When I graduated college, I had no idea what to do next. I had graduated with a degree in Theatre and Television Arts, but I had become very disillusioned with the idea of pursuing theatre professionally unless I was running a community theatre on my own, which I quickly realized wasn’t going to happen just because it sounded fun. I started off as a student loan collector, moved on to being an administrative assistant on contract, spent a few months grading standardized tests, and then landed in a customer service role for an insurance company.
I’ve been in insurance for almost ten years now. During that time, I’ve held a variety of positions, including a managerial position that was, sadly, eliminated during our company’s last restructuring. I enjoyed being a manager partially because I had a great team that I connected with and that I felt I was developing into real stars in the company, and partially because I liked the work that we were doing.
I’m now in a position that I don’t like — and while I have not been a complainer at work, my manager (and the chain of command) are aware that I’m going to be a good hard worker until the second I can find a safe way out. Safe, of course, means not ruining our financial security. They understand that even if I am successful in my current role, it gives me no personal satisfaction (and actually a significant amount of anxiety at times).
I’ve spent months looking for other jobs, both within the company and outside as well. I’ve asked lots of friends for advice, as well, and every time I find myself stumped by the seeming Catch-22 that I’m in.
On the one hand, my background for nearly a decade now is in personal lines claims… which means that the best chance I have of getting a job would be in personal lines claims. Other jobs that I think would make me happier inevitably have requirements like “at least seven years experience in flerjibbety shnarfing,” which only leads me to think that the job is completely out of the realm of possibility. And although I’ve heard people telling me “oh, try anyway — you never know what they’re really looking for,” I was a hiring manager for nearly three years. If I said that I wanted somebody with at least three years experience in personal lines insurance, I really wasn’t interested in someone who didn’t even know what a deductible was, because I had two dozen other applicants with five or ten years experience.
On the other hand, there are jobs out there that don’t have such stringent requirements and that could pave the way into something better… but I keep looking back and thinking, “I’ve put ten years into this. Starting at the bottom again… I just don’t know if I can do that.”
I mean, I have pretty good seniority right now for picking vacation dates. In the past, I’ve been stuck watching other people make bids for vacation on all the good dates, and I’ve been stuck with a couple days here and there. Where I am right now, I scheduled every vacation day I wanted in 2012. I have a good salary and good benefits and good hours. It would be very, very hard to give that up.
But even more than that — I don’t want to go running off just because I think the grass is going to be greener on the other side of the fence. I want to make sure that if I’m running, I’m running toward something I want, not just away from something I don’t.
But here I am at 35 years old, and I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
Well, no. That’s not entirely true. There are lots of things I could do if I thought it was possible. I would love to write full-time, but that’s not exactly a job that people pay you to do unless you’re already established, and as I’ve previously mentioned I’m just no longer sure if I’ve got it in me to put the time and effort in to getting someone else to publish me. I would love to have a microbrewery and grill, but I know nothing about the restaurant business, I’m not much of a cook, and I am in all other ways unqualified. I would love to have a small store for board and card games, but in general those aren’t exactly lucrative. (I don’t need to be rich — I just need to be secure.) And, when I’m being realistic, I don’t actually really have a burning desire to run my own business.
Half my friends are pragmatists, and they understand exactly what I’m saying. I have responsibilities to my family (not to mention creditors), and I can’t just drop my job to “follow my dreams” if I want to keep my house and car and food. Half my friends are dreamers and would be telling me right now “you have to do it or you’ll never forgive yourself.”
Dreams do get deferred. All the time.
I think my “ultimate” dream is that I want to be involved in running a ComedySportz. I think maybe someday I’ll be able to head in that direction.
Huh. I knew I was interested in that — even very interested — but it wasn’t until I just wrote it that I realized that I’m answering my own question. That’s where I want to be, ultimately.
I guess my next step is trying to figure out what sort of steps I’d have to take to start moving in that direction, and how to start taking those steps in my spare time.*
Okay, then. I guess this post is a processing post.
*HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA SPARE TIME HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!