When I accepted my current position, I did so warily. My anxiousness came from the fact that I knew my unhappiness at my previous job and I knew how similar the two positions were. But still, there were some differences, most glaring of which is the size of my place of work. I work at a much smaller company than I did previously. I was excited to see what that was like. At both my previous job and my internships I was working for huge corporations. I interned at Boeing which employs over 160,000 people, then worked at Chrysler (now known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) which employed almost 80,000 people (these are all numbers from Wikipedia. I’m not sure what exactly they account for, but they kind of work for the point I’m trying to make…). Daimler Trucks North American employs around 20,000 people, which is still A LOT, but it’s way less than the other places I’ve worked.
Unfortunately, the size of the company doesn’t seem to have solved all my issues. I still wake up a few times a week not wanting to get out of bed, not having any passion to drive me to go to work and get things done. I snooze my alarm. I walk my dog. I feel guilty on the days I have to kennel him up. I come to work. I ruminate. I do work, don’t think that I don’t. I definitely know that a lot of my frustration comes when I’m given a task I’m not sure how to complete. I’ll admit it. I’ve never done well with intellectual struggle. Especially not if it’s something I’ve always kind of excelled at, like engineering work. But even on days when I know how to do every single task that I’m given, I count down the minutes til my 8 hours are up, and I can go home, and walk my dog, and work out, and maybe see the boy, and read, and watch tv, and be happy. I don’t want to be that person. I hate being that person. Who wouldn’t hate putting off happiness for 8 hours a day (plus lunch), 5 days a week.
I’ve been weirdly lucky to know a handful of people that absolutely love their jobs. I know that even they dread going to work some days. I know that they don’t love every single task that they are given. I’m not some insane person looking for a unicorn. But for them, those days, those tasks, those are the outliers. The passion and the excitement and the happiness to go to work, that is the norm. That is what I want.
So I’m not giving up. For me it is of the utmost important to be happy. But, having grown up in this world with very responsible parents and role models, I know that there are certain things that I do need money for, like food and shelter. So no, it’s not that I want to somehow miraculously be able to afford things without working. I just want to be ask excited about the work I do as I am about my hobbies. In my search for this perfect careers, I have found some tools that I would like to recommend, on the off chance that one of you, dear readers, is also facing this struggle.
The latest tool I have come upon is over at Live Your Legend. I happened upon Scott through TED Talks. I personally love TED Talks. As much as I love reading, sometimes it’s nice to change it up and I find that they cover a wide range of topics and find experts in those areas. Live Your Legend was the result of Scott’s going through the very same struggle that I am (and many of you might be) facing. I’m slowly working my way through their material, but yesterday, a question came up on one of their surveys that asked “What do your friends tell you you’d be good at, that you should do for a living?” I had no idea, so I actually asked a few of them. Of course this was after the usual “is this annoying and self-centered of me to ask?” Whatever. I was actually really curious about their thoughts. These are people that know me in all sorts of different ways, in different contexts and settings, from different times.
Interestingly, very few responded with actual jobs. Even those that did usually sent me a list of some my qualities that they thought were relevant first.
My good friend from my engineering classes said “…you always tell it like it is. You cut through the BS, not cynically (at least in this respect lol), but honestly.” He said he kind of associated that with high level corporate management but smartly said he didn’t see me selling out for that. Smart man. Anyway. Next responder was one of my best friends from high school. This girl has known me longest outside my family pretty much. She said “I think you’re good at organizing yourself and keeping yourself on track…you are a good listener and good at giving advice, and good at relating to others.” She also threw in that I might make a good life coach or social worker. One of the sorority sisters I’m still close to got back to me next. Her list was my favorite! “You’re great at listening and giving advice. You’re really organized and creative and good with putting cohesive thoughts together. You can be goal oriented and are driven to get things done. You’re very determined. You’re good at being a leader and commanding respect without trying. You’re persistent.” She couldn’t think of a specific job that entails all that, which I was totally ok with. I can’t think of one either! Finally, one of my best friends from college said “…you’re someone who deliberately does things that make you happy…you’re determined. Very goal-oriented.”
First of all, I have awesome friends and I know it and I hope they all know that I feel lucky to still have all of them in my life. Second of all, damn I’m awesome! Haha, just kidding. I can’t say this activity shined a light on my next step. I don’t know what exactly I’m going to do, though there are many things I am considering. Next week I’ll be meeting with a career coach, which I’m super excited about. She was recommended to me by another woman who used to work in marketing and found herself much in the same place I find myself now. Now she’s an author and I believe she has a radio show to boot! All I know is that I’m going to pursue this. I refuse to let what happened to me before, happen again. I will find the perfect job for me. And in the meantime, I’ll be here drafting parts, adjusting drawings, and focusing all too much on components of semis and not enough on people.
Until next time!
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