So, I’ve disappeared from my blog for a while now, mainly because I’ve been in a sort of crisis, and I’ve been off trying to figure out what to do. My crisis is one that I think many people under 30 can relate to and it is this: I hate my job. Now hate is a strong word, but I think it’s an appropriate level of emotion for me in this case. However, my job/career is what many would consider to be a “good job”. It’s one of those jobs that your parents hope you get when you finish university. It’s relatively stable, well-paying, has good benefits, and a decent pension plan. So when I read an article such as this: http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/01/16/the-new-underclass/, about how middle class jobs are hard to find for young people, it’s terrifying to think of leaving and trying to find a new career. But I dread going to work every day… so what do I do? Let’s analyze this a little more deeply shall we.
On the con side of leaving my current position there is the general disappearance of good paying, middle class jobs. I’ve seen this first hand. I have one friend who has an undergrad degree and can only get short-term contract jobs. She might be able to find something better if she moved away from home, but she doesn’t want to do that. Same with another friend of mind, she has 6 years total of university education, yet cannot find full-time employment (she’s a teacher). She has a massive student debt, and is currently living at home with her mom. She could also maybe find work if she moved to a different province (in Canada), but doesn’t want to move away from her family, especially since her father was ill (he unfortunately passed away very recently). She’s been working on a master’s hoping that will help her. So here I am with what many would consider a very nice career indeed, one of those rare, tough-to-get jobs with the federal government. I don’t want to say specifically what it is, since it’s a very specific job title and there aren’t many of us. It seems like it might be a massive mistake to leave, especially since I know I’ll never get back in if I do. The job is becoming increasingly automated and they are likely going to stop hiring and cut down on staff through attrition.
However it’s a job that should be automated because it’s so awful. It’s monkey work, and exhausting, stressful and busy monkey work at that. Now I say that, but there are people who I work with who do enjoy it, so that’s just how I feel because I’m not suited for it. It is for left-brained people, very scientific and repetitive, and there is no creativity involved. I am quite good at science and math, and mistakenly thought that things like creativity and art were not really for me (career-wise at least). But I took a lot of arts classes in university and those were my favorite ones. But you know, everyone sort of freaks you out with “what are you going to do with an arts degree???” Well I think there’s a lot you can do, especially if you’re also good at science and maths (I like it how British people pluralize math. I’m not British). Anyway, I didn’t realize I had that much of a creative side until rather recently, thus my dilemma (I took this personality/career test developed by Carl Jung and boy did it reveal a lot: http://www.careertest.net/index.htm. It only takes about 15 minutes. In case anyone’s curious, I am evidently the rarest type, INFJ. Just like Ghandi hahahahahaha… ahem). Another point to make is that, as I said earlier, my work is increasingly being automated, so the atmosphere at the moment in the office isn’t so great – people feel underappreciated, they are increasingly being replaced. But the workload somehow still manages to remain sky-high. And the atmosphere in the public service at the moment isn’t really great anyway, because of all the cuts. There really is no such thing as a secure job (Jim Carrey said that, after his dad gave up playing music for a “stable job” only to later lose it and the family to become quite poor. I think they even ended up living out of their van for a while). Also there is very little chance, well virtually none, that I’ll be able to get back home (I’m currently a good 13 hour drive from my home town) with my current occupation within the next 10 years. And I reallllllly miss my family, this is a massive problem for me.
So what do I do? I can stay in my job and be secure and well-paid but miserable when I’m working (which is a lot of the time!). Or I can try to find something else and possibly end up destitute. Except that I think I’m smart enough that I’ll at least be able to make some money. But I don’t really know what the “something else” would be. It would need to be something creative, but where I can also use my left brain. I’m thinking web design, I wouldn’t even have to go back to school for that, I can learn it on my own. I guess the only nagging concern with this idea is that it could just be a different type of monkey work, because people don’t want to pay much for websites anymore. There seems to be this trend of making good jobs suck these days. Anyway, I’m still thinking about it, and it’s incredibly stressful not to know which way to turn. I’m sure I’ll figure it out soon though, yoga and crying and talking my friend’s and family’s ears off can only go so far to relieve the strain.
Btw, I do feel I kind of got pushed in the wrong direction by the education system. This is an awesome video, based on a talk by Ken Robinson: