Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Slip Sliding Away

I've been giving some thought to trying to find a therapist again. The therapist I tried before just wanted me to lose weight and improve my sex life and neither of those things were at the root of my problems. I quit seeing her because I was so angry that she seemed to think these things mattered and were not merely symptoms of the real problems.

But even if I found a therapist I could trust, I don't know how much they could do for me. Because I suspect I've kind of got a handle on the root of the problem, and the real difficulty is that I don't really know what to do to fix it.

I mean, it's not really much of a secret that I hate my job.

Looking for a new job isn't much of an answer, because it's a pretty specific hate: I don't hate the office I'm in. I love the people I work with. I love the office location. I love where I am. I just hate what I do. It feels... unnecessary. Un-useful. I spend a lot of time not doing anything at all, and I'm fairly certain that not too many of my co-workers have even noticed. Even when things are hopping and I'm insanely busy, it's a pointless kind of busy. I'm doing paperwork that no one (not even me) gives a shit about or will ever look at again. I could live with the administrivia if there were a balancing element where I really get to feel like I'm doing something that would be missed if I left (aside from, "who the hell is going to do all this paperwork now?")

I hate it. I hate feeling pointless. I hate doing busy-work.

I think about changing careers. I think about it daily. More than daily; I think about it practically every waking hour. But the jobs that actually appeal to me right now (Teaching. Editing. Writing.) would cut my salary by half, or even more than that... and even though I know we could financially make that work, as a family -- not many people would hire someone who's looking to cut their salary to a third of what it currently is. Because honestly, why would someone do that? It looks weird.

And I think about how I'm not exactly a spring chicken. I'm not some kid only a few years out of college, still trying on lots of different jobs while I look for the one that's right for me. I'm nearly 40. I have a family that depends on my salary, including the diabetic who needs the security of two sets of medical insurance, in case (in this crap economy) one suddenly goes away. (Oddly, that weighs on me a lot despite the fact that Penny has never actually been on my medical insurance. She's only covered on Matt's. But the tech industry is prone to random and sudden layoffs, and so I feel it's important for there to be the potential for a second insurance to pick up the slack. Just in case.)

So I'm not young, and changing careers at this point feels just... completely insane. And yet... and yet... I can't retire for at least another 25 years. Twenty. Five. Years. Even if I thought about just waiting until Penny's out of school and out on her own -- that's fourteen or fifteen years, at a minimum. Could I do this for another fifteen or twenty-five years?

I'm not sure I could. The mere thought makes me feel grey and drained and broken.

Some days I actually wish I would get laid off. It would be terrible and stressful and frustrating and... oh so very freeing. But I won't. If this office were to fall apart, I'd probably be among the last 10 people to get shoved out the door, right before they shut the office down entirely. Job security is supposed to feel good.

I feel trapped. I'm running along the edge of a cliff and if my life was the only one at risk, I might be able to shut my eyes and step off into the abyss, but... it's not.

A therapist is not going to be able to tell me how to fix my job so I don't hate it. Or to find a new one without exposing my family to needless risk.

(Another grey and crazy post. I must be PMSing.)

1 comment:

Heidi / D-Tales said...

I'm back!!!! :) Have missed reading your posts!!!!

Honestly, I don't know that it's so "out there" to seek a job at which you'd earn a fraction of what you're earning now. I don't know that employers would be entirely turned off by that. You would bring with you an extreme dislike for your former job and a passion for following your true interests, which would justify your position. If you really want to write, edit or teach, go for it!!! Especially if you can afford it. Life is too short to be unhappy. Don't put roadblocks in your own way. Just my two cents. You can tell me to take a hike. :)