Yesterday was not a good day.
Oh, it was not a terrible day by any stretch of the imagination. Nothing truly bad happened. A crack did not open up in the earth and swallow me. No flat tires. I still have a job. No one died. But it was a very dispiriting day none the less.
Why? Because it was a day of triviality.
It was a day like so many that I spent in the past in my career. A day where I spent time doing things I have done for the past 14 years: pushing documents through the system. Preparing presentations for visitors. Following up on required paperwork that no-one really seems to care about and feels perfectly okay to ignore. In other words, a day realizing that my career has not progressed one iota in a very long time.
This is the most dispiriting of all - to realize that one's career has simply become a never ending cycle of small tasks that repeat themselves without the possibility of escaping them and moving forward, a sort of horrible career reincarnation where one never really moves beyond what one is doing.
The options are minimal and somewhat grim. The concept of moving up where one currently works is simply a non-starter at this point - after all, why would anyone promote someone who is doing the items that need doing? Trying to find a new position - a promotion ideally - at a new company is another option, although it creates its own set of issues in terms of family and moving. A new career - as we have discussed before - brings with it its own set of issues, the first of which is merely starting over again at the bottom when one cannot really afford to do so.
The part that is frustrating - the part that is the most debilitating - is the horrible sense that nothing is going to change. 14 years of doing the same thing is enough to make that plain. And the realization that even in the doing of these things the inherent triviality that exists - that most of what is worked on will simply slip into the dustbin of history without a second thought, that the critical items of today are really nothing more than the failed and outmoded projects of yesterday - does nothing to promote a sense that somehow, somewhere, what I am doing is for the better.
But today is another day. Another day that I will get up and head out and do my thing - and perhaps somewhere harbor the hope that today, somehow or somewhere, something about it will be different. Different enough to make me believe that careers really do move forward instead of just remaining the same.