Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What Are We Doing? And Is It Really Worth It?

As I typed out the title of this blog post, I briefly thought about whether I was capitalizing the right words. You see, in my quest to break free from working for the man, I attempted a lifestyle blog (or two or three). The result was a second job that made NO MONEY.

I didn't want a second job. I wanted to share things to help people "like me". Instead, I ended up wondering what people (in general) wanted to read, what topics would get the most traffic, comparing myself to other bloggers and even researching AP style writing, all in an unintentional effort to make money.

For those of you that don't know AP Style is Associated Press Style (aka the writing style you see in newspapers and for those of you that have never touched a newspaper, it's the same writing style you'll see on websites like CNN, Fox News, etc.). What is that really worth in today's fast-paced society? Does anyone even really read anything anymore (like this) or do they just skim? 

Staying true to myself meant only occasional money from sponsored posts and product reviews. What I'd rather have is some passive income from relevant ads on my site and a ton of visitors who just found my content valuable. Unfortunately, I found myself in an OCEAN of bloggers just like me, but many of them better (whether it was due to the amount of time they could dedicate or just their natural ability to speak to people in written word or maybe even their own self-confidence).

While all that was going down, I was straying further and further from "me" at my day job. Over a period of 8 years I tried to adapt to my work conditions. Every now and then, I wanted to escape, thinking this isn't me. At the same time, I realize I'm not a perfect person. Who is? All I can do is keeping trying to adapt. Something didn't feel right, though.

Over the years I rode a roller coaster of excitement (wanting to contribute more than just my "assigned duties" to make things better), feeling lost (secluding myself), being stressed out at change (because sometimes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" really works), being carefree (using the old school chain of command which only resulted in my ideas being credited to someone else), then feeling like I wasn't being utilized for my full potential.

That's where I am now. In my quest to find a better spot at my day job, which I don't simply view as a job, I'm wavering between three four conclusions.

  1. I can be like Abby in the movie Ira and Abby (42:54) and just have a job that I like and make enough money to live.
  2. I can wait until my employer is "ready" to utilize my skills.
  3. I can find a new job that uses my current skills, while investing time and a reasonable amount of money in certificate programs that support those skills.
  4. I can completely change direction by investing a ton of time and money in a "degree".
To help me figure out which option will be the best, I'm reaching out to former colleagues and industry associates. I'm not contacting them for jobs, but rather for advice, mentorship and simply to connect with like minds.

It's funny that you spend so much time with these folks (colleagues), but when you leave a job they're out of sight, out of mind. I had a great lunch meeting with a former colleague today. I now have more of a sense of direction. Granted it's only been 4-ish hours, I truly believe you can learn a lot about your future from reaching out to people from your past.

Folks that you can sit down with at Starbucks after YEARS and chat about each other's journeys candidly, in a casual setting and just be yourself without worrying about offending someone....those are the kind of people you want to reach out to. People you can be yourself around, people who appreciate and respect a difference of opinion and maybe like a little debate or welcome constructive criticism.

To be honest, I'm not really sure where I'm going with this post or how to end it. If you're like me and you're thinking about job satisfaction, maybe my thoughts will help you. 

Ah, I see. Why am I posting this? Is it really worth it?

Can anyone see this? Can you identify with me? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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