After* applying a decade of study, practice, and employment to her dream career she was drained. Waking up early every morning to drive the 13 miles to work became more of a struggle after each 12 hour work day. And the work was never done. In the late evening she ate dinner with her husband at a restaurant where they were regulars and wondered, “did I choose the wrong career?”
At the same time a second young woman was working her first post-college job. Four years had been spent achieving a bachelor’s degree, but that degree didn’t matter now. She had moved far from home, from her friends and family. She needed to save money from a tight paycheck and lived with roommates to combat the loneliness. Over meals of leftover spaghetti she wondered to herself “what happened to my dreams?”
The thousands of dollars and hours spent on an education were not a waste the first woman realized. The company she had thought would be ideal — that was were it went wrong. The second woman realized she was young. She’d gone to school and found employment and she gave to charity and she’d never done anything crazy. With all the uncertainty of the unknown both young women gave notice to their jobs. They quit without another job lined up.
“When was the last time you did something like that?” a friend, Felice, asked me last Tuesday night while I complained about work, complained about life.
Growing up I was passionate about the sciences — astronomy, marine biology. I could be another person in theater. I wanted to see the past by becoming an archeologist. I wanted to be everything. Following a serious discussion with myself during which I asked myself to choose the career that would allow me to explore everything I chose writing. I was passionate about writing and you can write about anything.
My dreams never happened. Because no one says I want to work in a call center when I grow up.
I don’t like my job. The company isn’t bad, though we’ve certainly had our run-ins. The benefits are generous. Recently the office has been making a lot of improvements to make the workplace environment better and I appreciate it. The other employees there are great — a factor that should never be underestimated. But, I don’t like the work. It’s dead-end and micro-managed. Some look past these elements and take satisfaction in a job well done where people in need are helped. I want the passion.
So the last time I did something crazy like quitting my job…never. I’m not quitting now either. Courage to take a risk? Don’t have that. Paranoia at never finding employment again? Yup, plentiful.
Every once in a while, there’s a peek of working for passion — a project or hobby, hopeful thoughts of the future that keep me going a day longer. During last week’s staycation (that’s an office term for you) I thought about working at what you love while applying for jobs, while baking pet treats and spinach mushroom lasagna, and while eating lunch with the person who is searching for just that. Her husband had made them a pancake breakfast that morning. I thought about how I’d been wanting pancakes with cinnamon and toasted pecans, but never seemed to have milk that wasn’t spoiled on a weekend morning.
I did have three containers (there was a coupon) of plain yogurt in the fridge. Always logical I did an internet search for sour cream pancakes and these came up first. A search for yogurt pancakes also would have been logical, but the recipes seem much more complicated. So whatever. The other great thing is that these make a small amount, even less if you cut the recipe in half. A perfect amount for one or two people.
The French Press even made an appearance to celebrate the occasion. Though I couldn’t begin to say what we were celebrating. Other than for the last day of staycation I worked on something I love — pancakes and this post.
*I’ve taken some liberties with imagining how this unfolded.