Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Job Satisfaction Dream

I am pretty much jobless.

Okay, I teach Zumba for a few hours a week.
Yeah, I substitute teach whenever I get calls (which has been a whopping total of 2-3 days a month).
As the process of doing my taxes reflected recently: I'm not making much money.

However, I'm happier than I've been in a long time. This is okay. I'm not on the street. I just graduated from college. And according to Wikipedia, most Americans between the ages of 21 and 75 spend at least one year below the poverty line during their lifetime (realistically, I'm expecting more than one year!). My parents have graciously assisted me financially through college. So this semester, when my income has been...low, it's comforting to know, I've got money in savings and it's going to be okay.

At the same time, not working is wonderful and I think I'm getting a little too comfortable with the lifestyle associated with not having a job.
As if it's realistic.
As if I could survive.
As if I just turned seventy and am ready to coast into retirement.
As if I came from a wealthy family.
As if earning an income isn't a necessity.

I think for many years, "making an income" and "having a job" have always been associated with existing at a job I will surely dread. Kind of Negative Nancy, eh? Yeah, maybe it has something to do with just finishing my degree in English Education and knowing I'd be perfectly happy if I never teach a single day of English. Whoops.

I don't know what else I "should have" majored in. I wasn't perpetually longing for something else. I just finished this degree and frankly, could take it or leave it. I'm leaning toward leaving it. However, "leaving it" may not be an option for me because, well, growing up requires having a job and making money in order to survive, afford health insurance, and have a place to live. Darn.

So, there's a good chance I haven't found my nitch yet. Because I don't want to merely exist in a job I tolerate for eight hours a day, five days a week. I may need to "serve my time" in a few of those jobs. But I don't want to do that for the rest of my life. As there are plenty of things I enjoy doing, I just need to figure out how to get paid to do them.

So, I know that I enjoy:
-writing words
-writing music
-playing piano
-being outside
-making things with my hands
-working with people

So a few professions jump into my mind:
-writer/author (what's the difference?)
-chef/baker (particularly of the vegan/gluten-free variety)
-personal trainer (but a nice one...)
-yoga instuctor
-Zumba dancer extraordinaire (I just made that up...)
-organic gardener/farmer
-greeting card maker (?)
-jewelry maker (a recent venture, I'd best not invest too much into that one yet)

Yeah, basically my list of "dream" jobs is just about the least likely financially profitable list I've ever seen. Probably not any careers I could pick up right now and earn a living and afford insurance. Shucks.

But when I let myself dream extravagantly, here's what I really want:
to open a book store/coffee shop/bakery/community center
(similar to what some of you might recognize called Indigo Bridge)

I like reading. I like books. I like baked yummies. I like community.

We could create a wonderful space for people to come together.
We could hire and work side-by-side with people who catch the vision.
We could manage the business side of it (paperwork, taxes, finances, etc.). Or get some help.
We could bring in musicians and artists, speakers and writers to share.
We could hold dialogues and discussions about social justice and political issues.
We could have "Learn Something New" nights where we'd dance or have pottery lessons.
We could have a "Help" board for people to post projects they need help with. Then, we'd help them.
We could have a "Offerings" board for people to post ways they would be willing to "give back" in some way.
We could do many things.
But these things require money.
And time.

Until then, I'll find work somewhere.
Doing something.
Hopefully, something I enjoy.

Trust, child.
Until then.

(P.S. "Until then" might come faster if any of you have great suggestions for a career path I'm missing. Go ahead. Tell me what I should do.)


Jourdan said...

Heather! I feel the same way! My dream is to open a cafe/book store/outdoor yoga studio. I think about this, pretty much, every time I step on to campus. Haha, let me know if you find one of these magical places.

kessia reyne said...

This is one of my favorite TED talks ever and I share it with you as someone who has herself been making a lot of life-direction decisions lately. Maybe it'll give you something to think about in a helpful direction :) Good luck, Heather!