On Finding Direction

26 Oct

I’m a practical girl.  Most people would probably tell you this.  Since I was 15, I’ve almost always been employed in some capacity, occasionally holding down more than one part-time job at once.  None of them have been my dream jobs and none felt like I was working toward something amazing.  But some of them were fun, some of them let me hang out with my best friends all day, some of them let me create or hone a skill, and most of them taught me how to deal with adversity of nearly any kind you can imagine, from incompetent bosses to insufferable customers.

Since starting work full-time after college, I’ve always been of the opinion that my job is not me, and I am not my job.   My belief makes it possible to both work in a soulless cubicle farm, and to shrug my shoulders and mean it. While this keeps my head cool in a stressful situation, I’ve learned over the years that other people really don’t care for the old “I don’t care.”  What I saw as being outwardly flexible and easy to get along with, other people saw (correctly) as apathy.  Your employer wants you to feel passionate about what you’re doing, what you’re talking about, where you are, and what you represent.  They are paying you, after all.  I don’t feel this sort of passion easily and I certainly didn’t feel it at my former place of employment.  I honestly didn’t care about what I was spending the majority of my waking hours doing from Monday through Friday, every week of my life.  It wasn’t the worst thing I could imagine, but I certainly didn’t wake with bluebirds fluttering to my fingertips every morning.

I knew things needed to change, but I was also content to stay exactly where I was until mama-bird pushed me out of the nest.  I worked with my friends and significant other in a nice, downtown office.  It was a built-in support network of wonderful people, we had great benefits, there was often free food in the kitchen, and honestly, I was good at my job.  But our annual review this past summer was precisely the shove I needed.  Without getting into the gory details, it was made clear that the supervisor I’d been at odds with since the start of my employment had decided to politely hold the door open for me to step out at my earliest convenience.  I could stay forever, and make her and me both miserable, or I could go and pursue something I actually cared about; something closer to making me me.  I was lucky enough to find a new opportunity much sooner than I’d expected and was clearing 3 years of knickknacks out of my cubicle on my last day of work just 6 weeks after my review.

I can honestly say that I care about my job.  Not necessarily because I’m good at it or because I like my coworkers, but because what I do means something to me.  I’ve been at my new job just two months, but with our decision to pursue farming, I’m already trying to figure out how to keep working, farming, and living an hour outside of the city.  If I have to leave in the next year or so it would be a shame, but I could take comfort in the fact that I was leaving to pursue a dream, not just another office to sign my paycheck.

Anyway, all of this is to say, I’ve felt directionless, bored, and confused – sometimes all three at once.  TS asked me the other night when I knew I wanted to become a farmer with him.  There was no lightning moment.  I told him that it just feels right somehow, like all of the stars are aligning.  I’ve never known what I wanted to “be” when I grew up, but somehow, it found me.  Have faith in yourself.

Why Do You Do What You Don’t Love? – Thought Catalog


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