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Mid-life crisis!

I feel like I'm going through a bit of a mid-life crisis. Well. I guess I'm not quite at the middle of my life (hopefully!), but yeah.

Lately, I find that I'm really struggling with work and everything that comes along with it. I can't deny that my job is stressful during "quiet" times, but the emotional rollercoaster it puts me through sometimes is just.. I don't know. It's like they either don't see or don't care how causing people's emotions to torrent between extreme highs and lows can make doing actual "work" difficult. By they I mean administration, management, etc.

This inevitably leads me down the path of: why am I in this field again?

I don't even know sometimes. It was something to do. It was something that seemed to make sense based on how I was at 17. Now I'm 27 and it's hard remembering why the hell I ever thought this was a good idea aside from thinking "well, at least the classes won't be too hard". Honestly, now that I'm looking back at it, I have to say that the seriousness of the decision never dawned on me at the time. I'm not quite sure if that's the best way to put it.. but just the gravity of the situation. At 17, I just saw this as a stage I needed to get done so I could just get on with my life, get a job, get a house, etc. Long term planning? What's that? Also, not sure about other people, but I'm definitely not the same person I was at 17. It baffles me to read stuff I wrote then because seriously, what the hell was I thinking?! (.. though, that just made me realize that this journal is 10(!!!) years old as of this October. Like what? This also means I have people on my friends list that I've known for around that length of time as well. Wow.)

Based on talks I've had with people in this field, this stream of self-questioning seems to be a common situation among workers within their 2nd year of working in child welfare. They start questioning why they ever thought this was a good idea, why they ever went into this field, etc. So I don't know if I've just hit that mark, or if I'm just so damn irritated at this job that it's making me feel that way. To add to that, I've never pictured myself even working in child welfare. This is something I've always joked about as a back-up plan, but never something I set out to do. Everyone I work with has either taken courses specifically in this field, or have set out aiming for it. Me? I landed here because I needed a job, and they took me. Why? I honestly have no clue.

I sometimes wonder if I should go back to school and do something else. The problem is, I have no idea what "something else" even encompasses. It's not like I've discovered a previously unfound passion for accounting that I've never noticed before and now feel the need to enter that field. I don't know what it is I even want to do. I have to admit that my first thought about a new career was "god, I hope I never have to talk to people again".. which, I mean, seems to be totally tied into how I feel about my files at this moment in time. Maybe if I'm not in child welfare I'll decide that people seem okay again.

Honestly, all I want to do sometimes is read historical situations and see how the ripple effect goes across an area. People themselves are very fascinating. I want to learn their stories, the effects, but I don't want to counsel them, I don't want to tell them life will be better, how to do it, etc. I just want to know, say "awesome, neat, cool!" and walk away.

Re-reading that statement, it seems like I'd rather spend more time on social research and looking at things instead of talking to people. I suppose that is pretty accurate. However, after having spent time doing that, it really wasn't that great of an experience. The constant political battle with the other "professionals" was enough to make sure nothing ever got done. I recognize nothing is perfect, but god damn office politics just make me want to repeteadly bash my head against a cubicle wall. Maybe I should give it another try? I don't know. :/

I know everything is perspective, which is heavily influenced by however I'm feeling that day. So today I'm having a bad day and everything is just damn awful. I usually pick myself off the floor the next day and force the brain to stop thinking. But when you're in it, it's really hard to stay focused on how to look at it differently. I suppose that's depression in a nutshell, somewhat. The people I usually talk to at work are on vacation. I feel like I'm just drifting along right now.

I know this too shall pass, but to what? I have no idea.

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kc724
Jul. 10th, 2011 05:43 am (UTC)
You ask the question that most people don't know the answer to. I don't think most people really know the answer until 'later' in life and some people never find out at all.

Throwing my two cents in on the manner and what I know about you I think you're in this field because you wanted to get into something that was benefitial to society or at least other people in general. That's very honorable. Or maybe I'm completely wrong and you wanted to come into something non-asian. All my asian buddies are either in a) finance or b) IT; you married a white guy if that has anything to do with it.

You're right, this could just be a phase. We all get them and they come quickly but they do go eventually. Or maybe it's not. Maybe it's not passing and ultimitley you know that it never will. Well then it's career changing time. A short antedote on my part; I left the military, because I knew April would never let me go careerm in 09 to try my luck in the civilian sector (as a supervisor in an S&P500), hated every minute of it and went back into the army a year later. This year I left the army again to work at the Waldorf Astoria. #2 guy of a secruity in a 1400 room hotel that the President and other heads of states stay in; I lasted all one month (28 days actually). In the end all I did was cater to rich people and eat their shit day and night. It was at that point I realize that never again was I going to take another job in the private sector. That was my defining moment and I just knew just like you will too if social work isn't for you.

Politics happens no matter where you are. We can get into an endless debate about it but my advice to you is that you can't ever totally shut it out. Never compromise your core principles and nod and smile a lot (yeah I know it's hard at times, trust me, just do it!). It's ok to ailenate some people, it's another story to have everyone against you no matter how you feel. In Iron Mountain (my supervisor job) the company decided to spend a boatload of money for a third party to optimize our work which allegedly made it more efficent. I saw holes in their plan and stuck to my guns and punches holes in their plan and made a big stink to management backing it up with facts and results while the other supervisors just nodded and smile. What happened? I got written up for not being a team player and should be more like the other supervisors. In retrospect, that was probably one of the times when I should have just 'played the game', but it was the spark that made me realize that private life was not for me.

Anyway didn't mean to hijack your thread with my boring life story. To try and answer your original question, you'll know when it's time but be aware that 'change' has 'cost' and not just $$$$. Being on the bottom of the food chain sucks; being there when you're 45 is 1000x worse!
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