Just Because I Don't Work...

I don't have a job. I haven't had to go to work from 7:30am - 4pm in almost a year and a half. I don't have a boss. I don't get a paycheck deposited into my bank account twice a month. I don't have a work wardrobe or a daily commute. I don't have a desk with my name on it. I used to have all those things, but I don't anymore (see why I quit for the full story).

Maybe to some that sounds like living the dream, but I get pretty insecure about it. As a 27-year-old with a mortgage, car payment, etc., it feels embarrassing to admit that I don't have a job. Or even that I'm in school. I'm an adult. Adults have jobs. It's hard, having been in the professional world, to go all the way back to the beginning and know I still have so far to go.

Sometimes I feel guilty about the fact that I don't work and instead go to school full-time. It's not like I went back to school to finish a degree I really needed. Nothing happened that prevented me from getting this degree when I was college-aged. I just got a different degree. Then I got bored with that one and panicked at the thought of my career actually being my forever career. That's not a path a lot of people get to take. I'm grateful to even be in a position that allows me to go back to school, but I still feel some guilt over it. 

But just because I don't work doesn't mean I'm not working. I don't think it's news to anyone that college requires a lot of work. I've been there, done that, and I can safely say I work harder now than I ever have. Even when I was in grad school. There are days that I spend 12+ hours doing nothing but schoolwork. Thankfully they're not common, but they're not uncommon either. Want to know what I did this weekend? I spent a good chunk of Saturday and Sunday in the library working on a group assignment. One assignment. For one class. That's not super common either, but do you know how many Saturdays or Sundays I spent at work when I was teaching? Zero. Engineering school is no joke, people. 

Not working isn't something I want to do. I want to have a job. Even though my job wasn't right for me, I still miss the idea of going to work. Not school, but work. But what I want more than to have a job is to have a job I really like. I'm not sure I am or will ever be the type of person who would rather be at work than anywhere else (I think my passions are just too varied for them to every be fully fulfilled by my job), but I want to like what I do. I want to feel like there is value in what I do. I want to feel like my personal strengths and talents are being utilized. I don't have a job because the job I had didn't fit those requirements, and it wore me down.

Some days I feel brave for quitting my job to pursue a dream, but some days I feel like the biggest idiot in the world. Lately, with deadlines and tests and presentations piling up, I've lost sight of why I'm here. I constantly ask myself, "What am I doing?" I have no idea what the next year holds and, as a person who has always planned my life to the T, that's scary. I can't even think more than a couple months in the future anymore, because any farther than than and a panic attack ensues.

Do you love your job? Will you tell me about a time you felt unsure about something to make me feel better?!

24 comments :

  1. So many people settle and spend forever being unhappy in a career they don't love! Guilty, party of one! My goal is to someday own my own embroidery business, but I can't get out of my comfort zone far enough to try it! You're awesome, and what you're doing is totally admirable! Don't let anyone ever tell you differently!!

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  2. I have essentially two nearly full time jobs. A salary 9-5 type financial/desk job during the day, and photographer nights/weekends. I am so thankful for the photography job and it's where my passion is, but sometimes for me I get so worn down. Although I'm extremely grateful, some days I don't know what to do! I hate that it's not my ONLY full time job and sometimes I have family tell me I'm too busy, and sometimes that sucks because getting out of debt is hard and I feel like an idiot a lot. And also, some people think I'm silly for wanting a full time "artsy" job. To that I say, oh well...it's my life :)

    You are pursuing something you want and I think you're SOO brave because of it! Go you.

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  3. Do not felt like an idiot! I went back to school aND had to take 6 months off of work to complete my dietetic internship. I also had many moments of panic :) that was almost a full year ago and I am SO much happier with my new career. Hang in there!

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    1. That's so encouraging! Nice to hear that it's worth it from someone on the other side :)

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  4. I think it is very important to work towards something that makes you happy. Even if that means quitting and starting over....in the end....most people cant say they are happy with their job or their career path. You are smart for trying to make that happen!

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  5. "I'm not sure I am or will ever be the type of person who would rather be at work than anywhere else (I think my passions are just too varied for them to every be fully fulfilled by my job), but I want to like what I do." THIS. I hear you so much on this. Which is why I'm continuing my education next year in a non-traditional way — because I don't like what I do and it's wearing me down. I want to do everything, though, so coming up with one way to make a living and not go mad is...just hard.

    I think it's great that you went back to school. It's challenging and trying and stressful, but you are capable of handling all those things with grace, I have no doubt. And it's a blessing that you're in such a marriage and place in life where you can afford to pursue this dream, and know that you have the support of a good husband behind you, and know that you guys are a great team that can tackle this together. I have no doubt that once the end-of-semester madness is behind you, you'll have an easier time seeing the forest through the trees. Just keep on trucking.

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  6. I feel unsure about SO many things in my life right now.

    #1. I loved my major, and still love what it taught me... however, I don't want to work within my major. Fail.
    #2. I love my job, but I know I'm going to have to COMPLETELY switch careers when my husband graduates because he won't/doesn't want to find a job in our current city and what I do doesn't really transfer to many places (I teach at the vet school... and well, not every city has one of those).
    #3. I am the only 9-5er in our little family. Hubz has a contract with a company that is sponsoring his doctorate project and they pay him a small amount monthly to do his research. It's scary to think we are a one *small* income family, but our families have been a lot of help... and that in itself is a huge blow to my ego to admit. We're grown-ups, and we need help from our parents. Oof.

    Knowing what to sort of expect about our life/income after John graduates helps make the status quo bearable. We will probably be able to afford for me to not work and look for a job that I really want, which makes me feel 100% more at ease. We will no longer have to ask for help from our parents, which is even better. And one day, maybe we will even be able to repay them (although they've never asked).

    Anyway, moral of the story: It may seem uneasy now. It may seem strange and you feel unsure about it, BUT one day, it will all make sense. One day, you'll be so so proud that you "suffered" to get to where you end up.

    Thank you for working hard to achieve your goals. So many people give up and all they want to do is complain about why they are unhappy in the job/life they are in. Getting to where you want to be is hard work... but if you work hard to get there, it pays off and it's even sweeter than you could imagine.

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  7. Are you familiar with Jon Acuff? I heard him speak last week and this blew my mind: "70% of Americans hate their job and won't do anything about it." SO - good for you for doing something about it!! And I absolutely love my job now, but it has not been a quick or easy road. College was one long kick in the butt (mechanical engineering), and my last job definitely had ups and downs. Keep it up girl - you're doing good things!!

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  8. Staying in a job that doesn't please you isn't brave. Quitting and starting fresh is. When your reasoning becomes unclear, just hang in there. You'll be so glad you did.

    I've sacrificed to be the steady paycheck in our family - MFD works on commission and runs his own business - and was unsure of how that would play out for me. I struggled with it for a while - I thought I should be unhappy being that person because MAYBE I wanted to pursue something else. Then I realized maybe I was being unhappy just because I thought it was a situation that merited it. But it's been good, and blogging actually filled the hole that was missing - the expression/writing.

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  9. oy... pretty much everything I have ever done, I have felt insecure about and it's turned out ok.

    I went back to school (online) at like 24, when all my peers had been long finished and travelled the world already.

    I moved across the world to a city where I had 3 friends and an ex boyfriend. It all worked out in the end.

    I have had jobs I've hated and jobs I've loved. I've been forced to stop working because of immigration issues and that's no fun. I get seriously depressed when I don't work. I just have nothing to talk about, no stories to tell and I feel so useless.

    I worked at a bank here in the US and loved it, then I had to stop because of immigration, then I started back up again after I got my green card. I have no idea what happened but somewhere along the line I just hated it. The people were trying to kill me with their negativity. Every single day I had at least 2 stories to tell KC about a horrible customer or co-worker, or boss. I would cry some nights because I just hated it. I barely made about minimum wage. Finally I couldn't take it anymore and quit on the spot - something so out of my character. I am not a quitter (professionally, anyway).

    Prior to that I worked 2 jobs for 4-5 years each. I'm pretty good at knowing what I like and what I'll enjoy doing, and I was so upset and annoyed at myself and just kept trying to push through. Why? Who knows. I was unemployed for 2 weeks, well needed, until I found my current job. It's exactly what I'm good at, though I never thought I'd be in this particular industry, and it's not what my degree is in, but I enjoy it. Like you I will never be the person who would rather be at work, that's not me. I don't particularly feel valued or like I'm making a contribution to the world or anything, and I'm not trying to be down on myself, but I never will. I'm nothing special in the world, I don't have amazing strengths or skills to share. I just wanted a job I enjoyed, that's it. I've never been very ambitious career wise. I like to be comfortable. Anyway, I'm rambling.

    There is nothing braver than changing something big about your life. It's scary. You have no idea how it will work out. But even if you fail (which you wont) at this new direction in life, it's still better than what you had before. Happy with a bit of guilt is better than unhappy, all day erryday!

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  10. I think it is brave that you went back to school.
    Its your life and you only get one chance so you need to make it count and follow your passions! Good for you!

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  11. I do enjoy going to work more than going to school. I just didn't like the feeling I had in school that I always needed to be working on something and couldn't enjoy my down time. I like that I have my weeknights and weekends free for whatever I want - I think it's just good for my soul. I wouldn't say I absolutely love my job but I'm happy with what I'm working on and I work with some great people. I think it's really awesome that you went back to school! I don't think you should settle for a job you don't enjoy - we spend so much time at it! Life is too short not to pursue your dreams!!!

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  12. In the end - it will be all worth it work in an occupation you love. While I like my job functionally, I am not happy with corporate (culture has changed a bit).

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    1. I felt that way with teaching a lot. I went back and forth on the job itself (ultimately I don't think it was for me, or I wouldn't have left), but I hated the work environment.

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  13. I think it's so brave and amazing that you chose to go back to school and completely start over. It's something I think about pretty often myself and even though the present seems uncertain- or it feels like you aren't doing what you should be doing, in the end you will be so glad you did this!

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  14. I'm going to be 30 on the 28th and I HATE that I'm still in school, for my Bachelor's. I've made more peace with it at this point and try to focus on this is the path my life has taken, but it still irks me. You'll get where you want to be, these are just stepping stones.

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  15. I am currently going though a similar situation. I left a long career to do something new. It is very scary and I occasionally have moments like this too.
    Teaching isn't what it used to be. You can't waste your life being unhappy!!!!
    You are building a life you will love.

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  16. I hear you. I'm also 27 and in school. Right now I'm working 13 hours but come next semester I'm done. Being in school is way too much work and I think it is a job in and of itself! I also get embarrassed because I feel like I should have figured my stuff out earlier. That being said, I think too many people go through life and don't pursue their dreams so good for you. I would hate to retire and wish I'd done my work life differently.

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    1. I always get so embarrassed to admit that I don't work, but really, it IS a job in and of itself! Like I said, I work way more and way harder now than I ever did when I was working. You're right, as much as it feels like we should have figured this out by now, what is the alternative? Settle for a job we don't like and be stuck in it for the rest of our lives? No thanks. I figure it's worth being uncomfortable for a few years than being unfulfilled for a lifetime.

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  17. I totally, 100% admire your decision to quit your fulfilling job and go back to school. My husband and I have talked about this. If I were to lose my job (I work for company that is kind of rocky at the moment), that my plan is to go back to get my Masters. That's scary, especially since we have a kid to support too, but we'd make it work. So I'm kind of wicked jealous that you're already doing this. Congrats, good luck, you can make it through and then have a job you really love!

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    1. Also, I kind of hate that we're forced to go to school at age 18 and decide what we want to do for the rest of our lives. I didn't know anything at 18! I didn't know anything at 22 when I graduated! I think there are a lot of students out there that are older and going back to school because they realize after X years in a certain job that they should have chosen differently.

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  18. I don't have a job now either. I haven't even put it out there on my blog, because I feel stupid for quitting another job that made me miserable. But like you said, I want to have a job I enjoy. If I'm going to spend most of my life doing it, I want it to be something I'm passionate about.
    I think you're brave. I guess that would make me brave too. :)

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  19. I do enjoy my job right now--I do marketing for a Retirement Community--but it took a while for me to get here. I worked for the American Cancer Society for 2.5 years. I started as an Admin. Asst. and moved on to be essentially a glorified fundraiser/event planner. I helped plan Relay For Life events for 5 different communities. Now, while that *sounds* fun and rewarding (at times it was), it was actually the most stressful thing I have ever done. I had about 500 people 'reporting' to me, and at least 50 people who would go straight to my boss if they didn't get something on time or I did something 'wrong'. Granted, they were all VOLUNTEERS so they weren't really in charge of me, but they were....because they drove what I did and my boss believed them more than me.

    The last 6-ish months were hell, literally. They decided to reorganize the entire organization across the country, which was a nice way of saying downsizing and laying off *at least half* of the whole company. We ALL had to reapply for our jobs, no matter what position you held, and if there was a different job you wanted--whether it was a different field, office, or state--you could go for it. I decided 1 month into this new thing that I didn't want my job anymore, but I still had 5 months of work to do because I was in charge of those Relays all last summer. I could have quit, and probably should have, but my other boss convinced me to stay until the very end so I got severance. I basically volunteered to get laid off and that was fine. But, for those 6 months, I was MISERABLE!!! I lost a ton of weight, got way too stressed out, hated working, hated a lot of things, and just wanted something different. Thankfully, my new job popped up at the right time, but it was just a sucky sucky year.

    The point of this NOVEL of a comment (sorry) is that I think it's COMPLETELY fine that you're not working!!! If following your dream is what makes you happy, then why should anyone judge you for it? I worked for one of the most 'loved' organizations because of what it did for people, but I felt guilty because I hated it by the end. Doesn't mean I don't want to cure cancer, but it felt weird to say I hated my company and didn't want people to judge me. Basically, just be happy and do whatever you need to make yourself happy--don't worry what others think :)

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  20. I can totally relate to this! Almost one year ago my boyfriend and I quit our jobs, sold most of our stuff, rented out our house, and moved across the country to go back to school. We're both in our late twenties and were very comfortable in the life we were living, but ultimately decided that's not what we wanted.

    We also have days where we doubt everything, but we have more days where we feel great and are so happy we decided to take a risk in pursuit of our dreams. We would have regretted it forever otherwise. And no matter what happens, it's only been a good thing because of how much we've learned and grown over this past year.

    My boyfriend is also in engineering and I know it's tough! That last paragraph sounds very familiar! He's been so busy lately that the other day he was questioning if could go through with the degree. But then he woke up the next day and had a great presentation and knew that this is exactly what he wants to be doing. There are days that I just want to be in my career and not be broke all the time, but I know that I won't get to where I want to be if I stop now! And school can be pretty great too!! Hang in there!

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