Friday, November 14, 2008


I went out with work friends last night to celebrate their success on something, and ended up getting home later than I intended. Terrific T. was less than enthusiastic. But it got me thinking, do other women go out with work friends without their spouses? I know that it happens a lot in my line of work, but is this how it is for other people? Let me know, because I'll be pondering this for days. I think most of Terrific T's friend's wives do not do this, and it annoys him that I do (particularly on the heels of the Big Project, when I was gone so much). On the other hand, Terrific T's friend's wives are mostly "retired," shall we say.

I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do next (other than become a parent). There are a lot of things that I could do; deciding what I want to do is an entirely different story. I can't be bored. I need to love my job. I need it to be something I can be passionate about. The difficulty is that I am totally that Type A personality that gets utterly consumed by whatever I am passionate about, and that can be very damaging to my relationships. Terrific T. has been patient enough over the next year. He'd like me to find a job where I work a lot less.

I don't know how to make a decision. I know what my skills are; I know what I'm good at; I know what I'm interested in. Those things are not leading me to any readily identifiable options. Should I leave my field entirely? Should I do something slightly different? I'm thinking about doing some grant-writing and coming up with my own nonprofit. It would be a ton of work and absolutely no money, but I like the idea of creating something. I like the idea of being in charge, and of not answering to many people other than myself. I could make my own hours. I don't know why I'm so optimistic about being able to secure funds in this crappy economy, but I feel pretty positive about my ability to make it happen. But, I'm not entirely sure that is what I want, either.

I just don't know. The list of things that I am sure I don't want to do is much longer than the list of things that I think I might want to do. But even that is subject to change, since I am so very fickle. And frankly, I still love my job. Even knowing how much is has cost me, even knowing how much complete and utter horridness has transpired of late, even knowing how truly awful I have been treated by some, I still value the work that I do, and I still love the job. Not necessarily some of the people or the institution, but the job. How do you leave something that you love? How do you walk away from something knowing that you may never love anything else as much? I look at my friends who have left, and none of them seem to love what they are doing now as much as they loved doing what I do. I don't want to look back on my life decades from now and think that my best job happened in my 30's. Ideally, I'd like this job to be a springboard into another job that I also treasure. Ugh. It's so hard. I talked to one of my work friends last night about leaving, and he was like, "stay for one more project." He thinks I'm good at my job, and doesn't want to see me go. It only makes it that much harder. I know I'm good at it. I really am good at it. If only it didn't cost so much.


Anonymous said...

I really wish I had some brilliant advice to give you... But I've known you longer than most of your readers and I know how hard this job has been on you. I feel like you could leave your company, go into a slightly different field of the same profession, and you would be safe from the soul vacuum. I think it's not so much the job that kills you as it is the heaviness of what you do. It's not the paperwork or the actual "doing" as much as it is the knowledge that it will change so many lives. So... maybe something a little bit lighter?

Io said...

I think that maybe you can find another job that you love that give you that sense of satisfaction that isn't as consuming?
As for going out with work friends, yeah, I absolutely do that. And I'm usually the only female. Al joins sometimes, but not always.

JamieD said...

I have a very close-knit group of friends at work so it is pretty common for us to go out together. Hubby doesn't mind but it could be because he knows them all very well also and often hangs out with us.

You say you love your job (and I believe you) but something says to me you are ready to try something a little different. I think your Type A would like a new challenge. It is hard to be so passionate about your job and still have room for relationships. It's tough - be careful.

~Jess said...

I have no relationship with any of my coworkers outside of work: So I never go out with coworkers, and we live in a very rural area, so none of my friends live nearby either.

I too wish I had some great advice about your job. It's hard to make these decisions, especially when there are so many unknown variables.

I think doing something different could be a good, especially if it was something that left more time for your hubby...sound like he misses you :-)