Tuesday, November 15, 2005


After my brief flurry of job related excitement last week I've slipped back into lethargy. I have two half finished job applications, and I don't know whether I want to finish them off. I just don't know what direction I want to be going in at this point in my career, and I don't want to head off down the wrong, less well paid, track just because I'm bored. I want to be sure that something that looked like a good idea in an advert really is, and that it isn't a slight step back when I should be going forward.

I think it all links the the point that I don't know what I want to do with my life any more. It was OK going through school and university, aiming towards qualificiations, degrees, qualifying as a solicitor. I had goals, and I always had a new challenge to aim for. Then, the day after I qualified I realised that I didn't really have anything to aim towards and I started drifting along. Of course, I could aim for associate or partnership, but it always seems that those titles are based on how much money you bring in rather than how good your work is, which is a complete, and unwelcome, shift for someone who tends to focus on quality rather than money. I was lost for a while, wondering where the motivation to get to the next level had gone. I do my work, and I generally do it well, but all the ambition seems to have been sucked out of me. I feel like I need a map sometimes.

I've been putting off this issue for over a year now. I've been plodding along, but not looking for anything else to do. At first I told myself there was no point in applying for jobs and going to job interviews at the size I was. Whether it was through fear of fattism or just an acknowledgement that I wasn't confident in my own abilities at that stage, I knew that I wouldn't get the jobs so didn't apply. Or maybe it was just a way to avoid having to make a proper, grown up decision for once. I told myself that I'd sort out one part of my life at once, starting with my weight and then moving on to other stuff. For a year I've had a sense of purpose in my life, that the thing I'm really working towards and concentrating on is definable, and desirable. I could make sorting my weight out the most important thing in my life, and that's really helped me to get where I am now in that respect. But now the weight thing is kind of under control and nearly sorted (or at least in a position where it will work itself out over the next few months as long as I carry on doing what I'm doing), the old issues have started rearing their heads.

So I'm starting to think about it again, but the problem is that even though I kind of feel like I need a change, I don't really know what I want to do. I thought I did, I saw the lecturing job and decided I wanted to do that, then I saw another job advertised, and decided I wanted to do that too. But in the harsh light of day, when I'm a bit further away from the back to work blues, I wonder, do I? I'm not unhappy in my job really, I just feel like I'm missing some drive or ambition, and that I want a job where I can find that. Here I'm just not pushing myself, not really. I do enough to get by, but there's no master plan for my career, and no real goal.

Some of my friends are doing fantastically well at work. One has just got a big promotion to MD at her company, but I see ambition in her that I don't see in me. But equally, I don't know whether I want all that, money and status. Isn't there more to life than that?

Without getting too philosophical, I sometimes do wonder what the purpose of life is, and how I should really be spending my time. It does seem to me that spending my life working for other peoples profit is entirely meaningless and pointless. Yes, if I'm good at it and make partnership, I could work for my own profit too, eventually, but what good would that do me, really. It would be nice to have money, but what would I do with it? Waste it, probably. I've got no-one to spend it on other than myself, and I don't really need it. I sometimes crave the chance to do something worthwhile for once (and then look around at the world around me and wonder who really gets that opportunity, and whether I'm not being a bit greedy hoping for that).

And while all this pondering and procrastination goes on, I sit in the same comfy chair at the same old desk. I'm fairly happy here, and there's no pressing reason to leave. Should I really go off chasing fulfilment when I'm no more likely to find it in any other job than I am here? Is it the fear of change, or a worry about being left behind if I try to jump off the bandwagon now? I'm not sure. I'm really at a bit of a loss though, and I really wish I could find some purpose or direction, something to really throw myself into and get enthusiastic about. I just wish I knew what that might be.


Blogger K said...

Good luck.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Xena said...

Hello - I found your blog a month or so ago, and love the motivation I get from reading about your successes and challenges!

I know you're uncertain right now, but I would strongly encourage you to at least apply and interview for those two positions - you may learn a lot about what you want etc. from seeing other/different opportunities, or you may get clearer on the fact that you are happy doing what you're doing.

I'm struggling with some of these same questions (what is my purpose in life?) etc., so I can definitely relate!

Good luck with whatever you decide...

4:05 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

I really identify with your dilemma. (Had to get a blogger account so I could post to you though!)
I have been writing with increasing despair on my blog about not knowing what I want to do when I grow up (and I'm 34!). I thought I wanted to be a teacher but after I moved to the UK just couldn't cope in London schools. Have ended up in HE admin and feel bored to tears and stressed at the same time.

But, as it's always easier to give others advice than sort out your own life, here's my thoughts on your situation: If it doesn't waste time you need for something else, fill in the applications and send them off. You can always turn them down later but it's better to have options open to you than not.

But perhaps you do need to take some time to think about what you really want from life. I had a friend in NZ who worked for a massive law firm in a lucrative sprecialist area. Was earning megabucks and then gave it up and took a huge paycut to be the lawyer for an environmental charity. She never regretted it. Not suggesting this is right for you but perhaps you need to think about where you see yourself in 5 years - really - not just in appraisal speak.
Good luck. I'll try to take my own advice too...

4:07 PM  
Blogger Haloranch said...

Here's my suggestion for you.

First of all, with regard to most paying jobs, they all eventually end up being exactly what you are now experiencing: dull and boring. It's inevitable that jobs sink into a routine, and so do you.

Five years ago I joined Rotary, and I would highly recommend it to you. I find my fulfillment through the work we do in our clubs, and people I have met, and the delightful socializing that is all a part of it. A couple of years ago 9 members and spouses of my Rotary Club travelled to Mexico to deliver a container of wheelchairs (that's 280 chairs) and part of that delivery included physically lifting the disabled people into their shiny new wheelchairs.

It was an emotional week. Since then our club has delivered 5 more containers: to Africa, Belize, Afghanistan, etc. and the next one is being delivered to the Phillipines in February. The money to purchase the wheelchairs is raised in the community - people "buy" one as gifts for their parents or kids - each costs $110 CDN - and get a beautiful photo of the recipient in their wheelchair.

So, if you are looking for some meaning in your life, I would very highly recommend Rotary! Think about it.

7:58 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home