This is the second post on digesting my lay off. Here I will ramble about various factors that lead to my ending up here, and perhaps more importantly find a way of avoiding that fate again. Not simply the fate of getting laid off but the dissatisfaction that came with jobs I have had in the past.
Getting laid off, and having it happen after I was at my best is not an isolated event. Its not at all surprising considering the industry I landed in. I took my second exploration job just after I finished my undergrad. Gradschool was considered, but after the better part of 7 years chewing through my undergrad I was spent. So I took a job with a gold company in the Northwest Territory.
The opportunity to develop my career was there, the drive was lacking.
Work was not bad at first, and I can see the tone of this blog change over time as the stagnation set it, but it was largely routine technical work. Ultimately I am too much of a home body to endure collecting data for someone else's project while living on the far side of the middle of nowhere. It cannot be ignored that I saw too many folks in the field who were sacrificing access to friends and family for the job, when those were the things I most wanted.
The failure to connect with several branches of a field enforces the notion it is not for me. Leaving me with the question what do I want do when I grow up. So far I have a far better idea of what I do not want to do. Those technical but repetitive jobs are a mental cul-de sac that leave me spent and angry, this is true whether it is clicking a mouse in MapInfo or taking notes of drill core. Those posts lead to periods of slow decline and burnouts.
This leads me to believe that I want more control and intellectual engagement in my work. Beyond that I have little vision as to what an exciting engaging job could be. In a paragraph deleted from the first draft of this I rambled about the assumption that I would become an academic. It fit everyone's image of me and it is the only professional sphere where I can imagine what the work is like. However, assuming defaults is not the goal of this post. I want to cast aside a few things and reassess from there. So here then is a list of the knows.
One, I have always had a deep and abiding interest in space exploration. I think I read Red Mars 5 times. The sense of place that book built made me think of mars as a place. It has contributed to my love of deserts. I used to spent too much of my spare time keeping track of as many deep space missions as I could.
Two, I have read too much science fiction. And sometimes think that with my melange of science knowledge and science fiction ideas I should become a paper back writer.
Three, if you ask me to describe my dream job, I can't. I can image working in academia only because I have spent enough time around such things as to have some image of what a career there could look like. If you ask me what I could see me doing in the public or private sector I have no clue. There is a complete failure of imagination there.
4, The most creative period in my life was a brief period in Kelowna nearly ten years ago. I had finished the semester, I was working part time and was waiting for my field job to start. I had a computer that barely ran, no internet connection and time. It was during this period I started to develop the stories I still have to finish writing.
5, As awful as my grammar and spelling are, I still find the act of writing one of the most satisfying things I can do.
6, Work this spring was made extra difficult by many friends and acquaintances posting their academic or professional milestones, while my work was staying the same.
This list is incomplete and inconclusive. There is one conclusion I can draw, many of the choices that left me unhappy were safe bets. The devil I knew, because jumping outside the box was too intimidating. When you have been moving around the same box for 9 years and not finding either security or happiness its time to get a ladder.