, CANCER. The doctors don’t know what kind but it looks like lung cancer.

Me? I’m ignoring it until a biopsy proves that  the doctors are full of shit.

in which I have no substance at all. Or purpose. In other words, I am writing just to write. Aces!

One of my friends at work has a theory that the universe is shifting, and by the way she describes it, I think she is right.

It seems as if people who have been having a hard time are suddenly having an easier time and people who have been skating through life are suddenly hitting road blocks. Anyone else noticing this pattern?

As for my life, things are going very well. I have found that sometimes it takes something horrible happening to open up the gates to better-town.

The gates to better -town. I am a literary genius.

Point being that there is something to the notion of embracing the dark. One of my friends told me recently that he is the person who always says he “plans for the worse but hopes for the best”. He then pointed out that this is makes him a pessimist with no confidence. Clever as that is, I think that it is the overwhelming attitude of most of society. But I think maybe we should all be “planning for the best IN SPITE of the worst”.

Sometimes a building has to fall for a better building to be built!

Also, my Wii fit is still mocking me. If you do not own this game, run out and get it and watch what your Mii does when the scale registers your BMI as too high. It is the equivalent of sticking it’s tongue out and calling me a fat ass. However, the child is no longer horrified so much as he is hysterically amused. I am glad my weight issues amuse someone.

(incidentally, “weight issues” may be a bit dramatic. No one has ordered a fork lift for me yet.”

Yet.

Funny. But not Ha Ha funny…

As I write this, I am listening to a news report of a 17 year old who murdered his 10 year old brother. I wish that I could tell you that my reaction is horror and shock. But it’s not. It’s simply sadness. I wish that this were unusual, but it’s not. The things that people are capable of… it’s astounding. Seriously, I know. I am just glad that this child murderer was not under 10. Frankly, that’s all I haven’t dealt with yet, is murder. The younger kids, though, they do everything else. If you believe that there is anything that a young child is not capable of, then I will tell you first hand that you are wrong. Rape, Arson, Felonious Assault… it’s out there and it’s not some mistake in the way the police report it. It’s happening.

That said, there is a reason behind these young children who do such awful things. These aren’t bad seeds. These are kids who counted on their family to do right by them and in most cases, the family just couldn’t. Couldn’t keep them safe from abuse or community violence. Couldn’t keep them safe from drugs. Couldn’t keep them safe, period.

Family is a funny thing. This random group of people that you end up with. People who you can only get so far away from because they are linked to you by DNA. Family can define who you do or do not become. They can show you the best and the worst and leave you wondering how much of who you are is a reflection of them.

Family should be compassionate towards each other. They should be tolerant and sensitive. But in the end, we do well to remember that in many ways we are glorified animals and in nature, a lot of animals eat their young. I suppose, given that perspective, maybe we should be grateful that all we did was fight over the turkey instead of ending up on the plate.

We can only make so many choices where family is concerned. But I can tell you one thing. Abuse is never ok. Never. There is no excuse or reason or justification to put your hands on another person like that. No matter their age. There is never a reason to belittle or demean another person. There is never a reason to treat anyone, least of all your family, as anything less than an extension of yourself. Not just treating them as you would want to be treated, but treating them as they would have you treat them. Sometimes that means simply taking their feelings into consideration. Sometimes it means not beating them down simply because you don’t like what they have to say.

Families are funny, though. Every single one of them has a story. Sometimes those story’s end in tragedy.

I hope that it doesn’t take a tragedy for most of us to recognize what we do and who we are. It’s the little choices we make that define our character.

May we all be proud of the character we define.