Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Of late I have been doing quite a bit of questioning of myself. What am I good at? What do I like to do? What do I want to do? And how would I do it?

Largely these are questions about my career and work. I have been working in human services work for more than 20 years now, and part of me feels very over it. And I feel more than a bit lost about what my next step will or could be.

Two women friends of mine have, in the past few years, completely re-invented themselves in terms of career and even work/life balance (I could go into my feelings about that term but will just use the shorthand for, well, short). These women have impressed and inspired me giving up careers that could only be described as “successful” by most markers, but for them were ultimately not all that satisfying. One has followed a life-long dream to study art – and done bloody well at it too. One has joined her husband in journalism and turned his consultancy into the ‘the family business’ and is doing very well at that as well. Other friends have continued to move up the ladder in their chosen careers or undertaken more study and Gaye shifted focus a few years ago away from service provision to a more influencing position and started up her own consultancy.

For a while now I have felt a bit bored by my work and rather stifled (which is more my boss than anything). I have realised that I can do all this without really engaging my brain. I applied for jobs and done well enough (eli lists and even got one). I considered going out on my own and I thought about joining Gaye’s business.

But none of those things really appeal to me.

Late last year a wiser and more experienced person suggested I write in a journal everyday about what I like to do, what I am good at and how I would like to change the world and see what fell out of it. (I like to write and run workshops on things, I am a good planner and I enjoy that and I am organised and I would like the world to be more socially and environmentally just- hmmm helpful)

My friend who is now an artist suggested I think back to the things I loved when I was younger and make a list of those and see if that led me anywhere (history, cooking and photography FYI).

I am suddenly aware that I really like to do things that actually aren’t that much use when it comes to having a new career. It is not that I don’t have skills. I know I do. I have worked my way to a reasonably senior position. I am trustworthy and competent. I don’t mind implementing change, I write reports, evaluations and plans very well (so I am told). But what I like to do (and get to do) is read books, talk to people, potter around my home, bake and cook. What I like to do (and don't get to do enough of) is sing, play my piano, spend time with friends, go to the movies, make photo albums and garden. And although I don't want to do this sort of work anymore I know I need to do work that is about people and making the world better...

I think that part of the problem is that I never really looked past what I would do once I got to this point (actually a couple of points ago!) cause by then I planned (assumed I would be) to be a parent and a mother of like four kids. I thought that would be taking up my time and energy. But as it turns out my big boy is away at least two nights a week and my little boy has a fabulous and capable mother at home already.

So that leaves me with unthought of capacity to do other things I am just not sure what to do…and no idea of how to even find them…

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