Monday, 22 October 2012

On Passion

I just finished watching this talk on passion and "Why You Will Fail To Have A Great Career", which is ringing especially relevant right now. I have an opportunity- for a career I'm not actually very interested in. At all.

And this is where I struggle. There are a lot of things I'm interested in doing, but not at all sure how to go about them. And not at all sure that even if I put 1000% of my effort into them, I'd be successful at them. That's a huge struggle which weighs me down pretty much every day, lately. As excited as I am to graduate, it would be just peachy keen to have an idea of what I'd like to do with my life afterwards.

So, I am in search of a passion. In every place I've ever looked, the key determinant of a happy working life is keen interest at the least, and at the most, passion. I haven't discovered anything I feel that strongly about. Heck, its not often I experience even a strong feeling. I have feelings, to be sure, but my version of excitement is less "leap around screaming and jumping up and down because my son surprised me by sneaking home from Europe" and more "Oh, HEY! Cool!" When my brother, who was supposed to be in Belgium  turned out to be at my house and jumped on my back.

My generation seems to be well divided into overachieving automatons (I kid you not, some of these people are I-M-P-R-E-S-S-I-V-E!), underachieving stoners, and those of us pulling out our hair and wondering, as I am, What The Fudge Do I Do With My Life.

I envy those of us who know, have always known, or come across a passion strong enough that they have a plan to which they are deeply committed. Really envy. To be so sure of path is an incredible strength. However, it's a strength I don't think most of us have, perhaps especially not in our early 20's.

Still. I don't feel that I have the luxury of time on my side, though I know many people would point out I don't exactly need to be stressing out about it now. Well, I am, so obviously I feel I do. To that end, I have developed (and am continuously working on) The Plan.

I have a lot of assets on my side. I am, all pretension aside, a smart and capable person. I have a strong track record, a decent history of employability, and present myself very well. (Especially, it seems, for jobs I actually have no interest in. What IS this madness.) There are 3 extremely dichotomous choices which present themselves before me now, which are:

Psychology. This is what I've majored in, and I've done enough that I'm probably capable of getting into Grad school, even a good one. I've seen enough of the rather cutthroat 'publish or perish' PhD professor world to know that that isn't for me, even though that's what I've been pushed towards. However, I've encountered a few part time prof's who publish when they want to and teach courses that they want to and in the meantime run their own practices. THAT interests me. To do research and educate the next generation on topics that especially interest me sounds dreamy, and to be involved, hands on, in bettering the lives of people is all I've ever been sure that I want to do. I have a knack for it, I have an interest in it.
However! Psych is a busy, busy field. Grad school is incredibly hard to get into and rigorous. I'm turned off by having to take the entrance exams, and I'm a bit burned out when it comes to school. Do I have the energy and the motivation to actually bother?

Commercial Real Estate. I've been offered a position at a growing firm here in Ottawa. The offices are posh, the position accommodating  the temptation of full time employment almost unbearable. I know nothing about real estate beyond the buying of our own house, which is obviously very different from commercial dealings; I know very little about Ottawa, having just moved here. I can't say for sure this is a career I would or wouldn't like. Still, the vibes I'm getting are that I wouldn't. I'm an introvert and the idea of a career centered around seducing clients and involvement in the community centered around self interest turns me off like mad. The man hiring admitted that the way to make it in the business is to be motivated by money; time and time again I've shown that I am not. Not at all.

Lastly, writing. Reading and writing are probably the most constant part of my life. I'm a rapid and voracious reader who reads anything put into my path (fiction, non fic, mystery, fantasy, sci fi, fluff, classics, kids, literature, poetry- I'll read it all and love it) and I've been writing since, well, before I could spell. (To be fair, that took me a while.) I'm a writer with a lot of potential-- something I've been told numerous times, so don't take my word for it-- but not a lot of drive. The hardest part of the writing game, I believe, is to sit down and do it. Or, to paraphrase Hemingway, to sit down and bleed. Writing offers no security and a lot of work before any potential reward. Probably 90% of those who try don't make it to publication, and of those published another merciless majority fall into oblivion. To throw myself into the whims of fate like that is, frankly, terrifying. As it is to try and sell what I write- writing is deeply, deeply personal and like many people I struggle with the potential for rejection. It may be just business, but when business is the stuff of your soul, it still tastes all too personal.

There are a plethora of other options- not to go into to much detail but I've been absolutely positively 100% sure that I was going to 1) go back to school for archaeology 2) go back to school for environmental studies 3) get into sustainable ranching. What is my life. And so, The Plan.

The Plan is thus. Part One: Graduate. This goal should be achieved by the end of December, if all goes well. Part Two: (A maybe) Get a part time job. This part is problematic because, though on paper it sure looks like I should, I don't seem to have a lot of extra time. I don't know where it goes. It just goes. Also, I'm going back to BC for 20 days over the Christmas Holidays and a break that size is a fairly serious no no for a part time job. So its likely I'd have to quit anything I found anyways. Ergo, ugh. Part Three: Continue on in and get really good at the Social CHARM lab. CHARM, by the way, stands for Change and Alternative Research Methods. It's merely a bonus that we're socially charming. In any case, by fluke happenstance I am in, and if psych is to be the thing than this is the best thing I could do for myself in regards to getting into and handling Grad School. So. Continue my work in the Social CHARM lab. Part Four: Score an internship with the Green Party. I have an in, at least in that I know who to contact. Hopefully if I pour my soul into an application they'll take my free labour, even though I know nothing about public administration and almost nothing about green legislation. It's a struggle. And Part Five: Write here everyday, thereby working on my get up and do it abilities, my writing, and hopefully doing a whole lot better job than I have done recently (otherwise there isn't that much point, is there?). This I plan to do alongside doing a fabulous job of the 50 Disney Dates blog, which I think is an awesome idea and is so fun to do but also sucks up an unbelievable amount of time. Mostly in pictures, and that I have no idea how to make the internet do what I want it to do, so I have a lot of learning to do when it comes to how design and how to man handle the internet.

This is The Plan. Wish me luck.

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