I read this article by Martha Brockenbrough last night. I’ve read it before, mainly going along and nodding and not really paying attention to the insights, but this time I stopped to seriously consider the questions.

  1. Do you like your job?

    I liked it when I was full-time and doing design, fulfillment, and other things that were either creative in nature or repetitive but not boring (yet) in nature. I didn’t like it when I had to start doing CSR/Dispatch. Now that I’m not doing CSR/Dispatch, I’m unhappy because I only get 15 hours a week. I can’t say that going full-time doing the stuff I was doing before would be awesome, but it would be better. I don’t know if I’m doing stuff that I would want to do for the rest of my life or not.
  2. Do you have big plans for your retirement?

    Yes, although the thought of waiting that long drives me nuts. I want to travel now, see new things, taste new foods, meet new people, learn about different cultures. I want to go back to–maybe even live in–Japan. I feel like if I wait much longer on these plans, they’ll never come to fruition, even when I’m “retired”.
  3. Do you fantasize about winning the lottery so you can quit your job and live the life of your dreams?

    Hell yes.

Martha Brockenbrough sez:

If you answered yes to any of these questions–let alone all of them–there’s a good chance you are wasting your life in the wrong job.

On the third page of her article, she goes on to discuss finding your dream…discovering whether or not you’re passionate about something, or you are just rising to the challenge and enjoying a temporary emotional high. That idea really struck home to me…that I could have been enjoying my job at the beginning because it was challenging and because I knew I could do it, not because I actually liked it.

  1. What have I done in my life that meant the most to me?

    Married Sean. Played with and helped take care of Connor and Logan. Spent time with my family. Traveled to Japan. I can’t think of anything I’ve ever done that was job-related that meant a whole lot to me. I’m very glad that I got my BAs in English and Linguistics, too, but that happiness has been diminished by the impression that they are worthless. The only other thing I can think of that I’ve done and that gives me pride and pleasure is taking pictures.
  2. When have I felt the most natural, at ease, and confident?

    When I’m the boss. Seriously. I don’t like depending on someone else to determine outcomes. I may have an overinflated opinion of my own talents, but I often feel that I know better than the person in charge. That’s why I became Administrator of the AMRN, and that’s why I don’t stay long in jobs where I feel like a cog. My current job is different; I am at least important there. That’s one reason that I’ve felt I should hang onto it…my opinions matter.
  3. What would I do every day if I could?

    When I saw this question last night, I balked for a moment, and as I sat there wondering what exactly I would want to do every day, the thought fluttered into my consciousness: “Run around taking pictures.”

This was utterly shocking. I’ve had people tell me that I should pursue a career in photography before, but I’ve never taken them seriously. For one thing, I have no idea what I’m doing. (This is a lame excuse, because I could always learn.) For another, I always assumed that they just liked my stuff because it looks marginally better than pointing and shooting, not because I actually had any real talent at it. (This is actually my false modesty; deep down, I believe I am good at photography, but I pretend that I don’t so that I don’t have to test myself and discover that I’m wrong.)

Now that I’m thinking about it, though, it sounds so great. I could run all over the world taking pictures and gaining life experience. I’d enjoy the different cultures, myriad foods, and meeting new people, and I’d capture it all with my camera. I might even, after many years, find that I have something to write about.

Because writing isn’t something I want to do right now. If I wanted to write–or if I had to write, even while hating it, as many writers do–then I would be doing it. I feel obligated by my talent, but I don’t want or need to write.

You have no idea how amazingly free I suddenly feel after writing that paragraph. It’s like I’m suddenly able to make choices again.

So…it would appear that I want to travel and take photos.

Now to figure out how I can do it!