Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Unemployment Diaries- Testing

Amongst my other job hunting tools I’ve been reading a lot of books about careers, job hunting, networking…all as fascinating as you might expect. In that reading I’ve run across something I find so startling I thought I’d see how others react.

Many of these books begin with the straightforward question: what would you like to do? Or better yet questions like these:

  1. If you had one year left to live how would you spend that year? Drunk and maxing out stolen credit cards
  2. What is holding you back from the life you really want? George Clooney doesn’t date women his own age.
  3. If you inherited $10 million dollars what would you do with the rest of your life and what would you do with the money? Huh?

It has seldom been said about me that I have no imagination. I can take the proverbial ball and run it into the ground with scenarios AND mix metaphors at the same time (I’m that clever). Hell, I can’t drive past a wooded area without thinking ‘is there a body buried out there? Because it would be an easy place to bury a body’. I’m ALWAYS imagining something but these kinds of questions leave me stumped (smart ass answers aside).

OK, with $10 million dollars I’d do a lot of the standard trip-around- the-world, donate-to-charity, pay-off-the-mortgage kind of things but after that? What? I mean I wouldn’t blow through all of it that way even if we step back into reality and factor in the bite Uncle Sam would take.

Obviously, the gist of these questions is to ferret out what you’d really like to be doing with your life but, you know what? For me that’s bullshit. There’s a big difference between being employed and daydreaming and being out of work. Out of work removes any fantasy aspects to the rest of your life. At this stage here’s all I want for the rest of my professional life (which is getting shorter every minute): a job in my field that pays enough to meet my needs with health benefits without having to relocate. Despite my lifelong fascination with power tools and heavy equipment I think it’s a bit late to become a welder and the husband has stated categorically that he won’t move east of the Rockies. I don’t think I’m asking a lot but based on my situation I’m shooting for the moon.

If I am able to ignore reality what I’ve learned (and not from these books) is that I may not have a dream vocation. For a long time I’d thought it was to be writer but I’ve had over a year and not written anything other than this blog and book reviews (neither of which pay). I don’t have the next great American novel inside me- and that’s all right.

Back to the premise ( how stupid job searching books are). Passion, doing what you love is a wonderful thing and there are those who have made careers out of it but is it realistic for the rest of us? I don’t know any entrepreneurs who aren’t working a daytime job or living with their parents.

How about you? Do you harbor a dream you’d like to fulfill? Could you answer the above questions with no hesitation? Or are you pursuing your dreams while holding down a job? Share please!


Amy said...

1. Traveling. Spending my 401K and maxing out my own credit cards.
2. Needing to work for a living.
3. Quit my job, pay off my debt, buy a camper-van and drive to Newfoundland and back. Then build my dream house/studio/kiln on a few acres close to downtown.

It's hard to love your career when your dream vocation is vacation.
But seriously, I'm trying to work full time and make pottery, but I just end up being stressed out all the time.

Jeremy Bates said...

a big question on my have some good points!

Abby said...

Yes! Thank you for voicing what I haven't said myself because I couldn't articulate it as well...and I just haven't tried. Anyway, I call bullshit on the whole "find your passion and do what you love" lines. The people who say this have money to do what they want and don't have to worry about paying their therapy or water bill.

Most of the time a job is about survival and it's done to pay the bills and leave a little time and money left over to do what you like. I would ideally love to be able to get paid for that, but you know what? Everyone would. Perhaps if I had a "dream" job it would be easier to pursue that. I really don't. I know what I like to do, but no one pays me for that.

If I had $10 million, I can guarantee I would not be worrying about those questions. Whoever said money can't buy happiness wasn't trying hard enough.

Kathy said...

I've been reading your "Unemployment Diaries" and I think you should be a writer! I've put a post about your journey, along with a link, on my blog!

About the dream job - I wanted to be a writer when I was young. Then I realized I didn't have any talent.
I've always been envious of people who have a passion (and talent!)for a particular field and then go out and make it happen.

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