One of the reasons why I absolutely LOVE Pinterest (follow me at the link!) is that it is fertile ground for the proliferation of the most beautiful art you can imagine– including wanderlust-inducing travel photographs, surreal watercolors, and cool infographics, like this one:
[Graphic designed by Sarah Tolzmann for Note to Self]
The whole chart is a lovely reminder that we get to create our lives with our own behaviors.
But what stuck out the most to me was Ms. Roth Eisenberg’s note to quit complaining!
Recently, I’ve found myself complaining…a LOT…about my job. I’ve been here for over four years. About a year ago, my department was stripped of a duty that had been a major component of our function here. Suddenly, we were left with one major task: to conduct conferences with clients who have been found ineligible for the services provided by the agency. Of all the tasks we were given before, this was the one I liked least. When I found out about the change, I told my supervisor at the time, with whom I have a fairly close relationship, that I did not know how long I would last doing *only* conferences. He laughed it off.
It’s fair to say, however, that I’ve pretty much reached my breaking point. In the last month, I’ve been cursed at by two different clients. I left work early because of one such incident. I’ve cried at my desk. I don’t like to use the word “hate,” but at this point, I pretty much hate my function at this job. I won’t say I hate the job, because I am grateful for the salary it pays. It allows me to travel the world at least twice a year and take Spanish classes and purchase cute tchotchkes for my “house,” and even pay for this yoga teacher training I’m currently taking. But every day I wake up and I want to cry because I just do NOT want to go into the office and face more clients. I just don’t.
I’ve been complaining about the j-o-b to anyone who would listen for a while now. And after reading this, it’s clear that I have to make a choice. Aside from the completion of my yoga teacher training, I need to do two things:
- apply to MFA programs already!
- look for a new job.
At first I was thinking of not applying to MFA programs this year, but then I realized that it is only fear holding me back– which of course brings me to Step #4: If an opportunity scares you, take it. So, to make it as simple as possible, I will only apply to three programs, all of them part of the CUNY system. Hunter College, Brooklyn College, and Queens College.
Looking for a new job is a bit tougher. I have a law degree, but I am not admitted to practice because I have not yet passed the bar (I’ll share more on that later). The job I have now is a legal one. I perform the same tasks as the attorneys here because I was previously in an entry-level attorney title, which expired after two years; because I work for the government, they just gave me another civil service title, but I’m still doing the same job. I’ve basically been “practicing” for the last four years and eight months. If I’d passed the bar in another state– like Connecticut, where the exam is supposedly easier than New York– then I likely could have waived into the NY bar by now. In any case, I don’t necessarily know what I’m good at, and I also don’t know what I’m qualified to do!
As I am wont to do, I headed off to the bookstore to do some research. I came away with Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath, and the classic What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles. Amazingly, I took my Strengths Finder online assessment yesterday and the results indicate that I should look for a job in the legal/compliance field, teaching, research, journalism, consulting, or literature.
So that’s my start. Who knows what will happen next? I just know I won’t be complaining about it.
Note: if the links in the infographic don’t work, you can find Dan Gilbert’s TED talk “The Surprising Science of Happiness” here and Paul Graham’s essay “Do What You Love” here.