Other Obsessions

Reading back over my recent journal entries, it seems like my life has been taken over by two main obsessions: my career and my engagement. Honestly, though — and you may not believe this — I do believe in living a balanced and well-rounded lifestyle. It’s just that, every now and then, one must "unbalance" things a bit to give more attention to those areas which have been lacking, or to give focus to new areas in life. In my case, I’ve been focusing on my career because I’ve never really focused on it enough before; and my relationship with Jennifer now occupies the top priority in my life (and probably always will — but I’ll say more about that another time; suffice to say, "No! I’m not being co-dependent!").

I do have other obsessions in my life. And I have plans and goals in other arenas. For example:

  • Writing. Even though I haven’t worked on it in nearly three months, I do have a novel in the works. So far I’ve written about 30,000 words, and I had originally planned to get it finished by the end of summer. That’s not a reasonable goal anymore, so I plan to have the first draft done by December. Trust me, it’s going to be a good one, too. I also have another novel in the "pre-planning" stages for when I’m done with the draft of this one, and several short stories that I’ve got in development as well.

  • Shakespeare. Yep, I’m a wannabe Bardophile. I have read most of Shakespeare’s plays and seen many of them on stage or on the screen. One of the "impossile dreams" in my life is to become a respected independent Shakespeare scholar; that may be a ways off, but I’m already planning out my first book on Shakespeare and modern culture…

  • Mythology. I studied mythology a bit as part of my "mini-minor" in college, but most of what I know on the subject I’ve come up with on my own. Mythology is an amazingly complex subject, weaving together elements of history, psychology, anthropology, archaeology, and more — not to mention comparative religions. At the moment, I’m most intrigued by the ways in which traditional mythological motifs and themes continue to pervade modern culture and folklore (UFO’s, for example, echo, in many ways, traditional fairy lore). I’m planning my first book on this subject as well.

  • Gaming. Something else I haven’t done nearly enough of lately. I’m not interested in computer games, but I love face-to-face role-playing gaming. I’ve tried on-line RPG’s, but they never really did much for me. For me, there’s nothing more fun than creating a world and a story for it, then guiding my players through it. Now, if I could only find the time… (No books planned on this subject, though.)

  • Movies. I can’t live without my VCR. I love watching old movies, particularly old science fiction and horror films; on days when I have nothing else to do I will gleefully rent two or three films from my local independent video rental shop, plug ’em in, and relax.

  • Adult Literacy. This is my cause, though I don’t have a lot of time to devote to it aside from tutoring individual students right now. I intend to get more deeply involved within the next couple of years, though. I have been doing some research in how computers can be used to assist in literacy education; however, there is a part of me that wonders if that particular line of thinking might be a dead end, since so many illiterate Americans don’t even have access to a computer. It is something I’ve been in touch with the literacy council about, though.

So, see? I’m not a pathetic "two-issue-loser", after all. *grin*

But back to the question of careers and jobs anyway.

Things are getting better at my job here at the University. It’s still certainly not what I want to be doing, but my supervisor, unit manager, and I all sat down and had a meeting last week where we discussed this. To my boss’s credit (and her boss’s credit as well), they both agreed that I am not a good match for the job I’m in, but I do do a decent enough job to keep around instead of firing; and they also agreed to support me in my job hunt in any way they can, including allowing time off to take classes that aren’t even related to what I do here. Then the unit manager and I had a separate meeting, where we discussed some strategies for moving me out of the department and into something more rewarding.

Yes, I’m well aware of how fortunate I am to be in this situation. 🙂

And neither is it a one-sided arrangement. For my own part, I did agree that I would maintain a positive demeanor and morale while on the job here. I spoke with a career counselor who gave me some tips on how to do that — for example, reminding myself that this job is just a temporary one, and that even while I’m here there are some important job skills that I can learn that will help me in whatever career I choose down the line: things like project management, organization, setting priorities, and so on. This has, in fact, helped tremendously, which is good.

I am still headed out soon, though. I have no doubt about that. I may be a year or two away from the dream job, but I feel like I’m tangibly on track at this point.

On an aside, I’ve created an on-line mailing list for career changers. More information is available here, if you’re interested.

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