Thirty Five: Direction(less)

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”  – Lao Tzu

When I quit my job to raise my babies, I struggled to find new terms to define myself. I had always put my everything into my work. It was so much of who I was. That was five years ago, and as I watch my youngest child grow closer to school age I wonder what the workplace holds for me in the future.

My first realization of being a stay-at-home-parent was that I was defined now by who I am and not by what I do. But who was I without this role I had for 8 hours+ a day? So I started to put energy into parenting. I could make it into a job by researching all the aspects of parenting I found interesting; it helped alleve the stress spurning from the physical and emotional demands of raising an infant. Everyone who deemed themselves worthy gave me a performance review, from snickering mothers at the community centers to parenting experts who knew the right way for me to feed, talk, or sleep with my baby. I saw that in order to succeed in this job I would need to be self-employed and answer to what felt right to my husband and I (with the advice of trusted professionals.) I believe that a big part of successful parenting is listening to oneself and building a better sense of self awareness; I know when I am yelling too much at my kids or allowing them to watch too much tv, just as much as I know how good it feels to snuggle up and read or play with them. If I am paying attention then hopefully I will be more responsive to the changes that need to happen for their benefit. That balance is different for every family.

I have tried to learn more about myself while I am at home with my kids. I have taken a number of non-credit classes to see if something piques my interest. I take out an obscene number of books from the library. I know that true happiness, to me, lies in following my own star. I think I am getting good at that, but where is this star leading me?

I am turning back to books. Lately, I’ve been thumbing through Ken Robinson’s “Finding Your Element”. I appreciate how this book is centered on building something greater than a job, rather a daily activity that we are passionate about and look forward to excelling at. I don’t think that this is my problem, honestly. I think that I can find a good match, but I have trouble asserting my worth in the work place. I’m happy when others want me around, but I have never ever negotiated a salary. That’s really kind of sad at my age. While I am not driven by financial gains, I see the value in being rewarded for the valuable services I can provide for an organization. So now the question is: how do I promote and assert myself in interviews?

I have time to figure this out before I start my job search in earnest, but I think I’m going to get a head start and start promoting the volunteer work that I’m doing. No time like today…

Are you passionate about your job? If not, what would be your ultimate job?



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