Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Right Job for the Man

I’m not sure if I’m the right man for the job and, for the first time in a while, I’m no longer sure that I’m in the wrong job for the man I am. I have been unhappy at work for years and found little to change that feeling. I’ve worked summer school but that has kept me feeling down nearly year-round. I have worked summers in the National Writing Project only to feel tremendous let-down on my return to school. I haven’t taken a summer off as I can’t afford to, but I imagine that I would return to work similarly confused.

Throughout the past half dozen years I have dwelled on work such that I’ve felt worse and worse. This month I was jarred out of that by a personal tragedy. I’m back on my feet now and almost in my right mind, but my point of view has shifted.

I realize that the quality of my job is largely determined by what I do and how I think. This should have been obvious, but I was too busy blaming The Man for my troubles. Funny, when I blame someone for keeping me down I find that the thumb I’m under is my own. There are problems with my school, but there are problems in every school. I’m no longer convinced beyond all doubt that I’m in the wrong place.

Neither am I convinced that I’m in the right place. This puts me in a good but scary position. I get to observe things and make decisions from there. Rather than blind I need to see what is what, know the job as it is, know myself better, and then proceed. Strange as it may seem, this sort of thing tends to scare me.

I have applied for other jobs and been turned down. This school year I’m batting .250. I was accepted as an adjunct at Le Moyne College and turned down for three other jobs. As averages go, .250 isn’t terrible and the experience at Le Moyne taught me some things. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, but I worked hard and did well. I’d like a repeat gig so I can do it better. I’ll apply again this fall.

Being turned down for the other jobs discouraged me. I don’t take rejection well. I avoid it by not trying, but that hasn’t worked out well. Fear keeps me down more even than The Man. So too does complaining. Applying beats complaining even when I get rejected. Observing rather than carping leads to better action. If nothing else, the events of this month have jarred me into observing life more clearly.

I don’t know what’s on the horizon, what jobs might be available. Despite the advice of several wise friends, I worry that I’m unqualified for anything but teaching. However, I’m working to be open to ideas, now more than ever, including even the idea that I might be well served staying in my current job and learning what is about it now that my eyes are open. I’m the right man for the job, I’m sure, once I figure out the right job for the man I’m becoming.

This week, I’ll see about exploring what I might be good at, what I can do. Writing is one of those things and doing a couple more blog entries about what work can and might be is worth writing about. If anyone reading this has ideas about things I should be thinking about or, better yet, doing, please let me know in the comments or on email. I’m ready to listen to what you have to say. This is the good that can come out of bad things.

I’m wondering what that means about searching for jobs and continuing in the one that I have.