Archive for July, 2007

A Moving Target

I’ve been doing some career soul-searching.  This is not unusual for me.  I do all kinds soul-searching — ideal house soul-searching, ideal wardrobe soul-searching, ideal wedding-planning soul searching, ideal life plan soul-searching — all the damn time.  It drives Bartender Dude up the wall.  When he’s feeling particularly fed up with this trait of mine (generally concomitant with me begging him for things to fulfill this ever-moving target) he says I can’t be happy with the now, with what is currently in front of me or what I’m currently living.  He’s right of course, and there is a grain of truth, a need for the balanced view to mitigate this aspect of my personality.  But I can’t help it.  Its part of what makes me, me.

So back to the career soul-searching.  Like many people out there, I have never either known what I wanted to do or enjoyed what I did.  I’ve pretty much always made career choices that led me up a zig-zagging corporate ladder that has provided increasing levels of stability and salary.  I don’t really look back on any of this as being a waste of time — after all, its taken me this long to even begin to get my childhood/emotional/whatever you want to call them distortions out of the way and grow into a proper, self-knowing adult.  But now I’ve come to a realisation, spurred on by the availability of a different job within my organisation and the blank, tired feeling of trying to stay motivated in a current job that is both difficult and boring.

This is what I’ve realised: I think I would be happier doing work that is intellectually engaging or, for lack of a better term, intellectually creative.  The thing about being a "business person," which is essentially what I do now — a kind of vague catch-all for going to lots of meetings and duplicating lots of efforts — is that while it does require many kinds of intelligence, it does not require creative intelligence.  I need to be specific here — I don’t mean that people can’t be creative in the way they go about their jobs, or solve problems.  What I mean is that, for the most part, unless you are the very top of an organisation, being a "middle manager business person (THINGIE)" does not involve creating an intellectual offering.  It involves things like strategy and implementation and endless consulting and oiling the machine and soothing egos.  It involves a TON of communication and re-calibrating the way things get done and loads and loads of personality manouevering.  I tell you I find that kind of stuff emotionally draining.

The job that is open in my company that has caused this epiphany of understanding, or categorisation in my brain, is a producer for one of our web content channels (health, to be specific).  This job involves creating an intellectual offering for consumption by our members, or to speak more plainly, it involves spotting and developing (and even in some instances creating) good writing and cool online tools for our members to read and use.  Now this job, in terms of salary and responsibility, would constitute a step down for me, and I find myself in that difficult mid-career cake-and-eat-it-too dilemma.

Because if this step down represented a temporary diminishment in order to earn my chops "officially" doing something I already know I can do, in order to ascend later and re-fashion my career into a more agreeable future, then I really think I will go for it.  But if there is nowhere internally for this position to go, and if the salary drop is seriously considerable, then I don’t think I will go for it, not least because I have to save all my spare ducats for this damn wedding because Oh My Holy Lord I am constantly raising the bar on what I want for that part of my life too.

So you see.  Its a good thing I have Bartender Dude to slap some sense into me from time to time, but it doesn’t make these crossroad, golden-handcuff dilemmas any easier to wrestle with.

You can’t fight personality, baby.


Read Full Post »

Sloth and Envy

like to write more than I do.  I really
would. When I read my favourite blogs I
always feel so inspired to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and
compose some elegant treatise on the summer joys of peppery arugula or what I
love about being Anglican, or even a narrative about something funny that
happened recently.  But then, inevitably,
the surge of creativity welling almost to the point of action retreats back
down the shore to the sea, the inner sea, where it rests in a mildly undulating

tell you now, dear readers, the sea of the inner self is vast, it is powerful,
and it is virtually dormant.  What a
crime! What neglect of the soul!

problem with me, as is so often the case with almost everything except cleaning
and cooking, is that all the interesting and creative things I want to do take
practice, and more importantly, trial and error. I don’t like error. I become angry and frustrated if I can’t
master something immediately, the first time I try it, and then my anger veers
off into boredom and I drop the whole project.  I have probably hundreds of books purchased in
a mad rush of infatuation with their titles and content that sit unread on our
(burgeoning and overstuffed) bookshelves.  I have a very long scarf that I’ve been
knitting for almost a year from pink eyelash yarn, which stares reproachfully
at me from the knitting basket on the floor.  I have $75 worth of recently purchased “art”
supplies – coloured card stock, shape punchers, gold ink, stamps, thin asian
paper squares – languishing in piles on the desk in our home office.  I have a very expensive mat cutter (bought in
the wild-eyed hope of matting and framing all my unframed prints myself)
cluttering up the walk-in closet cheek-by-jowl with Bartender Dude’s tools.

I read these blogs, like Orangette, and Not Martha, and HelloMyNameIsHeather,
and Nothing But Bonfires, and I feel so envious of their ability to lead
creative lives, to get up early in the morning and being doing, baking,
whipping up pincushions, and writing such beautiful prose.  I’m sure THEY don’t come home from work and
eat nachos on the couch watching three hours of crap television while the house
gets dustier and dustier and the unfinished scarf stays unfinished.  No I’m sure their lives are ordered and their
houses are clean and they have piles of time and energy to always be doing
something or making something or writing something.

I have to remember that these lucky women do not work 9 hours a day doing
Things They Don’t Care About and none of them (with the exception of Orangette)
are planning a wedding, and they are probably disciplined about getting enough
sleep. And I am sure if they read this
post each one of them would laugh hysterically and debunk every lovely myth I’ve
spun in my head about them – that their houses ARE dirty and that they have
LOADS of unfinished projects lying around – but the point is, I think I need to
change a few things about the way I currently conduct my life.

STARTING with Getting Enough Sleep. I’ve
tried the writing every day thing – well, see, again, I haven’t so much TRIED
it as done it once and abandoned it when the words wouldn’t come – but I don’t
want to set myself up for failure by being too ambitious (another terrible
habit of mine, scuppering my boat before I’ve even shoved off).  So we’ll see what I can do.

am going to attempt to change little by little, and report back here on how it all

Read Full Post »