At the time of my last entry, I was attempting to find a path I hadn’t yet walked. This path included new opportunities for learning and for work. Being unexpectedly unemployed at the start of 2012 gave me the opportunity to feel like I had failed. On paper, I was not ‘at fault’ for the way things played out, but everything that I thought I was doing right in order to be termed a ‘responsible adult’ was gone.
These are the times when you ask out loud “now what?”, but inside you are repeating “oh shit” over and over again.
Now, I consider myself a lucky person. I had been given the opportunity and ability to go to college and earn a degree of my choosing under a program called GI Bill (chapter 30 and 33). Even though there is always this nagging voice that says ‘psst – get a job’, what I most desired at that time was to understand people. I wanted to know who, and why we are. I wanted to know how we relate to one another, how we come to like, dislike, love, hate, etc. What are our beliefs about each other, ourselves, and the world around us. I had a lot of questions about people, and especially, people in work places. To summarize – I came out of college with a bachelor of science in organizational sociology…that’s a mouthful!
So I had a degree, and a great job within days of graduation. Then another challenge came into my life and I accepted it – to move to a new place and thus, a new phase of life. My partner traveled ahead of me to the new homestead while I stayed behind and continued working at a job I loved until I found work. When I accepted the new position, I took a pay cut, but at least it was full time work, and it wasn’t too far off from what I had been doing. Lucky indeed.
December 30th 2011 was my last full day. My contract would not be renewed because the government had not issued the 2012 budget yet. I knew this was a possible scenario, and did end up coming to pass. Cheers to a new year with no direction, in a new place nonetheless. This was not my first rodeo, but it seems that I, too, had become comfortable in my life and had not been looking for a ‘do-over’.
So, I considered myself a resourceful person, even though savings only last so long, and most people judge you as crazy or worse, lazy, the longer it takes you to ‘figure it out’; i.e. get a job. In this new place, I felt paralyzed, and it seems that paralysis by fear and introversion become great excuses for each other. I went to the VA to seek guidance on finding a career track that was right for me, under the guise that in this new place, employers were hesitant to employ someone with a sociology degree, or rather; perhaps I just wasn’t good at selling my education to them as valuable. In my quest to justify the need for continuing education via a master degree, I was denied. My partner is following his dream, so I thought, perhaps business is the path for me…I failed.
When I started this blog, 2012, I was attempting to channel my thoughts and feelings about being unemployed, failures, creative endeavors – old and new, and sharing things that I think (or thought) I knew about, I had a lot of ideas about things I would like to do, and places I’d like to go, but no real passion for anything in particular, because I was still always just thinking about getting a job.
When I compiled that list, I found that most of the dream-like endeavors I wished to pursue had no guarantee of income, and I wrestled with this idea that the only way I am ever going to start checking off the list is if I have permission first. Permission from whom? I knew who I needed it from, but I thought I needed it from everything and every one outside of myself. But, lo and behold, even though I was granted that mental and emotional approval, I still held myself back.
I felt selfish, and lazy, and was running out of time.
It was my partner who encouraged me to look back and think about every time I said “I wanna do this”, and to just pick something and do it. Sounds easy right? I always admire those who just pick a direction and follow it, just as he does to this day. The summer of 2012 was spent watching dogs, reading and writing poetry, doodling, helping my partner with his game development business (doing things I knew very little about, but heck, I tried!). I researched my brains out every day to answer all the questions I have about myself, what I want, and how to make that a career. Anyone who does this, at any age, knows the roller coaster this is.
In the fall of 2012, I had my answer – I’m going to cosmetology school to learn how to ‘do’ hair. Holy crap, I made a decision. I still wasn’t quite sure if this was the right or best thing to do, but it was a start. I jumped in with both feet and went to school full time. This also means that I put a lot of other things away that I had begun to explore – and thus, there are no blog entries from then until now. I casually wrote poetry and scribbled around from time to time, but did not give it much opportunity to study in depth.
Fast forward to Spring 2014 – I acquired both a cosmetology license, and cosmetology educator license in that year and a half. I took a job at a salon, and a job at the school I graduated from as a substitute educator. I learned a lot and had a lot of new and interesting experiences. 6 months into working at the salon I realized something about myself – I love cutting hair, but that’s about it. I didn’t believe in what I was doing, and I had little passion for selling ‘beauty’ and the product of beauty to others. I also discovered that I love teaching. I still do.
For the first time in my working adult life, I quit a job. Really? Everybody quits at some point, you might say; so I will clarify:
I quit for no other reason than I just didn’t believe in it. *Ok well, I have another major reason, but I’ll talk about that in greater detail another time. I had left other jobs before, but I always felt good about having a reason – a next step; the ability to leave on good terms willingly, for reasons that always involved that next thing that was going to catapult me to the top of wherever I thought I was going. You know that feel right?
I quit just before the holiday season of 2014.
It is now 2015. I am “mostly” unemployed again.
I am happy to be on-call to sub, and am excellent at stretching a dollar, but find myself at what feels like square one again. It isn’t, because I will say that I have no regrets – I got to check an item off of my list, and I now know without a doubt that I am not meant to all that is required of a cosmetologist to do…granted, I still love to cut hair, but I do so now because I enjoy it and it is a practical skill I can use on my family and friends, rather than for a job. It’s something I give of myself to say thanks, and express creativity as well.
I now spend my days researching, doodling, writing, and searching for that “thing” that will bring a satisfactory career.
I still worry about money and penny pinch in order to survive this lull while my partner slaves away at his craft trying to make his dreams come true too.
Stocks have become my new hobby these last few years, but they do not replace good old fashioned job security – whatever that means haha! It seems that this path I have chosen is fraught with risk, unclarity, uncertainty, and with financial considerations…but what path isn’t eh?
While I do think I am closer than I was before, the way forward is unclear.
Even now, I am listening to Charles Eugster on TEDx proclaim that there’s “nothing to lose except the chains of convention”. He makes me smile, but like many of you, I still see chains, and those chains are mighty heavy at times. But I hope to let go of those chains – I think I can do it. I believe I will find a way towards a happiness that also involves economic satisfaction, even if it there is no longer a fixed, traditional, career attached to it.
Oh my, 1500 words.
Ending entry for today. Starting the discovery process again tomorrow.
Good luck to those of you in the same position! 🙂