|yay for cheesy stock photos!|
I’m no stranger to these statements. Uninspired, unmotivated, disillusioned, and distracted are all words I’ve experienced at various employments. So much in fact that I’ve had to step back and ask myself, “Is it me or is it the jobs I go after?” (the jobs being in various creative fields, but mostly the film industry).
Tired of being constantly stressed and hearing myself complain, I began analyzing my various employments. I began my career life as a personal assistant. I did that for four years working for two different employers. Needless to say, personal assisting is typically not a lifelong job. Agreeing to be someone’s , for the lack of a better word, slave, with the occasional perk is not what most people view as a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. I then moved to Austin where I continued working in film/tv/commercial production. I’d like to add that all my jobs in the entertainment business have been full-time salaried jobs through the respective employers’ companies. I was never freelance.
At various times in between employment I worked odds and ends jobs (mostly retail) because I don’t like not having money coming in. You will never catch me free-loading. What I discovered is the happiest I’ve been with work has been at the odds and ends jobs (particularly working at the Apple store for four months).
The odds and ends jobs came at a time when I would get disappointed with my “career job” and leave. I then would feel inspired that now, now I can work on my writing or whatever personal creative goals I’ve wanted to work on but had been too stressed and exhausted to do. What then happens is that after a few months of doing working a “whatever job”, and realizing that I’m getting older, not younger, I start to feel disappointed in myself for not having a “career path”- even though I’m making headway on my writing or creative endeavors. I then question if I should have left my previous “career jobs”. I look at my friends working at large corporations with 401k plans and accrued time off and I think, “They are doing it right.” The funny this is, most of them hate their job and think, “I’d like something a little more inspiring, a little more relaxed.” They want what I have and I want what they have. Then we switch and then we want to go back.
In other words, it’s a never-ending cycle of confusion about what to do with one’s work life.
So what is it about my generation that makes these decisions so difficult?
We are the grandchildren of a dedicated working class. We are the children of their rebelling children, that taught us to ask questions and to seek more out of life. We are the children of a vast and changing technological world. Somewhere deep down we hope that we will love our job, like our grandparents did. We hope that we will connect with a work situation and want to stay there for awhile. We will grow there. We will stay dedicated to our job and we get the same amount of employer dedication in return. That we will wake up in the morning feeling good about the job we do. Somewhere along the way we realize that is idealism. Somewhere along the way, after reading stories of recession, corruption, and disloyalty we realize that the man doesn’t have our back and that they maybe never did. We realize that we’re part of the machinery and our hopes are deflated. Somewhere we realize we have other options, too many options and we get paralyzed. Somewhere along the way we get distracted with constant in-your-face information.
We are the generation of the confused.What we think exists and what we actually want does frequent battle.
So what do we do?
This is a question I’ve asked myself off and on for the past seven years. Do I stay on a path of working at “career companies”, having average health insurance, questionable vacation time, being salaried and working overtime with no extra pay, a steady paycheck and the constant disappointment in the realities that exist nowadays or do I leave it all behind, work to get by, and focus on my true joy- writing- but dealing with the idea that I’m 27 and not working in a “career environment”.