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Life Frustrations, Worry, and Work

Time seems to be just slipping by. Month after month and before long, it is coming up on the anniversary of my amputation.

In some ways, it feels like last summer was forever ago; in other ways, it doesn't seem really all that long ago. As I have mentioned in past posts, it's a really scary time in the process of reinventing myself and feeling like nothing is really falling into place with regards to work, or my life turning around. Try as I might, to want it as badly as I feel like I need it, I'm equally terrified of this terrible reminder of what I've endured. I honestly don't know when this will ever seem normal to me.

There are very few people I can actually engage in meaningful conversation about these challenges. No matter, I still have been approaching the exploration of work possibilities with an open mind, no matter current (or whatever future limitations may now exist). Although, I am very worried because even with all of my experience, I haven't netted many interviews. The idea was if I could be interviewed, it could be an exploration process for both the interviewer and for me - the interviewee. I know I clearly have skills that would be useful and that I'm smart. I'd like to share this knowledge, experience, and gift with the world - while also being myself. It's really hard, ya know?!

I just am so confused on what to do - other than to keep gimping along and trying, until something works out. But, then the next worry begins to enter my mind - what if it is a good fit, but there is some technicality where it can't work out? I don't know how people live... I'm sure many don't dedicate themselves to work the sort of way that I have in the past. So maybe it's my own projection and that level of expectation isn't real? I'm not sure. I think - for my next job - I'll require similar flexibiltiy to what I was offered in my past position. That is - ability to balance life/health needs with being performant in a position. Can I simply be trusted to do my best? Will my employer be understanding that these issues are somewhat ongoing, but in only occasional and rare circumstances will they need to be factored into work? I guess my question is where is my "dream job"?

Well that answer is somewhat obvious. My dream job is now in the past. I'm not saying being a lab manager was in anyway easy - it was quite demanding. However, I worked as hard as I did in that job, based on the understanding that we were working off of a quota - it's about the nature of your work, not just the total number of hours. Some weeks I would put in over 40 hours, other weeks maybe as little at 30. It all equalled out. Often times, with the focus being that I didn't take my lunches, I might leave a bit early since I worked through lunch... or I put in some extra time the day before next - which required me to be down in Denver for a doctor's appointment. I'm starting to question how professional couples manage work requirements and balance them with work demands. It's a real challenge. So many employers say something like - must be present Monday - Friday - in-person. Well... how the hell does one get stuff done during the week? That's why I think I would do much better working with a lab, or tech job that would allow me some autonomy, self-agency. So many jobs are fear-based in practice - insert these ideas and worries into your mind continually that you are replaceable. Not all of us require that sort of intimidation. It can also be hard working for a failing company, work that is contingent on grant money, or whatever.

The closest thing I could call safe, and treated securely as a "full-person" was working for my previous lab. It took a little over 4 years to land a manager position. Honestly, it barely paid enough - given my student loans, health and living expenses. Six years since then, things have gotten exceedingly expensive. I mean, like $3500 a month base-level expensive (not including anything extraneous). It's really terrifying on its own. We are supposed to be living at a time that the economy is at its best and yet, it's even harder than it was before to live. That doesn't take into account individuals dealing with extraneous challenges. I think those that have endured greatly in this world, are some of the most qualified for their positions because it isn't just about money - it's about career - regardless if pay can match that demand (or not).

I know all of us probably feel this sort of dread, but it's even harder when you're really trying and not getting anywhere with it. I'm not sure if I should be exploring other options for solving this. I am practicing "a whole person" ethic, even if I'm not quite there yet. So - you can imagine just how frustrating it feels to have everything together and secure to have it taken away from you - at no fault of your own - and thrust back into a working market that doesn't take the time to get to know me. If they did, they'd later realize that this is not some hollier-than-thou speech, but real passion and gifts shining through. I am just so damned passionate about what I do for a living. It's important to me. I'm at a crossroads in life where I don't want to waste my own time, or someone else's. I also appreciate that finding work is a process. But, I will tell you - I have never had this much trouble finding work before. Also, I need to find a position that can offer a living-wage. That's a deal-breaker. I cannot sit back at rely on family to take care of me, or be forced to work 80 hours per week across two jobs. I worked two part-time jobs, across the span of two timeframes (roughly 6 months each) and let me tell you, I was going through burnout doing it. I just want to reinvent myself, renew my purpose and I'm really starting to question if that's even possible, anymore. It's really sad... I focus so hard on not hurting this world, but the world has been hurting me continually. That's not to say God (or a higher power) hasn't been present to help manage my basic needs. Again, it's been nothing short of miraculous/amazing. The problem is that I cannot thrive at this level. I can survive... but not really build a life, live, feel alive, etc. It's like I'm stuck. The more I attempt to twist (or contort) the more I sink. If I'm not careful, I could drown from this. I'm a cynically optimistic person, but everyone has their limits.

I recognize the world doesn't revolve around me, that it's not just about me. For years, I would put other's needs above my own - a lot of the time. But also in the past few years, I've learned about both the grace and humanity of people as well as the ultimate selfishness of people. I don't want any of you that know me personally and read my blog to think I don't recognize those that have helped me, monetariliy, mentally, or physically through this. It's definitely a matter of appreciation and I'm sorry if in the current moment I don't seem as appreciative as I usually am. Your generosity and friendship help me continue pushing. But, just like I'm getting used to my new circumstances, I'm getting tired of pushing this and having it end up no where. I'm also having problems focusing on - say - learning a new skill like really refining my OOP python skills. I'm finding myself talking myself out of some things due to fear, but it's not the same thing as self-sabotague because every new opportunity I'm approaching with an open mind and an open heart - even if I cannot control all aspects of what might conflict.

I guess I want grace, I want guidance and I want some security and reconnection to a purpose. That is something that I sorely miss. However, I hope it can be balanced in a way that accepts me fully for who I am. I don't think having a few doctor appointments per month should be that contentious. I am having to balance my wellbeing with my ability to work. Not to put others down, but I'm confident that I carry my own (and in some cases, even then some). I work hard and I have a positively hard work-ethic. But, I cannot pursue work that doesn't offer me some understanding and flexibility. What they'd find is probably very few issues in terms of productivity. I'd still get my work done and contribute in a meaningful manner.

So anyways, I know this sounds like so many blog posts before it... but I just am starting to get frustrated with the worry and doubt when it comes to work and the state of things. I pray so heavily that I'll be surprised and things will work out in ways that are even better than I imagined. But in the meantime, I have both past bad experiences and my own imagination to run amok and leave me genuinely worried about this eventual outcome. I'm tired of asking/searching and feeling invisible to much of the world. Again, to those that haven't treated me as invisible - much love and respect towards you! Whether you are a close friend, past co-worker, or family - I consider all of you as supportive friends. Peace and love to you all, until next time :)