May 4, 2010

Searching for that One Thing

I am searching for the one thing, the very one thing that I do best. It has been a life-long search for me, something I have been about since I was a child. We all want to find our true passion, our true path in life. As children, we often play act out what we THINK we might like to do with our lives. As a little child, I played with dolls and I can remember two things: one, I like to cut their hair off; and two, I liked to make clothes for them. I wasn't into the "Mommy" thing so much as I was really into making them look different. I don't know why I chose these two things, but I can remember me doing it from about age 6-14. I just loved to take scraps of fabric and then create new looks for all my dolls (and my cats -- thankfully, I DIDN'T CUT THEIR FUR OFF!)

As I matured and entered into high school, I was pretty clueless about a career choice. I can remember sitting in the counselor's office and staring blankly at him as he asked me what I wanted to do after school was out. I had no answer for him, literally I had no answer, nothing, nada, zip. It was like my mind was blank, and I never had even considered anything remotely like getting a job. I was far to immersed in my play-fantasy world, preferring to day dream and create things in mind (as well as with my hands). I just liked thinking a lot, and spent a great deal of time doing that activity.

I do remember having to come up with some career choice. I recall saying that I thought I would like to be an Archeologist. Then later, I changed that to Pathologist (after Quincy, MD was made popular on TV). Before I graduated, I had decided on a career in Art, though I wasn't sure what I would do with that. I thought seriously about being a Museum Curator, but then changed my mind to Audiology, after seeing someone who was deaf and hearing about Speech Pathology as a career. I should say that science and math were not my strongest suits back then, so a career in anything scientific generally was met with much criticism by my parents.

I floundered in college, switching careers and degrees like someone changes hats. I really didn't know what I was good at, and frankly, had not had enough positive experience to convince me that I was good at anything in particular. I was JOE-AVERAGE in everything. B-C student; so-so writer; usually the last to get the joke; always late; always foggy brained. I was just a floater through life.

I did do one thing really, really well; and that was, ta-dum -- to think. No one wants to pay you to think (though where I lived at the time, there was a secret building called the THINK TANK. IBM kept all their big thinkers in that building. I could have been a good thinker for IBM.) In the past years, I have come to realize that the one thing I do well is think. I think very deeply. I contemplate. I evaluate. I analyze. I study. I critique. I determine. I conclude. I am a thinker.

Now, that I am in the process of finding good work for myself, and thinking (no pun here) about a career for me; I am stuck in what I really want to do. I am back in that high school counselor's office, staring blankly at the wall and saying to myself, "I don't have a clue." I am practical (Pragmatic), a realist, very rational and logical. I need to work. I need to do practical work -- good purposeful and useful work (the Word says " you don't eat unless you work." My paraphrase of Paul's words to the Church at Philipi). I want to work. I want to earn income simply because income is what makes life work better. No income, no life. It is pretty easy-peasy, you know. You need food to eat => therefore, you need money to buy food => therefore, you need a source of money => therefore, you need a job. Logic rules!

I am ready to work. I have blogged, and blogged, and blogged about this so let's not beat a dead horse on it. The issue has been what kind of work do I do. The easy answer is whatever is available. Yes, this is true. But not all work is equal. Some work pays very little, so while it is worthwhile and functions as work; it may not provide enough income to pay the bills. That means that I need a certain type of work, a certain level of work that will provide a sustaining income, the kind that can sustain life well. Well, the word I mean and not a transition here, is key. How well do you want to live? That is the million-dollar question. Some people consider well to be well-off, well-set, over X amount in yearly income. Others just see "well" as being better than poverty, above the line, able to sustain life adequately.

I see well in a couple ways. One, well for me means enough to sustain an average life style (Middle class is fine). Well, means enough to pay all the bills on time, to put some away for a rainy day or emergency, and to have some measure of security in old age. Well means for me to be self-sufficient at any level, whether that be at the poverty line or far above it. It is just a term to denote "enough" -- and that "enough" is a quantity known only to God. I want to be content whether in poverty or riches -- so therefore -- the Lord knows my needs. Well is whatever the Lord determines it to be. In my human mind, it is simply enough to live a quiet and peaceful life, to work in practical work, and to be useful to Him. It is enough to do everything the Lord asks of me. No more, no less.

Here I am thinking about what I would like to do and I am contemplating several options:
  • Teaching College English - always a good thought, always a dream of mine
  • Working with Computers - very practical, loads of experience, pays very well
  • Study the Word, Thinking - my ultimate job and what I do 90% of the time (Can you get paid for talking with the Lord?)
  • Retail or other easy work - available, but not sufficient to sustain us now
  • Work from home - like it, but not a good income producer, and a big time waster
I have searched the Internet for available jobs. I have found a number that I thought would work for me. They fall into the following categories:
  • Administrative/Support -- my primary background work experience
  • Computer Technology -- last 10 years, but 20 years of related experience
  • Advising/Mentoring -- interesting, enjoyable but experience is tertiary (volunteer only)
I haven't been able to get an interview in any of the positions I have applied thus far. I have the education (BA in Humanities, AA in General Studies plus beginning MA program). I have oodles of experience, working in corporate positions since 1982, in church related ministry since 1998, and in my own business since 2000. Y'ad think that someone out there would want to hire me? But so far not even a call back. Nothing. I know the economy is bad, but I see these job postings and unless they (the employers) are hiring internally (I think so) or looking for the one "needle in the haystack" that exactly meets their criteria, I think I am out of luck (not that I believe in luck, just a saying).

What do I do? Well (in transition now), I think I do the following:
  • I believe that the Lord has something in mind for me
  • I rely on what I know, my experience in either administration or technology
  • I accept whatever job is available regardless of where it is located
  • I consider financial obligations as important but not everything -- the Lord will provide
  • I trust that He knows what is best for me, and then submit to His authority and let Him guide me to the job that will work for me
  • Lastly, I know that these tough times will last for only a season. I give thanks for what I do have today, and keep faith that tomorrow will bring a much brighter future
I have decided to do the above, at the least, that is what I am doing now. I would like to get confirmation soon, but I also know that timing is everything. I don't think I will find my dream job of thinking anytime soon, so I need to be happy to do something I can do well (computers and such). I can do this kind of work fairly easily, I just need to find someone who wants to hire me.

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