Times have changed, and along with it, so has the working world. I don’t have to quote a whole bunch of articles from every news source known that back up this fact. Jobs are scarce for the every day Joe and Jane, so we can imagine how hard it is to find work, let alone work you enjoy. The economy is tough, and if you are like me, you aren’t too keen on your job, but you are STUCK. You might be angry, frustrated, and confused about why you just dropped the equivalent of a year salary or more, on your education, and you aren’t getting a return on your investment. You aren’t lazy, you are deflated. You aren’t a slacker, but you may have had a door shut on you, and you are stuck in a house with no window of opportunity.
I can commiserate. I am in a position where there can often be great stability and pay, but at a cost. Countless times, people remind me to be happy I have a job ( I am!) and not to complain. But no one on this Earth can escape the nagging feeling they get when they KNOW they aren’t living up to their potential. How do you escape that? You can’t. You can accept it, or change it, but you can’t ESCAPE it. It is a feeling that sits in your lap with you all day while you work. I can’t stand that feeling! So it was time to GET REAL. I had to change.
I went through the obvious panic of thinking I don’t have any talents or special skills, but the thing is, they have to be cultivated. I had to go back and think what activities in my life I enjoyed doing? What did I get excited about? I knew I had to reinvest in my education in order to qualify myself, but GEEZ! Aren’t I too young for a career change? Apparently not. I have been contracting for the federal government since I was 19 years old…I’m now 27.
Eventually, I realized that over the past few years I had also started to get this wild attraction to graphics, words, and media. I look at Real Simple magazine the way men look at Playboy. I loved the way they could take a simple photo with some text and light a fire under my ass to love and adore the product or thought they were showcasing. What do you even call that? What do those people do?
Shit. THEY DESIGN. I can do that. I can design. I’m not the best, or the worst, but I’ve got tons of potential, and I can make it happen!
Then came the overwhelming feeling of how do I get there? I loved being an American Studies major at UMBC, and it really developed my writing. Still, I was ill equipped for a career that asked you to make things out of words and images. After searching high and low, I found my program at the University of Baltimore. I am going to get my M.A. in publications design and I am [im]patiently awaiting the day I can walk away from this cubicle for good after investing in myself. Realistically, I have to stay at this job until I finish, or make some severe changes to my life that require me to give up things I am locked into (car payment, rent, etc.), but I am on my way.
I have read countless success stories from people who have been miserable, bored, or dejected, who went after what they wanted and got it after busting their ass for their own happiness. I’m willing to put in the work.
Have you arrived at your career destination? If not, Where are YOU going?