I Just Wanna Bang on the Drum All Day

I can tell I’m ready for a break. Other than the usual symptoms like oh, I don’t know, getting distracted a lot, I’ve been finding any excuse to put off actually working. Earlier in the week, I canceled a meeting with my boss because the scroll wheel on my mouse broke. I know. I ended up thinking about what type of work I need to be doing to feel truly fulfilled. That’s right – I found some utility in shirking my responsibilities! While my mouse was being replaced, I hung out in the call center and tried to concentrate on what I was supposed to be doing, researching Google Analytics. I kept getting frustrated pouring over a droll technical manual and found myself listening to the hum of work around me. I thought, “I would much rather be answering calls and taking orders” but then felt guilty, especially given how hard I’ve worked to have an intellectually stimulating job.

My freshman and sophomore years of college, I did administrative work for an IT department at IU. Over the years, I worked my way up and by the time I graduated, was an assistant editor. During that time and especially right after I graduated, I worked my arse off to make sure I didn’t get stuck in an administrative job. It’s VERY important for me to clarify that I do not think admin work is beneath me. I’ve done it before and may do it again. I also don’t think it’s easy. In fact, in my experience it’s quite difficult and thankless despite the fact that support staff are usually the ones keeping universities and companies afloat. That said, I was worried I’d feel stuck and unhappy doing that type of work my whole life. Now at 33, I see the potential benefits of having a job that grants some intellectual reprieve. The responsibility of meeting ever-advancing career goals is wrought with worry, which I always have enough of in my life. I guess what I’m saying is, I’m grateful to be where I am but the older I get, the more I wonder if striving to meet some arbitrary definition of success is that important to me. And if I am going to throw my all into a job, it damn well better be something I really care about. Since I graduated, my jobs have gradually become more and more IT focused until my current position, which doesn’t involve even a smidgen of writing. This coming year, I’m going to throw myself into freelance writing. My free time has been waylaid by well-compensated freelance Web work and while it’s greatly increased the number of purses I have, it’s not making my skirt fly up. It’s time for me to face my fear of someone saying, “You’re a terrible writer and you’ll never succeed.” It’s time for me to give what I love doing a proper try! *fast forward to me smoking a cigar and copyediting Playgirl articles*

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5 Responses to “I Just Wanna Bang on the Drum All Day”

  1. lydia Says:

    I can totally relate to this post. I had my dream job after college–fundraising for the Arthritis Foundation. I was challenged, I did something different practically every day, the work I did was rewarding and I could SEE how it was truly helping people and improving their lives. Once, a family of a child with juvenile arthritis even invited our entire staff over and the whole family put on this English tea (complete with piano player from their church!) just to THANK US for doing what we were paid to do. It was amazing.

    And then I had to accept that my health was suffering for it–I actually have juvenile arthritis myself, and I had gotten so exhausted and run down that my doctor told me my job was affecting my health. I had to choose to leave for my own physical well-being. That was more than 4 years ago, and I’m still not over it…

    Now I have an administrative job for the state… ironically it pays better, but I am bored off my ass every day and not challenged and don’t give a crap about what I do. My health has improved drastically–I’m not even on meds. I had the energy to plan my wedding, have had lots of time to concentrate on my marriage to make it stronger… there have certainly been advantages in my personal life. But I miss every day the feeling of loving what I do, of truly doing what I’m great at and what makes a difference in the world.

    So… the grass is always greener, right? 🙂 Sounds like you’re more in a place where you’re not totally bored but you’re not fulfilled either… I’m here to say that 1) you don’t want the mindless humdrum and 2) yes, go for it–doing what you truly love to do is the greatest feeling in the world. THAT is success.

  2. Kris Says:

    Hello, midlife crisis. 😉 Just kidding.

    I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum (didn’t go to college and feel like I’ve squandered any God given talent I may have once had), but I know what you’re going through. What’s the point of it all? You make so many sacrifices while trying to be “successful”, yet success never really seems to find you. Ugh.

    I must have forgotten that you do freelance web work on the side. I would love to do some sort of graphic/website design, but programming is not my thing. You, on the other hand, have mad skills.

    What type of freelance writing are you looking to do? Are you thinking of a long-term publishing goal, like a memoir or a novel?

    Do what makes you happy. Life is too short, and you need to find your one true thing. I wish you nothing but happiness and love along the way!

  3. JayDubs Says:

    Hey Mymsie–it’s Jan 10. What have you written this year?

    😉

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