From the Blog

What I Thought I Wanted

So I’ve started my new job and it’s great. It’s wonderful. It’s a fun, interesting company. My coworkers are lovely. My boss is a sweetheart. All around: fucking brilliant.

I had been thinking I might want to pursue marketing or web design or something creative. It felt like I really needed to go in that direction. It felt like design could be a real career path.

So I looked for jobs doing web stuff or marketing stuff and it always sort of depressed me. Most of what I know is self-taught. Experience I’ve picked up over the years. I know I can “do” stuff. I wish I could have been hired with a four word resume. “I CAN DO STUFF.”

But job searching became a depressing experience because I wasn’t technically qualified for most of the things I wanted to do. And looking at some of the jobs actually created a pit of anxiety in my stomach. When I say I CAN DO STUFF, I really sort of mean, I CAN FIGURE STUFF OUT. Though, not really knowing, but being expected to know made me edgy. For jobs that I wasn’t even doing. I was getting nervous just looking at them.

So I had to sit down and really think about what I wanted. I thought I liked the idea of doing web design, or graphic design or marketing or whatever. For a while, I really thought that’s what I wanted to do. I’m a creative person. I thought I needed to be doing something creative.

But fuck. It scared the shit out of me. And not in a “pushing my boundaries” and “exploring my horizons” and “following my dreams” sort of way. It scared me that I would end up in a job and be miserable because I didn’t know what I was doing. I got fatigued thinking about it.

You know what I wanted? I wanted to be good at something. I wanted to feel productive. I wanted to have my work cut out for me. I wanted to see the measurable, quantifiable results of my efforts. I wanted to not have to rely on anyone else in order to do a good job.

You know what I’m good at? Collections. Yes, collections. Calling people to get them to pay their bills. I’ve done it for over 10 years. I’m good at it.

Sounds fucking horrible doesn’t it? It’s the kind of job title you mumble in elevators and cocktail parties. And people wrinkle their nose. “Really? That’s what you do? Ulg.” And then they go wash their hands to wash the ick off.

Now. I have never dealt with consumer collections. I’ve never had to call people at dinner time, demanding payment for past due bills while their kids scream in the background. That does sound horrible.

I’ve only ever done B2B collections. It’s actually sort of fun. It’s more about building relationships than being a hard ass. And most of the time, I’d say 80% of the time, it’s pleasant. Maybe 15-18% of the time, people can’t, or don’t want to pay, and it takes a little more work. The other 2-5% are stinkers. Having to chase those people is less fun. But when someone finally pays up, it feels like you’ve snapped a final agonizing puzzle piece into place. It’s goddamned rewarding.

So, I needed to get a job. We bought a house, and after a few years of being out of the workforce, I was more than ready to go back. I agonized over web/design/marketing jobs. Going back to accounting and collections started to sound…relaxing. How wonderful it would be to breeze into a job and know what I was doing. The idea was alluring and felt comfy. Like warm fuzzy socks.

My ideas about “career” shifted after not working for a while. And also after having kids. There was a time in my life where I left a job as an accountant and I thought I’d never go back.

Now I’ve run, nay, skipped joyfully back. It fits. It feels right. Besides learning new systems and forgetting everyone’s names, it’s comfy.

Through all this, I can say it’s better not to try to convince yourself that you desire something you don’t actually want. It sounds like a Rolling Stones song, but it’s really something I just learned about myself.

You can call me though, if you need help writing boomer rock that your parents will love.

Comments

  1. I love this! Well said Heather. So easy to push for something other people talk about wanting, or something that sounds satisfying but perhaps isn’t worth the trade-offs associated with it. Way to stick to your guns…or is that a baseball bat for collections? ;)

  2. I so agree and admire you-I left my job 5 years ago and miss working but think what am I good at. So proud of you-you are smart, talented and have determination so watch out world. “Heather’s back!”

  3. well done and well-said, Heather. this sounds real. (from the first time I read your blog I knew you were creative and funny. who knew you were good at collections, too!)

  4. Are you in my head?! I’m good at a lot of stuff (in that I can get myself started and then figure it out as I need to… ) I’m excellent in the call center environment – in other words – “I give good phone” (lol) really doesn’t do much for my less-than self esteem to be excellent at a job that is incredibly undervalued by management (generally) and even more underpaid… and ‘moving up’ doesn’t appeal at all. I did my first website and was on the computer for 14 hours straight – I’d found my passion and career… even quit my call center job to go to college for multimedia computers at a local college! I’ve got a bachelors in PR – I’m creative so how am I not a creative multimedia graphic design guru? A few years ago I went back to call center because of the advantages… just quit and am now heading to Real Estate. I don’t think I really have a point ~ just that I totally totally related to your thoughts. Thanks for sharing them! ? LOVED ? your post!

    (found you through Tammy over at RowdyKittens.com, btw)

  5. Well said and written! There is so much online espousing a “comfortable life” as a warning that you are living an unfulfilled and lazy life. For a long time I agonized over this because I feel “comfortable” in my life BUT I like it. I finally accepted that while this explanation of comfort has its place there is also a contentment that comes with the known and stability… this is completely okay and does not mean I am settling for a mundane life.

    xo, Kaylin

  6. I did the same thing. I left a job as a government investigator 8 years ago. A year ago I went crawling back and i’m so relieved to have a decent paycheck and job security again.

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