I started a new job recently. It’s a part-time gig, working 10 hours a week for a local laywer. I’m supposed to be doing marketing work for her, but there’s an administrative aspect to the position, too. It’s my first non-freelance job in about 8 years. It’s my first job – in that same time period – doing something that is dictated to me by someone else.
The job is, in my mind, temporary. It’s supposed to help partially alleviate some of my financial concerns (and guilt about not working), while affording me precious time to re-write my book and pursue other artistic endeavors.
I’m aware of other goals, too, for this job, some of which seem wholly at odds with what I really want to do: write my book, get it published, promote it, continue to offer writing and creativity workshops to area senior citizens, and participate in writing groups myself. I also want to take some art classes. I’ve shown some of my past work in two area shows and it was a great experience.
My heart yearns for all of these things.
So why am I in the so-called “professional” workforce jumping through hoops to please someone else? I really don’t care about her dream.
I want to nurture my own.
But I’m finding that I literally don’t have (or am not making) time to write. My own artistic undertakings seem like add-ons to my regular life with family, kids, a household to run, and this new job. Collectively, everything is pushing me over the edge into exhaustion.
But I want to get back to the job.
The past two months in this new position have been an experiment, I suppose. It’s been an exercise in observation and adjustments. I am seeing a lot about myself, about how I act in relationship to an authoritarian manager, and how I am adjusting the home workload. I suppose I am still transitioning into the newness of my life as it is right now, and into this professional role.
So there’s value in that.
My stress levels have been high, but I suppose that’s internally created. Meaning, my stress (or fear) is generated based on how I orient myself to my job and manager, and to my regular and perceived “familial duties.” I can keep exploring all that, and I plan to do so, unless this job goes away.
I sometimes fantasize that I’ll get fired. I’ve made some dumb little administrative mistakes lately that leave me feeling really bad about myself. The message I hear internally is, “What, are you stupid?” And I know exactly where that comes from: my mother. Every other word out of her mouth when I was young was something along the lines of not being stupid. I think she herself heard this a lot when she was a kid.
Or I’ll hope that my manager will decide that she needs someone else – like a paralegal or a person with a law degree – to assist her with her practice.
Someone who is not me.
At the same time, I dread losing or leaving this job, although I know it is not forever. I am grateful for the money that flows into my life from it. I feel good when I complete her assigned tasks. Still, I pray when it ends, that it ends on a good note. But really I am beginning to resist and resent it, and to fear interacting with her because of everything the job is revealing to me about me.
There’s only so much a person can take.
Perhaps – maybe – if I resume my practice of prioritizing an hour of creative playtime everyday, before I start my job duties or do anything for anyone else, that will help me. Doing so grounds me in my life and my dreams. It gives me hope and joy that I am directing my energies towards me, rather than towards this lady and her dinky administrative tasks, or to driving my kids all over creation.
I need to write and blog and reflect and hope and dream and pray for my own life.
I think that’s why this job – and my life – are causing me stress. Because I am unduly focusing on them, rather than on me and my dreams.
Going into the new year I hope do write a blog post a day. I thought of doing this last year, but decided it wasn’t what I needed at the time. But it appeals at this point, in this now moment, so I plan to do it.
I will re-commit to me in the hopes of re-balancing my life.
To me, me, me, me, me. I know that my default is to care for and prioritize others first. It is my habit from childhood. Yet circling back and re-centering to myself feels good, and like an affirmation I need at this point: It’s good for me to come home to myself and do the things I value. This is good for me!