Yesterday I went to my community college to learn about a career guidance workshop they offer called DISCOVER. It's a test designed to help suss out a persons interests, abilities and values so they can be translated into a career. I came home from the workshop, took the rather intensive 3-part test, stretched my aching back, holding each pose for 4 full minutes and groomed the dog with painfully inept and dull clippers that caused my aching back to return. Then I went to have dinner with my grandmother in her little white-curly-perm dining room at her retirement home, where the old and adorable reside. She is truly remarkable, 93 and as sharp as a whip! In amazing health, she has a few problems with hearing, balance and asthma but otherwise she is a marvel. Up every morning, putting her lipstick on and blushing her 93-year-old self to prettiness. I sure hope I got her genes! Then I took her to visit my uncle (her son-in-law) at the hospital. He is very sick. It is very sad. We are praying a lot. Then I came home and presented the outcome of this DISCOVER test to my husband.
We went through it, career by career. Job description, education requirements, projected growth (or decline), average salary. At the end of it he had dismissed everything tangible or concrete and proclaimed that I was "a writer". Then he had me adding another cosmetics line to the one I already freelance for to bring in the extra money we so desperately need. I quickly watched any real change for the future disintegrating right before my eyes. His plan put me right back to square one, exactly where I am right now. Working a physical job with no growth potential. Every opportunity that is going to present itself in this business has already done so. Nothing new or progressive or moving forward will come of it. Retail is simply the wrong field for this girl to keep working in any longer. Then we started fighting. And in the midst of yelling the volleyball of expectation, fear and disappointment that we were both feeling back and forth, he asked me if I wanted a career, or if I wanted a job. And that, being a very valid question, made me stop and take pause. I had to ask myself, really, "Am I looking for a career, or am I looking for a job?". I was not confidently sure of either and vacillated between positions. On one hand I was ready and willing to make a change, unwilling to stay on the road to already been, ready to flip it upside down and do something real to make sense of this mess that I have made out of my career. On the other I contemplated moving forward un poquito by signing up with a staffing agency. Looking for something office-based. Taking a mild step forward into the possible. I was drawn to the cautious, safe enclave of stepping my foot out into the rain in order to avoid rushing into it and having to sing and dance and celebrate in it. And quite possibly slipping and falling.
So of course the initial answer I committed to was no, I do not want a career. I felt a good 1st step was to sign up for some temp work with an agency and supplement my makeup artistry income with some office experience. That was my decision last night. Open up that clam shell of what if just a little bit. But today I am not so sure. If money was not an issue (so we are dreaming!) and I could do whatever I want in this life I would write books and columns and magazine articles. I would be a housewife and dog-mom and active with my family and enjoying life with my friends. I would travel and foster-mom lost children and actively donate my time and resources to charity. I would learn languages and entertain and garden and greenhouse until every bit of my Martha Stewart-ness is content and full. I would yoga-size and rest and rejuvenate until I glowed serene, keeping union with God and Their divine purpose for my life. I would sponsor impoverished immigrants for citizenship and support disadvantaged children that choose to excel if given the opportunity.
It took another amazing night of sleep (I am actually getting tired and going to bed before 11PM!) and some talk with my mom and texting with my husband to recognize that although my heart does not skip a beat for this elusive career waiting in the wings to sweep me off my feet and fix all my problems, it is what I need to do to be a happy, successful and independent woman. So it is not so much whether I want a career, it's about the fact that I need a career. I need to develop that side of myself. I need to earn a decent income and give my husband some reprieve from the endless hours of droning and drooling behind his cubicle walls. I need to give him options and hope and gratitude. I need to move to the next phase in my healing...to that of a self-supporting, healthy, productive adult. And at this insane place in my 33 years of life, I think I am finally ready.
Thanks for joining,