Overwhelmed. It's the only word I can currently find to describe how I am feeling.  I throw this out there, too, not really knowing who reads this blog anymore.  Some folks in my life that I know very well recently revealed they started reading my blog, but I have no idea if they have stuck with it.  I don't know if anyone I work with is reading it, and I don't know for sure what people in my present and past read this.  But I need to get some stuff out there, and for some reason this space feels like a safe place to do so.

First, an apology for not being around much here lately. By the end of the post, you should have a good idea as to why.

Next - work.  I seem to be having a recent string of success in my worklife.  I am an executive recruiter, and I've been at the job for almost a year now.  Never having a sales job in my life prior to this, the learning curve has been "steep" to say the least.  My first 9 months in the job have been painful - emotionally draining, mentally beating, and very hard on the pocketbook.  Beyond all of that, it has made me seriously question what I want to be in life and how I see my job or career fitting in to the definition I give myself.  I've always grown up wanting to change the world.  I've always wanted to do good things for people and make a difference.  While I can justify what I do on a daily basis as doing just that, it's not quite what I had imagined myself doing.  The truth of the matter though is that there are certain things I'm not willing to give up in order "to change the world" - and that has made me start to feel somewhat bad about myself.

I'm not willing to do an hour + drive or more each way to work.  I'm terrified of driving in the snow, and I want to work in my community - not super far away.  I want a job I am proud to talk about to my friends.  I want to make a decent wage.  I currently work for minimum wage as a draw, but truly I work on 100% commission.  Any minimum wage payments I receive have to be paid back out of any commissions I make (pretty standard for any sales job).  Let's just say the W-2 I received this year looked very similar to the W-2 I received when I was waiting tables at age 14. No joke.  I want to be self-sufficient and able to take care of myself just in case, god forbid, I would ever have to be in a position where I did have to take care of myself.  Right now, I wouldn't be able to afford rent on an apartment.  That scares the living shit out of me.

Luckily I have a wonderful and caring husband who has been totally supportive of me.  He has no health issues and is not going to kick me out anytime soon, but still - I'm an only child and have always felt a need to be able to sustain myself for the pure sake of knowing I can take care of my own.  And it kills me that I am not in a place to do that.

In an effort to get to that point, I have started to take on additional jobs in hopes of finding what I should really be doing for purpose and for cash.  I'm now teaching spinning three times a week at the gym in my town.  I also just accepted the position of cycle club coordinator for my other gym in Columbus.  That will have me leading group rides twice a week starting in the Spring, and it will provide me a free gym membership rather than having to pay the $70+ that I pay now (and know I truly can't afford). It's also quite possible they will want me to start teaching there at least once a week, too.

On top of all of this, I am training for a half ironman that I can't justify registering for because I feel guilty for the expense.  $200+ to register for a race seems like something I have not yet earned.  I'm not bringing in my "keep" to the family, so I'm not ready to register.  I am still riding my $90 Wal-Mart bike that weighs a bajillion pounds and also can't justify upgrading that.  How can I spend $500+ on a bike when I make minimum wage?

Luckily, as I mentioned earlier on, I've started having some success in my job.  For the first time in almost a year, I will be bringing home some real paychecks in the next couple of months.  I'm excited and terrified.  I've gotten over the hump, now I need to keep it going.  That, or I need to find something that will just pay me a regular paycheck every month so I can drop the stress of finances. I picked the wrong sport to fall in love with - triathlon is much better suited to those with extra cash floating around.  And that is definitely not me.

Therefore, I am overwhelmed today.  It may because I am midway through week three of half marathon/half iron training and I'm exhausted.  I also know what's coming down the pipeline, and I am nervous about all the work it will require.  I wish I could find a position that would get me to where I want to be financially and even more importantly to where I always thought I would be - helping change the world.  But as I get older I realize that is more and more unlikely.  We find our joy in the things and people that surround us every day.  An unseasonably warm day in the Winter.  A phone call from a friend.  A snuggle from a puppy. A good run with a friend.

Where this is all going, I don't know.  I'm struggling to understand what I should be doing and why.  I know what I love to do but can't seem to get paid for doing it. I'm trying to find the path, but it is definitely down that "road less traveled."  I just hope that eventually I get to the highway - because I'm not sure how much longer I can continue to wander and not start to feel fully lost.

It's an interesting journey filled with new and old friends, though, and I am keeping the faith that everything will work out the way it is supposed to.  In the meantime, if I am not around a ton please know I continue to read lots of your blogs on blogger.  I think of you all very often and find strength in your struggles and your ability to share them in this space, too.  I'll touch base when I can.  And good luck to all you fellow wanderers too :-)


T said...

I've wondered what it was that you do! This makes so much more sense now. I don't have ANY advice at all for you, except that from your blog I've gathered that you have an interesting background and have made some good and strong choices in the past - and I'm confident you'll continue to do the same.

Christi said...

Wandering and searching is something that we all do and I feel your pain. I wish you the best in your search.

Erika said...

I feel like I'm in the same place as you and feeling completely overwhelmed myself. I don't know what's up from down anymore and having a tough time. Feel free to email me anytime if you want to chat - maybe we can come up with some ideas together!

Mrs. B said...

People "change the world" in so many different ways, Michelle. Certainly, some are fairly major/significant/world-renown. Most, as in what most of us manage, are on a much smaller scale but by no means any less important, especially to those who were impacted. And, also, I believe most people manage to do good (for others, for animals, for themselves) doing what they enjoy doing. It doesn't have to be all about sacrifice.

Sometimes major life changes come because you actively chose one; a move to another state, a new job. Yet it seems to me that a lot of less life changes; things that arise from opportunities you find in your day to day, are no less important.

In any event, from what I know, you've has quite a few heavy hitter changes in recent years. Perhaps it's time to slow down a bit and let life happen.

Just my two cents!

Or maybe a dime.

Katie Duffy said...

I feel you... as you know, I've been thinking about a lot of the same questions for the last couple of years. It's excellent that you've finally made the breakthrough at work (when it rains, it pours...) and now you'll have a little more $$ around to open up more options. You've got this - you are not going to let yourself be unhappy for long.