The world is a fucking complicated place, and the complexity should not limit our emotional depth. I’m on the brink of another job change, less than three months into my current position. About this time last year, I started having similar feelings about the job I held then, and decided to move on. I need clarity.
I spent a big chunk of 2019 as a stay at home dad, and I loved every moment of it. Getting to see Henry grow and develop was a joy, and I will treasure that experience forever. While sitting with Henry I had a lot of time to think about what my values were, and what I wanted to put energy into. One of the big takeaways was that while I liked the form factor of a 9-5 administrative assistant job with mundane tasks, it was more important to me to have impact in the lives of others again.
It took a while, but I found a position that fit on paper. I’d be taking persons with disabilities into the community each day, teaching them job skills to lead to sustainable employment, and all the while helping integrate them into the community with destigmatization of their challenges. I’ve got a great team around me, and I really enjoy spending time with the people I support. Let’s get into the minutia of what’s going on, and why I want to change.
The goal for billing is to have a six-hour chunk of time where we are performing activities that fulfill their valued outcomes related to work. Things like learning the expectations of the workplace, appropriate social interactions while working, and job skills like scheduling and completing tasks that were assigned. There are days where travel times and “work” only take up two and a half hours. Tack on an hour lunch, and we’ve still got a big chunk of time to fill. We mostly wind up at one of the two shittiest malls in the area to tangentially discuss job related topics (read: walk around the mall and window shop). Another typical day has over two hours of travel time each for pickups and drop-offs. Subtract an hour lunch, and we’re left with just an hour of volunteering in the day.
Both of those scenarios are equally disheartening to me. The time spent on the fluff around what I’m wanting to do saps my enthusiasm. Days that I drive six or seven hours are physically draining. I love to drive, but it’s just too much for me doing that three times a week. Those long drives have helped me focus on what I truly value about the field and narrow down what I want to be happy.
A person-centered approach where everyone is shown the respect and dignity of choice and afforded the right to risk is paramount. I think that failure is the largest impetus of growth, and everyone should be entitled to that. I want to spend my time fostering that atmosphere by providing people with the information and experiences necessary to make informed decisions.
I harken back to conversations I’d have with my best friend about emotional depth. They would suggest that the world is harshly black and white, with clear, correct answers to each issue. I would push back saying the world is filled with a lot of gray, and that you could have more than one feeling, emotion, or perception about something.
I think it’s okay to be disappointed in someone, but also accept that they can make mistakes and need a chance to move on and grow. I think it’s fair to enjoy what I’m doing, but also acknowledge that I am free to seek out an alternative to make me happier overall. I should strive for the same right to risk and failure that I’ve advocated for so fiercely.
I don’t want to wind up where I was last year, with a job that made me miserable because I felt some sort of demanding obligation to carry on. I don’t want to be a goddamned chauffeur for five hours and a job coach for 45 minutes. I don’t want to keep putting off my education in favor of short-term solutions for employment that sap my energy and drive. That much is certain.
I know there’s a stigma associated with people that change jobs frequently, but I don’t think it’s wrong to try to find the best fit possible for my own mental health and wellbeing.
Here’s hoping I don’t burn bridges with my cherished friends that graciously allowed me to use them as professional references along my pursuit.
Oh, and here’s hoping that I don’t have to walk through Aviation Mall for two fucking hours any time in the foreseeable future either.