Thursday, April 17, 2014

Job Change and Excuses III

So we have established that the thought of a job change is heavy on my mind.  We have also established the fact that the true reason I do not seem to want to do it is not for lesser reasons that can be resolved but that I have an image in my mind of how I view myself - a beggar pleading for a career rather than someone confidently making a career and being a valued resource.

How does one find this confidence?

It is not as if this is an unsolvable problem.  I have plenty of friends I know that have done this:  Miss C with her art or Himself with Real Estate or friends that have gone on to consulting jobs in companies they have founded.  People I know have done this - why cannot I visualize the much less difficult task of simply confidently looking for a new job?

Is it the system?  Sure, the job search system as it currently exists does not help.  One becomes a faceless number submitting a form - and even if one is fortunate enough to land an interview, one finds more often that not that a follow up is never given - more often than not, unless you get the position you never know that you did not get the position.

And there is always a high sense of competition in the interview process - not just that you are trying to do well but that you are competing with others not just on experience, but on price and your location.  To me it really does feel like you are are in a competition.  And if an competition long enough without results, you begin to suffer doubt.

So how does one overcome this?  Some thoughts:

1)  Remember:  Remember what you have done in which you have been successful.  For me, I have that string of things in recent history - Iaijutsu, Heavy Athletics- things where I have succeeded in learn to do something and accomplishing something.  If I have done it once, I can repeat the experience.

2)  Support:  Part of any successful effort is the people that one surrounds themselves with.  I am fortunate in that I have found activities where such support is readily found - Highland Athletes are by far the most supportive group I have met in a long time and my iaijutsu training partners give me confidence in areas where I feel week.  But I realize now it is just not enough to surround yourself with them - you need to engage their active support as well.  The reality is that most people are willing to be quite supportive but they can only so when they know there is a need.  Do not be afraid to ask.

3)  Fix:  Fix those things you can control.  If there is a skill to learn, learn it - now more than any other time in history the knowledge is available and the concept of self taught is not something that puts people off.'

4)  Be confident:  This is the hardest thing of all for me - but the most important.  If I do not believe in myself, no one can really believe in me either.  There is an aura of one that is self confident that is hard to define but easy to recognize, a sense of "I can do this - and if I cannot do it here, I will do it somewhere else.   My value rests with me, not with your opinion of me."  Believing this turns the most cringing of individuals into the most confident of interviewees or one who can face an uncertain future with the confidence that they can make their way through it.

The reality is that what I feel is not forced on me by anyone else.  I am saddling myself with it.  But if I put it on myself, then I have the power to take it off again.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Job Change And Excuses II

Why do I make excuses for why I cannot - or will not - look for a new career?  This is the outcome of my pondering on yesterday's consideration and going through the process of living through my day at work.

What are my excuses?

- Money, of course.  As Pioneer Preppy pointed out so well yesterday, money is a huge consideration.  The thought of disrupting the money flow is a terrifying thought at the best of times, and as The Firm proved, making a bad decision about money can haunt you for years after the decision both financially and personally.

- Experience.  I argue with myself that I have "invested" 16 plus years in my current line of work and starting from the bottom again will just be an exercise in futility that I do not want to undertake for a second time.

- Difficulty.  Yes, it is hard to find a new career field.  Lots of searching, lots of applying, lots of rejections.

But in writing them out, those are pretty tame excuses considering my rising level of unhappiness.  Not enough money?  Find a way to make more.  Not enough experience?  Be creative - how does your current experience level translate into other areas - or simply learn new skills.  Difficulty?  Sure, it is difficult - but lots of things that I have done in my life are difficult.  What is my point?

The last is the most telling to me.  Difficult.  But I have done many difficult things - I have sung in front of people, performed on the harp, created and written four books, wrote 50,000 words in 30 days, learned a sword art form, and competed in Highland Athletics.  Any one of those things could be considered difficult - yet I have done them all.

It comes down to self belief.

I do not believe that I can do this thing.  That is what it is.  I do not have the internally energizing belief that I can find a new line of work - or even create one for myself.  Always in the back of my mind I see myself as the one with my hand out, begging for a job rather than being desired for one.

How did I end up with such an image in my head?  Years of the job process I suppose, always applying for multiple jobs while hoping against hope that someone will say yes, that someone will beneficently agree that you are the one.  But in every other example I listed there was no deus ex machina which made it happen. Yes, I have had more help in each of those things than I could have ever dreamed off.   But that help would not have made a difference - indeed, would not have been offered - unless I made the effort to do the activity, and believed that I could.

So there is the key - changing my image from a beggar pleading for a career to someone confidently making a career and being a valued resource.

How does one make this happen?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Job Change and Excuses

The thought of changing jobs keeps haunting my mind.

It occurred again last night when I was tying up the final edits of my next manuscript, waiting for it to upload to CreateSpace.  I reminded myself again how much I really enjoy writing (no idea if I am any good at it, but I sure do enjoy it). And then I started going through my list of things that I want to be about this year:  two more books, more Highland Games, more God, more Japanese, more Iaijutsu, more gardening and cheese making and mead making, more family.

You will notice what is missing from that list of course.  My current employment.

I keep trying to nudge myself that way subconsciously - and then I keep beating myself back, convincing myself that such a thing is impossible.  As if my most recent manuscript was not about self imposed limitations (which it is).  Just like I thought that Highland Athletics were impossible - until they were not.  And writing was - until it was not.

It comes down to that self confidence thing that has bedeviled me for year.  A man without self confidence will not do many things if even he can.  The man with self confidence will do many things even if he does not know how at the moment.

And a priority.  I need to make it priority. Yes, I know that I love to do these things and yes, I know that career changes are never much fun, but what I am finding is that I am subconsciously burying this desire to move on by not making any attempt to change anything.  "It's not the right time"  I tell myself, "I do not know where to begin."  Silly when I type it out of course, because there really is no better time than right now to start anything.

It comes down to this:  if you do not love what you do, why are you doing it?  Or more precisely, what excuses are you giving as to why you cannot change?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Running in Weather

Looking out the door to run this morning I had my usual second thoughts.  It was hot and humid, hardly the sort of weather that I enjoy running in - coming back soaked in a shirt is not something that I do not really enjoy.  Still, running is running, so I compromised, took off my shirt, and headed out.

The air was warm and a bit sticky but with an underlying hint of cold in it.  I rounded my first corner and then my second.  The wind was blowing briskly but nothing to significant. It was a pretty good day for a run.

Right until the cold front hit.

I have been inside when cold fronts hit.  The wind is amazing - in one case, it sounded like a freight train hit the house.

But being outside is something else.

Suddenly as I turned the corner and headed North I was hit by a huge blast of wind that just blew and blew and blew.  The humidity of earlier was blown away in an instant, replaced by sprinkles of rain.  It was significant enough that I thought about ending my run earlier and going home but thought "Hey, it is only another mile.  How bad can it be?"

The rain started about a quarter mile later.  And not "Oooh, I hear laughter in rain" rain.  Large, heavy, driving drops that spoke more of the cold weather behind than us in winter than the spring we are supposed to be in.  And it just kept coming and coming and coming, until when rounding the final corner it finally let up.

My time was not too bad for a 5K: 25:10.  The temperature dropped 11 degrees during the course of that run.  The most ironic thing, of course, is that I came home soaking wet - without a t-shirt.

Maybe, on the whole, the T-shirt really does not make the difference.

Friday, April 11, 2014

On The Cutting Of Anchors

One of the activities I do five days a week is post a quote on Facebook.  I do not know that one can say that posting a quote on something is a "calling", but I like to believe that I am improving the lives of my friends by giving them something to start the day with.  Sometimes (at least to me) thought provoking, sometimes humorous, it has actually become a game to find them and post them.  You get responses of course:  some funny, some with additional words of wisdom, some just "agree" or some such.

Yesterday something happened which has happened before:  I received a response from someone that was...sarcastic.  Political.  And not, in my way of thinking, all that funny.

I was conflicted.  Part of me wanted to respond with an equivalent drive-by remark.  Part of me did not want to respond at all, as I have learned that arguing on Facebook or in any electronic media leads nowhere.  And part of me simply wanted to delete the comment altogether without addressing it, a sort of passive-aggressive response.

I started thinking about it more and realized that the only time this individual seems to respond is with some sort of sarcastic or internally funny comment. Not that this is any indication of the individual, of course:  good human being, very caring, has lots going on and has done lots for others.  It is just that the interactions we seem to have via electronic media always end up in this sort of intellectual cul-de-sac where nothing can be discussed.

And then I realized:  why am I continuing to allow this incident and this person to bother me?

The reality is that,  especially since the move, my life is filled with tons of wonderful people.  Supportive people, goal oriented people, people who are focused on not only making themselves better but making everyone else around them better.  People that are moving forward, not people that seemingly snip at every turn.

And then the thought came:  Why are you letting them hold you back?

Is it habit?  Is it comfort?  Is it holding on to something that passed a long time ago because I am unwilling to realize that I am someone different than what I was and I have found people that fit into that new situation?  Or simply the potential regret of cutting back on long time relationships that no longer fill a gap?

I am not sure.  What I do know is after thinking about it for a while, I instead let my mind be filled with all of those people who are part of my life, who do enlarge my borders and my make days brighter.  There are so many of them in all different walks of my life.  And my heart was much happier.

I am still holding the rope to that particular anchor in my hand as I face another morning.  I am undecided about what I will eventually do - but I do know this:  without releasing the anchor, one cannot sail on.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

On Deciding in Writing

I am almost through my backlog of books I am working on.

Just getting to this point is always a struggle for me.  I tend to be one that likes to get to a certain point and then immediately move on to the next project, leaving this one almost finished.  I have had to set aside the manuscript I was working on to finish proofing the one that I had just finished (editing - not my favorite thing).    But that is almost done now and I can move to editing/proofing the manuscript in my possession (the goal is that I finish with that by the end of April).

And then what?

Well, I have one or two projects of course (I always seem to have more than I can do):  one more fable and one more theological book (comparing Highland Athletics and what the Church is supposed to be - I kind of like the concept). As with the rest of my writing, these could potentially be done by the end of the year depending on how quickly I write (I am trying to set aside some time on regular basis for that now to make sure that I start consistently doing it).

And then what?

A splendid question and one I do not know I fully have an answer to yet.  I have one or two conceptual ideas but at least one of them is something that I have never written before:  fiction.  Real fiction, not the sort of fable that I have written heretofore.  I find that a little daunting, actually - it feels like I would be writing something which is totally beyond my abilities (if you have read good fiction, you know how rare it is).  And yet I suppose I should not - 5 years ago I did not believe that I could write anything at all and I have self published 3 books with two more on the way.

So maybe the question is not so much what I will be writing next, but if I am willing to step things up to the next level to do so.  After all, I love writing - a great deal.  Why would I not try to get better at it?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

A Change In Doing

I have been giving a great deal of consideration this week to what I should be doing next.

Oh, not the rest of my life.  That is going pretty swimmingly, thank you very much - I have more than enough activities that I enjoy to do, An Teaghlach is doing well, and there is really not a great deal to complain about, except that I never seem to have enough time to do things.

Which leads me back to my employment.

This week has been a little rough - not so much from the work side but from the personality side of work.  Add to that the fact that by staying late it actually means that the commute is less (but my time is more) and you begin to see the difficulty.  It is that sudden realization (or maybe gradually revealing realization) that things really are not going in the direction one would be hoping for and they are not likely to change any time soon.

But what next?  Therein lies the rub.

I have come up with a few items.  I do not really care to manage people again - I do not mind it, but I find my management style to be primus inter pares, not a hierarchy (which most places are).  I would prefer not to spend scads of time driving to and from somewhere - in fact, the less I am in the office facing people the more productive I seem to be.  And with the exception of a few particular experiences I have exceeded my limit on learning new things - instead I will be doing the same things over and over if I stay in my current line of work.

But what does that mean?  It means that the solution will not be easy because finding something that has those elements is not easy.  It probably means figuring out a way to do something outside of the box, something which I excel at in my personal life but not so much in my professional life.

But I can do it.  That is the thing.  My personal life is a series of events where I have figured out ways to string things together and make them work when there is no real reason to do so.  I have grown gardens in the worst of locations, made cheese and sometimes even recovered it, figured out how to recover initially bad batches of mead.

It is not that I cannot, it is merely that I have not applied the same sort of innovation to the other parts of my life.

But guess what?  I need to figure this out too.  Because coming home feeling defeated and small and trapped is no way to go through life.