… also known as the future
I can’t remember – and I don’t want to check – but I do not think I ever mentioned in any of my July blog posts my plans at the time to prepare PhD application materials this fall. It was something I was planning a whole blog post series about, to the point where I believe I have at least two blog posts still saved in my drafts about the kinds of programs I was interested in and the reputable places to which I planned on applying.
It’s so weird to think about July and how different my life would have been if I never ended up taking the plunge and moving to Austin. It’s depressing, and I refuse to go there tonight!
The reason I mention it at all is because I have realized I needed to think about my overall career plans again. Yes, I had hoped by taking this new part-time job this October that I was able to conclude the job search. But I was wrong. There’s a few things I did not mention at the time and some new things that I have recently realized that I will delve into a little in this blog post. I do not know who might read this post, so I’m treading with caution!
First, let me explain what happened when I took this new part-time job. Literally the day after I started, I discovered that the team at my other job was scrambling to find a way to make my part-time job both permanent and full-time. A sane person might have been thrilled, but I was terrified. I still love the team I work with, but even now when I think of the future there I can’t see it being something I would find satisfying forever. And I’m speaking here specifically about the main type of work I was brought in to do here: data entry, filing, and training material organizing.
So last month I was in a weird predicament. I wanted them to know I was in no hurry to leave this job and also that they need not waste time trying to find a way to make me full-time.
Now, because it’s pretty clear that I do not want to become full-time at this office, I do feel like my position may be in a little bit of jeopardy when my six-months expires in February. I know my training team would fight to keep me if that’s what I wanted, but I also know that it will become harder to leave the longer I stay. And I will want to leave before the end of next year.
This is where I get into territory I’m anxious to talk about…money.
I feel like I have probably mentioned salaries I’ve had at jobs I had earlier this year. It has not been good, and that was fine at the time. I was living with my parents and I enjoyed those other jobs for the most part, particularly my rec job. It was exactly what I needed for reasons I do not want to delve into at the moment. I don’t regret my time spent there in the grand scheme of things. I only truly regret two jobs I’ve had in the past and for the same primary reason: they killed my feet.
Compared to those other jobs, the job that brought me to Austin pays fantastic. But it was only enough to survive on and even then only because my parents still help out with other expenses (e.g. car insurance, smartphone data). I choose a more expensive apartment than my budget technically should have allowed for safety and peace of mind, so that’s on me, but I don’t regret that either. My mental health is heavily tied to where I live, so living somewhere nice is essential. And I love it here. I hope to extend my lease next year.
But here’s the other thing about that job. Even if I became full-time there, I doubt the hourly rate would have increased by much if at all. So my hours there would need to increase and the only true benefit would have been that I have health insurance. Yes, health insurance is important, but I can now purchase out-of-pocket for next year and keep my freedom.
The only true benefit of my current work situation is that working part-time has afforded me a certain amount of freedom. It’s why I can take two hour lunch breaks at the moment, which allows me to take care of Opal’s needs during the day. It is also why I have had the time to work on things that could qualify one day as side hustles.
I have gradually come to the realization that I may not be cut out for an ordinary life path. Most people my age have been able to start careers and start their own families, some right after their undergraduate degree. Meanwhile I have felt like I was not able to graduate from college (either time) knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I feel like I still do not know what I truly want out life, which is why I’m absurdly afraid of commitment to anything and anyone.
I have started to realize that maybe my problem has been that I have felt like I needed to choose a path, when really what I should be doing is carving one. So that is what I intend to do in 2020…
This post is becoming really long. I’m going to continue writing, but you will be able to read what comes next tomorrow.