I don’t know what to write about. A few months ago the ideas were speeding through my mind. I could not keep up. I had numerous drafts going on at once. Now that has quieted. The need to write, to express myself, has not. I am unsure whether the problem has to do with having written about most of the crap in my brain already. Maybe it is due to writer’s block. My creative juices are not flowing enough. I think the biggest reason for the lack of negative posts examining my thoughts, is the fact my depression has lifted hugely in the last couple of months. There is a pallpible change in me. The external pressures in my life are more stressful than they have been for a long time, but I am handling them accordingly. For the most part anyway.
I’m sitting in a coffee shop near my old regular A.A. meeting location. I am not here for a meeting. I was in the area. The area is one of the richer neighborhoods in Chicago. The main street the coffee shop is on has lots of boutiques, quaint knick knack stores, and fancy coffee shops like the one I’m in right now. The staff look happy. They are not beaming, but they are communicating with each other in a friendly manner. One is at the register taking orders. No fancy electronic system here to transmit order. He shouts the order to the others. The next in line is the barista. She is at the espresso machine. I don’t know what the other two there are doing. They are behind the counter and appear busy. They are intermittently joking around with each other.
What makes someone like their job? Their career? Is it mostly a passion for the work itself? The people they work with? A feeling of being part of something bigger? More important than themselves? Maybe it is all of those things and more. The reason this question popped into my head was watching the coffee shop’s crew. I loved my bartender and server jobs more than any other. Running around, constantly physical. Seeing customers at their best, and sometimes worst. You have to take the good with the bad. When I discovered I could hold five or six people’s orders, each with several drinks, in my head, I got a huge buzz out of it. Watching the customers’ faces turn to awe when I gave them their completed round while still working on several others, made my heart swell. Always. I only dreaded going in about two or three times in the whole four year period I worked in that field. With my office jobs it has been common for me to dread going in. Most of the time. That’s no way to live life. I cannot Bartend or Serve anymore. My knees won’t tolerate it. My alcoholism won’t. So what’s next?
I have looked at several jobs online, in I.T, my former field. I was let go 18 months ago. I did not know for months afterwards. The jobs I’ve looked at are for someone with ten years experience, expect ten years of knowledge. That’s not something I possess. I was reasonable competant, no, I was good at my job when I started in an Insurance company as a Jnr. Developer. I enjoyed the work for the most part. After three years there I moved to a financial company within a business school within a large prestigious university within Chicago. From very early on I could tell I didn’t like the work. I enjoyed my colleagues company. I felt I could learn a lot in the position. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point the goal of learning and expanding my career took a back seat to the lack of enjoyment. I stopped learning. I became disillusioned with my career and my job. I still had enough work that wasn’t awful to keep me going, but my learning stalled. This turned out to be cyclical. Each feeding the other. The job was rock-solid. Working for a university meant having great benefits, which got me through the awful year last year, 37.5 hours per week, and decent pay. I became comfortable, but was not happy, was not learning. Towards the end of that position, maybe for a year I was given responsibilities more to do with project management. I’ve always enjoyed people’s company, and working with people. This was such a relief. I figured I would learn on the job, and hopefully shift paths within Project Management or Business Analysis. This would be much easier in a company where I was already respected. Making this shift with no training, no official experience, and nothing to offer in an interview except to say “No really. I’m good at this shit,” is unlikly to get me anywhere. So if I go for a development position can I explain that I’m more at the level of someone with 3-4 years experience. What will that to my salary? I will be miserable in a developer roll anyway. I thought about sales and marketing. Lots of face to face time. It would involve just under a 50% pay cut. How about B.A. or P.M? Once again I’d be starting at the bottom, meaning a huge pay cut. It would also be very difficult to find a junior position. Those are careers that usually need either in-house training (formal or on-job), or school training. My Health Insurance (crucial for everyone, but life-preserving for me) ends at the end of December. I need a job with great benefits by then. My disability check of $4,400 each month will be gone too. Things are already extremely tight. I need a job ASAP. When I think about it anxiety and fear skyrocket.
Overall, my anxiety, my depression have plumetted. Will they creep back up with the pressure of finding and keeping a job? I hope I am able to keep it until control. The current combination of my psychiatric drugs seem to be working. I’ve been on them a while. That and therapy together seem to be working. At one point I thought things would never be under control. My psychiatrist confided in me recently that at one point he thought I wouldn’t make it. I suppose I felt the same, even wanted that, but I had lost sight of how seriously ill I was. A few weeks ago when I started feeling better I didn’t like it. I had felt severely depressed for so long, it was hard to process ‘normal’ feelings. Now three or four weeks later I am more comfortable. Still not completely, but day by day becoming more stable. I am going through some extremely stressful things in my life. Several months I think it would have thrown me off, into drink, O/Ds, maybe cutting. Not now. I’m just plodding along getting things done.
Looking back over this article, I realize the biggest chunk was about work, a job, my career. It is the one thing I need to concentrate on. I have four months to get a job. A little under four. I need to be in the job by December 29 this year. My last day of work was December 29 2016. So I need to receive a job offer a couple of weeks before that date so I can start by that date. No pressure Ingrid, no pressure. I suppose I have to go back to I.T. and convince someone that I know enough to have a senior role. I think it will be impossible, but I guess that defeatist attitude won’t help. Positive thinking and all that. They’ll know I’m a fraud pretty quickly if I get past the hiring process. The longer I wait to change careers, the harder it will be. I’ll never be able to get another shot like this. There is a psychiatrist in Northwestern. He’s an asshole. Everyone hates him. I had him once when I was inpatient. He did say one thing that stuck with me. Paraphrasing… “You’re forty. I have sixty year old patients who wish they were forty so they could change parts of their lives. You have 20 years on them. Use it to make your life more like the life you want.” You have to admit it’s a striking idea. No. Not an idea. It’s so obvious but if you haven’t thought about it that way before, it seems revolutionary. I need to do what makes me feel fulfilled. That is not being a software developer. So can I figure out what career move to make, and make it within four short months? I am clueless. I will try. My sanity depends on it. Life is too short to do something you hate.