And it’s been pretty great.
No, really. That’s not sarcasm. I’ve been jobless for about two weeks now and it’s been a self-reflective journey. Let me give some context.
I, like tons of other people, have been working since I was about 18. I worked while I earned my Bachelor’s degree, but was lucky enough to only have to work a part time job. The longest I’ve been out of a job has been this two week period. I’ve held around seven different types of jobs in the past five years. My first job was working retail at a pet store and my last, very brief, job was as a personal banker at a bank call center. I was also a Certified Nursing Assistant for a year. My point is, career wise, I’m very undecided.
When I first went to college, I was dead set on achieving my dream of becoming a Surgeon. I had taken all of the AP courses I could on science and the human body (not mathematics though, because I’m pretty horrible at that subject) in high school and was 100% certain that entering the medical field was something I wanted to do. Then I failed chemistry. I tried sticking it out a little while longer, until I got a D in Anatomy and Physiology II. At my college, if you got anything lower than a C in your “core” classes for your major, you had to retake the courses. I could retake Chemistry, but retaking two 3,000 dollar classes? I didn’t think so.
So, I switched it up. I looked into different majors and decided that if I couldn’t hack it as a surgeon, why not a nurse? My mother is a nurse. My grandmother was a nurse all of her life until she retired. Being a nurse would suffice. I applied to change my major to Nursing and was successful. I talked to my mother and she recommended that I get my CNA license and start working with nurses in a hospital environment. We gathered up the 600 dollars for the course and I earned my licensed. I worked about a year as a CNA in the same hospital my mother worked in (we even worked together one night!) and I discovered that the medical field wasn’t for me.
I like helping people. I like taking my time making sure that I do things right. I’m a listener by nature and genuinely want to make people feel better. I was a good aide. Not the best because I was fresh, but pretty good. I couldn’t stand the politics. Some nurses were horrible to CNAs. They felt that the ‘grunt’ work of cleaning up incontinent patients was below them. I will never forget cleaning up a patient with my fellow aide and the nurse popping her head in the room and saying, “Oh. I was wondering when you guys were going to do that.” She knew that this poor woman was sitting in her own filth and did nothing about it.
I knew that the medical field wasn’t the path for me, even though I still find it fascinating and love learning about it. I finished up my last semester in the Nursing major and had to start from square one. What else did I like? What else was I sort of talented at? What was another career I could see myself doing?
After talking again with my parents, my dad suggested being a writer. Wha? What parent in their right mind would suggest going into the English major? The notorious major where everyone assumes you’ll become a teacher. The major that’s only slightly more respected than an art major. I mulled over it and realized how much I missed being creative.
I started drawing in elementary school and only stopped my last year of high school. I had a drawing tablet and expensive markers. I still have sketchbooks and folders full of things I drew and damn it, I was pretty good. I was also a writer. In second grade I was very ambitious and wrote a seven page short story. It was at least 5 pages longer than anyone else in the class. I continued writing stories and I would draw scenes from my ideas. I got into role playing with friends and people in online communities and it was awesome.
It was that final year of high school that I had to make a choice between my two passions; being a creative and pursuing science and medicine. We know which once I chose and now we know which one I fell back into.
Switching to an English major was the best decision of my life. I was expressing myself again. The depression got better. I found a caring community that wanted to lift other writers up instead of tearing them down. I became an editor of the college’s creative writing magazine and even got two of my pieces published. The writing work I produced was good and I even got a few recommendations from my professors. I still talk to those professors today, asking them for advice.
But then I graduated. The job market where I live are warehouses and retail stores, two fields that I abhor. I worked at a different pet store retailer, but 7.50 wasn’t cutting it for my bills. The call center job was the most I’ve ever made a job, at 16 dollars per hour, but I couldn’t hack it. My anxiety was in full swing and I stopped being able to sleep because I was so nervous. No job is ever worth your mental health. I quit after about two months.
Here I am now. Still jobless, but have been applying because I need some type of income. I’ve made another big decision during my time off, though.
I’m tired of working for others. I want to work for myself. I want to be at home and write and draw and create. I want to sell my work and no job is ever going to give me that freedom. Yes, I can apply to be a content writer or copywriter. I’d love to be an editor or a publisher. There aren’t exactly many jobs in my area that would give me those skills, so I have to do it myself, yeah? I’ve started a blog that I’ve planned out content two months ahead of time. I’ll be starting a podcast soon. I’m taking this time to get back into drawing and refine my skills so that I can hopefully get commissions and even start an animation channel. I want to work on my novel idea and publish that, eventually.
I don’t like this whole notion that people should be unhappy with their career. “Well if it was fun, it wouldn’t be called work!” No. That mindset is total bullshit and I won’t stand for it. Yes, a career should challenge you so that you can grow. No, not everyday is going to be wonderful and full of rainbows. But no one should hate driving to work. No one should be upset after every shift. I think that everybody should do what they love, and what I love is being creative.