Tuesday, June 13, 2017

On Ambition and Adulting

I've lamented to friends that since stepping down from the chief position, I feel like my ambition switch has been turned off. I'm typically ambitious to a fault. Reviews and references often talk about how I take on a lot of things. Obviously I know that about myself too. The thing is, I'm like a starving person at a buffet when it comes to experiences and opportunities. My life has never been well-planned and most of my major choices tend to follow the phrase, "Fuck it. Why not?"

It seems though, that lately my first response has been, "Fuck it. Why bother?" I am busy at work, and there are components that I enjoy, but for the most part I'm bored. I've conquered my particular mountain, crested the next one, and now I am kind of over the whole range. I can't imagine doing the same thing for the next 20 years, but I also had no inkling of what I'd rather be doing. That's a weird place for me to be because it's so different from where I usually hang out, but I also thought maybe this is part of adulting.

So at the same time that I was settling into stability, other things happened. This weekend at church, the sermon was all about thinking big. Don't ask God for a job, ask God for the perfect job. That started me thinking on what I might want to do if there were no limits. Then Monday, I found out that a job I had drug my feet on and missed the deadline for was re-opened. And then today I had a chance to have a pretty in-depth conversation with a friend about goals and opportunities. What I realized is that, yes, we do trip along in life and fall into opportunities. That's how C and I do adulting. However, I had stopped opening myself up to opportunities that may trip me into something awesome. I wasn't keeping an open mind or thinking creatively, and I certainly haven't been dreaming big. 

I'm feeling a bit more excited again. I still have no idea what I want to do, but I did apply for the job. I've also decided that I'm going to start setting aside time to dream, so that I start to get a better idea of what sounds like it might be awesome. I'm trying to commit to writing more, because I love it and my writing obviously suffers when I'm inconsistent. I'm also keeping an open mind. I'm going to network and train in whatever grabs my interest because I'm lucky enough to have a stable, consistent job that allows me to attend trainings on trauma-based yoga or mindful doodling.

I'm really interested in other people's experiences with this. The typical tenure for my demographic is less than five years, and less than eight in state service. I'm at four in my current position, and while I love a lot of it, I am at least 25 years from retirement. So my question for you is, as adults, how do you explore other career opportunities when you've exceeded the typical "entry level"? And have you ever changed gears professionally? If so, how did you do it?

Because every blog needs a picture


  1. I got nothing. I spend my free moments browsing the course catalog at the community college. Solidarity!

  2. I am figuring this out too. No advice. But I like Dream Big!