Monday, August 12, 2013

My Second Act

I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do with my for-real adulthood.

The job I have now is what I spent my pretend adulthood working toward: calculated steps and moving with a drive like a teenager playing chicken, unwilling to pull away before the other person does. Everything was a competition, and I was definitely not a loser. In my struggle to not be defeated, I still haven't won.

I've somehow become a corporate leader who specializes in career development. I've helped people figure out what they want to do with their lives and how to get there, been a trusted mentor and supervisor, and become a master manipulator.

And I hate it. It started creeping up like shower mold. Just a corner at first, but eventually you're embarrassed to let anyone use your bathroom and can't believe you actually try to get clean in that filth.

I realized I hated how much of my life was spent working toward someone else's goals in an industry I didn't believe in, so I changed jobs; the new one let me work fewer hours and got me out of privatized banking. It was OK for a while. The only problem was I still hated the standardized coaching and punishment/reward system that infantilized everyone involved in it. I hated thinking of what the company needed, as if it were a sentient being whose well-being was in my hands.

Things have come to a head. I'm done with my job and just biding time until I can escape, for real. My dear husband is working on getting some training so we're not relying primarily on my job, which will give me the freedom to take a risk.

I have no idea where to go or what to do. You'd think I could figure this out, considering that's what I do for other people - but I'm a blank. Follow your passion? Do what you're good at? The only thing I know I'm good at is this - what I've spent my twenties and early thirties building myself into. I'm a corporate machine, and I want to break out of my metal shell.

I can make my life in this business world last a while longer; I could get a different position like training or projects or something - something that gets me out of management. Ultimately, though... I need an actual exit strategy.

What am I good at? What am I passionate about? What should I work toward being when I finish growing up?