Monday, October 12, 2015

How Do You Decide What You Want To Do With Your Life - Part 1

I started this blog when I was at a crossroads in my life. I had time at irregular hours, energy in unpredictable amounts and I needed money. I figured blogging was worth a go, so I launched the 'Post. I made a grand total of $100 from Google Ad Words, but the bug bit me and here I am, many years later, still writing.

Two of our four kids have now moved out. A third, away at college, will graduate soon and leave soon after that. The fourth is working at two jobs, is rarely home and can't wait to move out herself. In case you're wondering, it's all healthy and positive. We have great relationships with all the kids and we think each one is a success in their own way.

However, that leaves me at a new decision point. What do I do with my time, money, space and assorted freed-up resources? The question hit me while I was at Adobe MAX, admiring the artists around me. I'm not an artist, I'm more of a jack-of-all-trades. If learning some small amount of artistic skills was required for something I needed to do, I'd go and learn it, but it's not a bug that's bit me the way it has some of them.

I've had friends who loved learning for its own sake, but to me, that's a huge drag. I've got an advanced degree, but I hated school. I loved the softball, parties and girls, but I ditched class every time I possibly could. I remember walking late into a classroom after having missed a couple in a row to find that they were taking a quiz. Oh well. I sat down and took the quiz. I can't recall how I did on that one, but I must have done well enough because I passed the class and that's all that mattered to me.

Personal conclusion #1 - Whatever it is I do, I need to do something concrete. I don't mind learning, but it's got to have a purpose and a result at the end.

How about you? How did you decided what you wanted to do? Did it just happen to you?


Anonymous said...

I'm 55. Everything I think it happens -- i find a job, love what i do, love the people i work with, get the extra training, and then i have to move one to a different job. And then, I can't find a job. Or I find a crappy job. (What I am now.)

I was born too early -- I love sitting at the computer. When I was an undergrad, there was no Adobe Illustrator, AutoCAD only kind of existed and then only got industry who could afford it. I hated drafting by hand, DESPISED it. I was not bad at graphic design, but not patient enough. Graphing calculators came out when i took trig, but we were forbidden from using them; i got a D. The next yard, they were REQUIRED.

The Computer stuff got easier and cheaper and easier and cheaper. I love it, but sometimes, I wish I could start over at 18 and go back to college. I think I'd study electrical engineering.

Right now, I am applying to a grad program in construction management. That's what I was doing before this crappy job. I'm hoping I might be able to do it again before I'm forced to retire.

A depressed person who reads you regularly

Anonymous said...

I did the above on my phone. And did not proofread it much at all. It's a challenge to do much proofreading on the phone.

tim eisele said...

My life has been sort of semi-planned. I always liked the idea of extracting metals from mud, and also always was fond of insects. And when it became clear around age 12 that it is hard to make a living as an entomologist, I went for the metals for a career, and the bugs as a hobby. I can't say I was always shooting specifically for being a chemical engineering professor with a metallurgical background, and my exact current position is at least as much due to chance as to any plans of mine, but it was certainly within the target circle. And now, between helping industrial people with their nagging engineering problems, and teaching students about how to solve such problems, I'd say things are working out pretty satisfactorily. And there are always the bugs to hunt with my family in my free time.

K T Cat said...

Anon, I'm so sorry you're down right now. I'll pray for you. I just saw a presentation at Adobe MAX you might like - The Myth of the Dream Job. The title might sound depressing, but the talk was actually very constructive and had a lot of good tips. You can watch it here, just click to page four of these presentations and you'll find it.

K T Cat said...

Tim, I've had very similar experiences in my career. Having said that, I'm old enough now to know that I can shape my future in ways I'd never considered before. The exercise I'm faced with is deciding how to do it.

Anonymous said...

I learned a long time ago that there really isn't a "dream job" as such. I wish I'd just gone out and gotten a job fresh out of high school. Actually, I wish I'd done what my nephew did -- he completely worked his way through college. It took him longer, almost eight years (got a degree in engineering) but by the time he graduated he had a hell of a resume. And no debt. And a much better idea of what he wanted to do.

I do feel that I should enjoy my job. We spend about 25% of our week working. The only thing we spend more time on is sleeping. And overall, I've had jobs I've enjoyed a lot! The problem happens after I have worked at the job for awhile and I have to leave. One job was because of the economy -- they downsized and downsized and downsized until I was Rif'ed. Can't blame them. But I couldn't find another job forever. Finally started working for a demoralizing jackass. I left after a year. It s so awful. I got another great job eventually, worked a fantastic boss. But then I got married and my mom got sick so instead of my new husband moving to my side of the continent, I moved to his. Took me eight months to find a job I've grown to hate with every fiber of my being.

I'll check out the link. Thanks for the kind words.