My Life – Ramblings
December 29, 2009 11 Comments
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen my post this seemingly random statement:
i am afraid that my “dream job” may not be what i have always thought it would be – a bit scary to think about!5:14 PM Dec 24th from web
Since I haven’t been at work for a while and I’ve been single now for a while I’ve started to think about my life. When you strip away the job and any random relationship I may find myself in at that given point in time – I don’t feel like I’m left with much.
My good friends are all thousands of miles away. We still keep in touch, but it is so much harder when you can’t hang out with them regularly.
When I first moved to the midwest I was insistent that I didn’t turn down ANY social activity. It was a fun time, went to the movies with people, to bars, to dinner, to comedy clubs, to “girl’s night” parties, to a weekend trip to St. Louis. After about 6 months though things got complicated. People thought I was dating them because I was going out with them, friends I hung out with became co-workers and suddenly we didn’t want to work and play together. As I started removing myself from situations that had the potential to be toxic for me, I realized that I had no situations left.
It isn’t a secret that friendships are hard to make as you become older (link goes to Fabulously Broke’s post on the matter). There is less to force you to bond together. But it seems even more difficult for me because (as a scientist maybe?) I have a lot of social issues. I have a horrid time at small talk. I have two modes: completely silly and ridiculous OR let’s have a very serious, in depth conversation. Which is fine for the blogging/internet world (one post fun! the next post serious).
However, this seems to leave me with very few friends in real life. Because who wants to go from joking around and having “your mom” punch lines to talking about personal finance or politics or religion? There tends to be some sort of middle ground for most people – the land where random small talk and how is your day kind of conversations exist – and well, I am apparently functionally incapable of existing here. (I don’t even know what people would talk about here, lol, sports? pets? I don’t know!)
ANYWAY, my problems with making good friends aside, I DO have some. I have three that live in San Diego and one in Connecticut.
I was checking out jobs on Christmas Eve, because I always like to know what positions are available in my field, and I found a position in Connecticut. 12 miles from my good friend there Okturn DelMoniq.
The job isn’t at all what I thought I wanted, but at the same time, it was EXACTLY what I want.
It is an industry job (lots of money, prob starts at $80-100k). It is a research position (what I want). It requires me to be independent, but also work with a group of experts towards solving problems that I would define (and I already have 1 defined which will go over REALLY well in the interview). It would require me to still publish and go to conferences (SCORE!). It would involve me becoming intimate with other people’s research to know what they would need in the future (mental growth!). And it is a job where no two days would be the same. AND it is near one of my best friends in the entire world. Granted, he won’t be there forever. Also, it is 2 hours from New York, which means I’d get a lot of weekend explorations!
I had thought for the longest time that I wanted to be a professor. But the last year has completely shaken my confidence that it is something I want to do. It is a lot of responsibility for not a lot of pay to teach and do research. And I’m not convinced I will do well without some sort of research goal in front of me.
With this position I can get paid for a 9-5 job to do research AND still get to teach in the evenings at a community college or teach training courses for the instrument I would be working on. The best of both the research and teaching parts of being a professor.
Of course there are some downfalls. There isn’t an option of tenure, so my job could always be in danger. I’d need a larger E-fund. However, as long as I kept teaching I should be able to maintain decent skills to pay the bills if I did get fired/laid off.
Vacation time wouldn’t be as sweet. One of the nice things about being in academia is that you can take off a month and no one cares as long as things get done. I would be subject to 2-3 weeks vacation and no being able to take half days and the like. Which sucks. But you know what? If I love the job I don’t really care that much.
So I’m going to apply for the job. I don’t have as much as experience (2 years vs 5 years) as they’re asking for, but I have more than enough drive and ambition to learn to make up for it. I may not get the job, but that’s okay. And if I do – I could be leaving the midwest and my position there. And I’m VERY okay with that. I need to get two papers published here and get out the door. I’m not sure that I’ll be able to mentally last here without some sort of intervention.
All of these thoughts have also lead me to realize something that I thought I never would: I want a family.
I know, random transition from a career to a family.
But I realized I don’t want a job that consumes my life anymore. I want a job I enjoy and love, but isn’t my everything. There is no room for that mentality in the academic positions I would want – they want your soul. I want a husband some day. I want children. I want to come home to more than a dog and a couple of cats. I want to build a life and memories and experiences. There is more to life than my career – it just took me 29 years to figure that out.
I know these are all just random thoughts, but they’re pretty profound to me. What I thought I’ve always wanted – isn’t making me happy – because I don’t think I actually wanted it as much as I tried to convince myself that I did.