Wednesday, February 9, 2011
2. n. A dance from the West Indies in which the dancer bends backward at the knee and moves forward with a shuffling step under a horizontal bar that is lowered after each successive pass.
When I walked across the stage to accept my diploma in mid December of 2006 I thought I had it all figured out. I was the first person in my family to graduate college. I was married. We bought a house. I had a decent part time job and I thought I'd find a full time job with no problem. I was going to work for a while and then return to grad school. I was going to get a PhD and be a professor. I had a plan and I was floating on cloud 9.
It didn't quite work out that way. I did find a job I loved, but it was only full time some of the time. It did have nearly full time hours though and since I enjoyed what I was doing I kept doing it. Then I got laid off. Fast forward through the sobbing and frantic searching for employment. No jobs. I went back to grad school. I could still be a professor. That was the original plan anyway. I excelled the first year. I out performed every other person in my program. It's true--I did. I also discovered something very unpleasant and nauseating about higher education. Turns out it isn't this noble bastion of learning where the only thing that matters is what you know and what you've done. I got screwed. Royally. I was pissed. I was also heartbroken. I knew I had to move on. I didn't want to be a part of something so...disappointing. If I sound bitter, it's because I am. I will always carry a bit of bitterness that my naive notion of higher learning as this noble space where scholars supported one another and preserved knowledge for future generations was untrue.
I find myself in Career Limbo. I am in some sort of dark, transitional space--in between what I was and what I am meant to be. I know my skills and I know my shortfalls. I know what I enjoy and what I despise. I just don't know how to take that knowledge and choose a career path.
I find myself bending over backward shuffling under the bar of my own expectations and wondering when I'm going to fall flat on my ass.
I'm a writer, but let's face it--writing doesn't pay the bills (at least not for most people). I love to write, but there are certainly other activities I enjoy. I don't want a job though--a job is something that just pays the bills. It doesn't fulfill any other need. It doesn't make you happy. You do not enjoy it.
I want a career. I want to enjoy my work. I want to get paid to do something that I don't despise or merely tolerate. I have it narrowed down to two possible choices, but I really need to make a decision and get on with it. Until then I'll just keep shuffling, watching the bar drop lower and lower as I hope I don't bust my butt.