Exploring Career Options

All of these look more attractive every day. I’m still working on #6 being an option.

I am contemplating my next step in life and exploring career options. Below are some careers where I think I might at least get a call back for an interview. It’s still iffy as I don’t seem to have marketable skills.

  1. The guy who scoops up roadkill – Bonuses: Outside work, multiple interesting lunch options, always a need for the position.
  2. Shoveling elephant poop at the zoo – Circus is no longer an option as they have retired the elephants. Too bad. I always wanted to run away with the circus. I might have if it wasn’t for all the damn clowns.
  3. Flagger Force – Outside work, but too much responsibility. Daydream too much and you might cause an accident. I’m not ready for that level of accountability.
  4. Spinning ad signs on the side of the road – Too clumsy and no rhythm. I would fail at this job.
  5. Putting flyers on people’s doors – Great for me as long as I’m not expected to talk to people. I’m all done talking to people. Bonuses – outside work, good exercise.
  6. Kept man – I’ve succeeded in the part where I find a woman who makes good money. I have failed at the part where I convince her to pay for everything while I live a leisurely life.
  7. Telemarketer – I’ve done this before and I didn’t suck at it but see above about people.
  8. Professional cheetah walker – I have the experience, but unless the zoo needs one it would require relocation to another continent.
  9. Professional blogger – If you are reading this, you likely know why this is not an option.
  10. Clown – I’m creepy and people don’t like me, so I’m almost there. This might be the winner.

Why I Was in Jail

I wrote this one a LONG time ago(2008!) and was thinking about how I ended up where I am. This is part of it. The explanation for my long stint in jail. I really think I would have been better off if I had stayed in jail until I retired.

I’ve always loved reading and that likely explains why I like libraries, but has little to do with why I am here.  I decided when I was in 6th grade that I was going to be a teacher.  After that decision was made, I never really thought about doing anything else.  I went off to the University of Kentucky and declared elementary education as my major.  The first couple of education classes were great.  I enjoyed the hour here and there that I spent in the classroom and had good grades in the education classes.  When I got to the semester before student teaching, I was spending 2 days a week at an elementary school.  I quickly realized that I didn’t like kids enough to spend all day in a room full of them and also that I wasn’t very good at teaching them.

The year before this, I needed a part time job.  I put in an application to work at the university library and received a call to go talk to the head of the periodicals department.  She  asked me to go get my application from the library administration before the interview.   The library administration told me my application had been pulled by the circulation department already, so I headed over to get it from them.  The circulation department head told me then that he wanted to hire me and that I would be happier working there than I would in periodicals.  Not really caring about the department, I said OK and accepted the job.  After a year there, I became the Sunday night supervisor.  I really loved the job and the people in the department.

When I reached the crisis point of knowing I could never be a teacher, my adviser saw how much I loved the library and suggested I look into getting an MLS.  I discovered that I was only a few credits away from a degree in communications, so I switched majors, got the BS in Communications and when on to get an MLS from the University of Kentucky.

I worked in market research for a year while getting my degree and started looking for a library job when it was time to move to Maryland for my wife’s job.  My first two library jobs were with a temp agency.  I was placed at a law firm across from the White House for a couple of weeks and then did a week at the World Bank.  My one and only full time job offer was with the Maryland State Correctional System as a contract employee.  I spent a miserable year there and then started looking for a new job with benefits.  I interviewed several places and ended up back in jail, this time with Howard County Library at the county jail.  Thirteen years later, I am still in what at the time I thought would be a nice in between job before getting out of jail for good.

As for why I am still here, part of it is that I have not been offered any other jobs I have applied for in the system, but also because I really do believe I am helping people each and every day.

How to Turn the Page?

So, yesterday, I wrote about turning the page and starting a new chapter even if the new chapter is a mystery. That’s easier said than done.

If I was the only person my actions impacted I would likely pack my bags and move back to my home state. I don’t know that I would consider moving back to my actual hometown, but I would go somewhere smaller and quieter than the place I am right now. As I’ve written before, I hate the burbs. I would find a job to pay for my living expenses and lead a quiet, secluded life. That would only work if I had no family. This option is out because my family lives here and has no interest in abandoning their lives to move to the country with me. Even if  I could convince my wife to do it, I would never voluntarily live hundreds of miles away from my kids. So, that option is obviously out.

Another option that is out is me quitting my job and taking a sabbatical while assessing my options. That was the dream for a little while during isolation. I would dream of talking to my wife and telling her that I needed to quit my job and take a break for a while for mental health reasons. In the dream version, she would agree that we were able to absorb my not working for 6 months and that I should do it. As long as I never talked to her, I could continue to dream about this. Unfortunately, I eventually had to actually have the conversation with her and thus ended the dream. I can’t just quit my job without my wife’s blessing. That wouldn’t be right. I guess she is not interested in having a house husband for a few months. Also, apparently quitting my job and taking a break while doing work around the house isn’t a real life plan.

So, where does that leave me? It leaves me not turning the page because this is a terrible time to try to make a major change in life. Finding a new job is hard in the best of times. Finding a new job when you are over 50 is hard in the best of times. Starting a new career over 50 is almost impossible even in the best of times. I’m wanting to do it n the middle of a pandemic. That just isn’t going to happen. Thus, my initial plan of a 6-month sabbatical in hopes of things being better sometime in 2021.

It’s too bad no one will pay me to write a mediocre blog. Page turning will have to wait for a bit.

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Self Doubt

I wrote this one a year ago today. This is an ongoing issue. I’ve been looking at job openings again and I opt not to apply for a lot of them because I don’t feel qualified. I’ve also reached a point where I want less, not more when it comes to career. I want to be able to clock out and forget about work until I clock in again. This is not exactly the best time to be looking for a change. I feel like I’m going to be stuck where I am forever.

If you have followed this blog(or my personal Facebook page) you will know that I have long contemplated my future career-wise. I have applied for promotions where I currently work. I have been turned down for promotions where I currently work. I think we are close to 20 times now that I have been turned down for a new job with my current employer. I have applied for multiple jobs at other organizations. I have been offered one job. You can read here about my decision to turn down the job offer. In that post, I talked about upcoming opportunities for change. Those opportunities did not pan out and now I am back to where I was before, contemplating my future.

There is a job opening right now that seems to be a good fit for me. It is a change, but not a major change. I would be doing a job similar to what I’m doing now. The commute would be manageable. It would not mess up my long term plans(I don’t think). It would reset my vacation, but I could deal with that. I’m still hesitating, though, before completing the application. Why? Various reasons. Various questions. Is 50 too old to make a major change like this? Do I really want to start all over at a new place? Do I want to give up the vacation I’ve accrued and start over? And the big one – Am I good enough?

Maybe the reason I’ve been turned down for so many jobs where I work is that they know me and know that I’m not good enough. Maybe I’ve been fooling myself all these years and I’m not actually good at what I do. Maybe they see all of my faults and they all add up to someone who would not succeed at these jobs. Maybe I’m better off staying where I am. What if I go somewhere else and they realize all of this and then I end up with no job? Maybe I should have stayed in my old position where I was basically invisible and it was less likely people would realize all of this. Maybe it’s time to admit to myself that it’s not them, it’s me and I should stop wasting my time.

I should approach the job thing like high school me approached dating. You can avoid all the inevitable rejection by not trying at all.

Clock Watching

One thing hasn’t changed with working from home for almost three months – watching the clock.

I wake up early every day. My clock watching starts then. Dreading the time when I have to clock into work and turn my home into my office.

I then watch the clock for the morning right at 9am call from my boss.

I then watch the clock for the 10am release of the state’s Covid data.

I then watch the clock for when it is late enough for me to eat lunch. It’s hard because I tend to get hungry early and since I’m home I can eat whenever I want. I try not to.

I then work and watch the clock for the time I can clock out and my house and my time is mine again.

I watch the calendar and I long for the weekend when I can try not to think about anything. I can watch TV, read, do whatever I want.

I watch the clock in dismay all weekend wondering why time moves so fast still on Saturday and Sunday.

I look at the calendar in dismay counting down ho much longer I have before I can retire.

We are watching the calendar as we get closer to my daughter’s school announcing the plans for fall. Can she go back? Will she be stuck at home with us again?

I see a lot of talk about how people are losing track of time. There were some days early on when I forgot what day of the week it was, but it is becoming less common. The above is more common. I am hyper-aware of the date and time.

All of this clock watching is probably not healthy, but I crave my personal time more than I have craved anything for a long time even though I can’t really do much during my personal time.

And now it is time to clock in and start my clock watching again.

I’m My Own Worst Enemy

A lot of this still holds true today. I still won’t make the effort to write someone substantial because I’m afraid I can’t. I desperately need to change my work, but I find a reason not to apply for many jobs(a lot is still thinking I’m not good enough), I seriously think I need an entire career change but I’m afraid to even talk about it with the people with whom I need to talk about it. If I keep it up I will be sitting in the same place 5 years from now still unhappy.

The World's Common Tater

This is true in a variety of ways. One of the current ways is the fact that I am very close to hitting 1000 views on my blog this month and I suddenly have no desire to write anything. I’ve never hit 1000 view in a month. All I need to do is average 14 views a day for the rest of the month and I’m there. This is not one of those blogs that gets 14 views in a day with no new post. I’m never going to be that blog that gets random visitors. There is no good reason for anyone to ever click on my blog, especially when there is no new post. When I got close to my milestone my mind went blank and I had no idea what to write. I think my brain is rebelling against my small success.

I’m my own worst enemy…

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Tater Takes a Small Step.

Just a quick note for those who have followed my posts about my needing a change.

Today I moved from talking to action. I have submitted my first application for a new job. Same field, very different location. I will continue my search over my four day weekend.

Now that I’ve decided to stop balking at messing up my ability to retire in five years I feel free to look for a wide variety of jobs. I would rather be happy at work for 10 years than miserable for 5.

I will post any updates as they happen.

Sometimes I Miss Jail

I know that might sound weird, especially for those who don’t know I worked in a jail library for 19 years. Jail was not always an easy place to work. Many days could be very stressful. I spent a lot of time trying to get out and was relieved when I was finally transferred.  There are things I miss about it, though.

I worked Monday through Friday and 8-4 when I was at the jail. No weekend work.

I worked alone. I could do things my way and not deal with anyone else doing it wrong.

I worked alone so my day didn’t depend upon others actually showing up for work.

I worked alone so there was no one around to micromanage me.

I worked alone so I could go on vacation or call out sick without worrying about my absence creating work for others.

I could have problem customers removed from the library.

Customers were only allowed in the library for an hour and then they had to leave.

Free lunch.

I worked alone. Have I mentioned that? I love some of my coworkers, but working alone can be very nice.

I was invisible. I mean, I am still basically invisible, but I suddenly become visible when someone wants me to do something they don’t want to do. I was always invisible in jail.

Maybe I can get them to transfer me back to jail…

What Have I Achieved?

A friend sent me a Creativity Jumpstart notebook a while back. I have not used it as much as I should. I get stuck a lot and it is very useful in helping me find something to write. Today’s post is brought to you by life lately and the following tweet she included in the notebook:

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I can relate to that tweet completely, but, unfortunately, for a good portion of my achieving things, I didn’t have Netflix to get me through. I survived and even before Netflix TV was a big part of my life.

Mine has been a life of thinking that I would be happier if I could just achieve a certain thing.

Going to college was going to make me happier. I was still an awkward social outcast in college.

Graduating and getting a job was going to make me happier. My first job out of grad school was a contract job with no benefits and a terrible boss.

Getting a real job away from that boss was going to make me happier. I ended up back in jail.

Getting out of jail was going to make me happier It took 19 years, but I got out of jail. I was then in a weird, invisible position where no one respected me and I was still the jail guy.

Getting a transfer or a promotion to get an actual title was going to make me happier. What I got was that a title means nothing and I might be more invisible and less respected than I was when I was the jail guy.

I’ve spent years working toward some mythical place that was going to make me happy. I’m still not happy. I’m not happy because my focus on being happy was too career focused. My career was never going to be the source of my happiness.  I’ve been reaching for happiness where happiness was not to be found. I will never move up in my career if I stay who I am and I refuse to be someone else. At least that is what people tell me.

So, if you need me, I will be in front of my TV watching Netflix and dreading leaving the house in the morning.

 

They Don’t Own You, You Don’t Owe Them

Once upon a time, in an office far, far away(Baltimore) I worked for a terrible person. I was a contract employee and, even if this person wasn’t terrible, would need to find a new job eventually. During this terrible time, I filled in as the librarian at the women’s prison for several months. It had the benefit of not being in the same office as the terrible person and I felt I was actually doing some good. I applied for the open position and the terrible person passed on hiring the person actually doing the job and hired someone else. At this time, I became more active in my job search. At some point, the terrible person found out I was looking for a new job and was furious. She called me in to her office and yelled about how I owed it to her to tell her I was looking so she could start thinking about a replacement for me. I wish I would have had it in me then to tell her why exactly I owed her nothing. I did eventually find a new job, but it was right back to jail. You can read some of that story here.

The above story is brought to you by me hearing about others who are concerned about what people will think if people here they might be looking for a new job. No one should worry about what people think about them looking for a new job. No one owes it to anyone to tell them they are looking for a new job. No one owes it to an employer to not look for new opportunities. What you owe your employer is this – do your best when you are at work. Do the job you are paid to do. That’s it. That’s all you owe them. Same goes for supervisors and coworkers. If you have a good relationship with them and you think they will support you, by all means, let them know, but you don’t need to tell anyone anything you don’t want to tell them. You do owe it to yourself to do what is best for you and your family. That’s it. End of story. This also applies to people who work for me(though I can’t imagine anyone wouldn’t want to work for me forever).

There are lyrics to a Bowling for Soup song that apply here:

Follow your heart. Fuck everybody else.