Work: Choosing It

My professional journey (read: meandering route to find work that I not only don't hate, but actually kind of like) has what I consider to be uncommon breadth and somewhat lackluster depth.  I'm not sure, but I suspect it is unusual to have worked in one state capitol, two travel organizations, a financial company, four public school systems, and a clothing company in a product development capacity.  Not to mention five different retail settings, three restaurants, one bakery, one legal advocacy job, one non-profit consulting project, at least two unpaid internships and one administrative position.

All of the sudden, just now, while I was making that list, I started to feel like Miranda, in Sex and the City, making her list of who she had to call.  In reviewing what I've written, I suddenly feel shame with regard to my number.  I'm batting 1.2 jobs per year.  I'm a little horrified.  While I claim responsibility for the post-college, pre-marriage path, I have to say that the moving since I got drafted by the evil empire (five cross-country moves in five years) has amplified the repercussions of my predisposition to career about-faces.

In summary, I'm good at recognizing when work I'm doing feels like a bad fit.  I have not historically been as good at developing a clear understanding ahead of time what certain jobs would be and if they were really right for me.  I have focussed on getting the job, not planning the career path.

At some point on this journey a couple of years ago, I picked up a book called The Anti 9-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube.  The writing is fun and readable, and the advice is practical.  I did not end up working through it cover-to-cover immediately, but it is something that I go back to periodically, and it is something I have been revisiting this week.  I really like some of the suggestions for how to get to the bottom of what you want.  It has also been fun to look at it again now that two years have passed since I first examined it and my path.  Some of the interests that appealed to me when I first picked up the book have stayed the same, and others have fallen away after some exploration.  It is satisfying to see progress when I do the brainstorms and complete the questionaires.

There is a possibility brewing of a full-time job offer at work, and suddenly I'm a little panicked at the idea of giving up my free-agent status.  I want to be clear on what I want from it before I say yes, if they make the offer.  Since my industry has a very limited presence in Calgary, I can't be too picky.  On the other hand, what is the tangible value of freedom?  Somewhere in this puzzle, there is a magic number and/or set of circumstances, that make it worth losing my ability to travel freely (thereby drastically limiting my contact with friends and family) and also worth limiting my currently unlimited time to build my creative skills at home on my own.

Aside from my first teaching job, this is the hardest I have ever worked to land a job.  And last week went really well, so I feel pretty good about this one, when I weigh all of the factors.  But still, as I'm packing today to go home, I'm wondering if it will be the last time for a while that I have time to take a long road trip.