I will start this post by confessing: I am very fortunate to have had a steady, well-paying job since leaving university over ten years ago.
Yes, I got the job in the early part of the new millennium when worries about the economy were practically non-existent. My mother’s voice in my ear urges me to also acknowledge that I worked damned hard in school and with extra-curriculars in order to qualify me for a job in my field. This is true, but I know for a fact that I’m not alone in that experience.
So why is it, in my mid-thirties, do I find myself questioning the path that I chose so many years ago? So many days lately I come home from work telling myself that it is totally normal to feel somewhat unsatisfied with your career sometimes. I stress the “sometimes” because I certainly haven’t felt this for very long, and there are still lots of things about my work that I love. I have hesitated for quite awhile even to write this post because I feel like perhaps I’m just
b) deep into my yearly struggle with the Winter Blues, where nothing goes right and I can find something miserable in every day. Dear God: PLEASE bring spring to us soon!
So, while I’m sure I’ll snap out of this after a few weeks of the sunshine that is surely coming soon (???), I’m trying to take this opportunity to explore what might be missing in my life and how I might fill those gaps.
As I said, I generally still really enjoy my job which I’m pretty sure is all anyone can ask for, right? I will never believe that there is a person who doesn’t have moments of weariness or at least ambivalence about their career, no matter how fabulous it might be.
So what’s missing? I’ve come to the pretty firm conclusion that it is an element of creativity. I don’t really do anything creative at work. It’s all office, structure, chain of command, policy, blah blah blah.
I can’t take a two hour break in the afternoon when my energy levels are low and come back to my desk re-invigorated at 3:00pm to crank out hours of great work. My boss would question me and my co-workers would very rightly consider me a slacker.
I am a slave to the priorities of others. I can’t work for three hours straight on the minutest detail of a project simply for the satisfaction of getting it right; other (higher paid and higher ranking) people have deadlines and I have to meet them.
I sit all day in a white-washed room with ratty carpets and the blandest, least functional office equipment.
There is virtually nothing to inspire – unlike at home where I can at least stare at this little guy when I need a boost:
So how do I address this problem? Quitting my job is not really an option financially although I have started to seriously consider if there is something else I could do that would fulfill me more. Starting this blog has been a big step in the right direction; it gives me a creative outlet and a project that is all mine. I’m trying to expand that into writing and drawing projects as well as maybe some home décor changes. Anything to exercise a bit of creativity and feed the part of my brain that needs glitter and flair and spontaneity.
I can’t be the only one who goes through this; how do the rest of you deal with it? What do you do in your free time to make up for anything lacking in your professional life? Maybe the better question is: how do you find the time and energy to nourish the things your soul wants?