Unlocking the mystery of my next job
October 5, 2016
I’ve hit a rut
Our current work and life arrangements are pretty comfortable. The work is flexible and particularly good for me when I’m perpetually sick. I can get the work done as long as I have a phone, an internet connection, and a computer. These are all good things.
They are, no doubt about it.
The “but” you hear coming…
I’ve always enjoyed the act of work, my satisfaction is rarely about the work itself, so when the balance tips away from “fulfilling accomplishments” and towards “frustration everywhere”, it’s time to make an exit plan.
I now advise myself, and anyone who asks, to construct an exit plan based on finding their next level of happy instead of waiting until the magic is well and truly gone. Those are two very different mentalities, and the latter is by far the easier. I know this, because I’ve worked jobs til I was well into the Bitter Zone and it was a world away from leaving when I had a better opportunity beckon. People who leave jobs in a blaze of fury imagine it to be glorious, and to be sure, when you’re young there’s something satisfying about taking a walk when you’re fed up but that’s just the illusion of control. Real control is reading the signs long before you burn out and strategically making the choice to leave on your terms.
We’re coming up on my 20th year in the workforce and something unusual’s happening. Every time I read another job description, nothing happens. No spark, no interest, nothing. It’s impossible to work up even a facade of enthusiasm for going into an office or to a work site. Perhaps it’s because of this stage of life where I want to have at least this much flexibility to do my work without sacrificing my family or even the Exceptional Levels of Tired of late.
Starting at a new-to-me company comes with a host of obligations to prove myself and build new relationships. That’s par for the course but I just don’t much feel like golfing.
I’m not actually ready to leave, for the most part my job is great. It’s just that I need some kind of change and I don’t know what it is yet. Until I do, figuring out what I’m looking for will either answer the question, the problem will resolve itself over time, or I’ll be inspired.
Navja Sol and The Secret to Being Happy with Your Job: I figured out that biggest mistake I’d been making was asking “What job would I want?” instead of “What do I want out of my job?”
Andrea Emerson and If you want to quit your job this year, do this: …your goals must be firmly rooted in your WHY if they stand any chance of survival.”
What do I want out of my next job?
Tangible benefits and structure
- Absolute schedule flexibility
- Generous sick and vacation leave
- An annual equipment budget
The work itself
- Primarily online
- A minimum of people time (meetings, phone calls)
- Needs to have meaning to me
- Contribute to the world in some positive way
What is my why?
It’ll be 20 years I’ve been working and most of that time has been about career-building.
Now that has to co-exist with building a life with my family. I didn’t work my butt off up til now so that I’d have the privilege of carrying on working and missing the most important moments and years of my baby’s life, or with my partner, or with our four-leggers.
Every decent parent wants to give their kids what they didn’t have. What I didn’t have is a mile long but I’m no fool to overcompensate on everything. What ze will get, if I can swing it, are the two most important things that I missed: more access to books and time with hir parents.
My childhood is marked more by milestones that my parents didn’t witness, lessons and activities that they didn’t see. I thrived even without them but definitely felt the lack. Without being helicopter parents, I’d like our kid to have the option of having us there more than not.
What I want for myself is to have and be an example of a happy functional marriage so JuggerBaby knows that you can choose a partner and live well as a team, if you’re so inclined.
What does a great future look like?
The same thing as what I want to give JuggerBaby, really. More reading and more time with loved ones. It’d be awesome if that could happen while surrounded by a somewhat larger but very cozy home of our own that’s got a private yard where we can throw balls for Seamus, an office and a library, but isn’t too big overall and doesn’t cost three souls and a half plus property taxes. That’s totally obtainable here in the Bay Area, right?
… ok you can stop laughing now.