What Do You Want To Do When You Grow Up?
By: Melissa Mensavage
Is this career burn-out, just plain ol’fashioned boredom or a midlife crisis?
I sit here at my desk in an office cubicle that has beige walls. I hear the pounding of keyboards all around me. People are huddled by the coffee machine, moreso now that the company has decided to offer free coffee, albeit crap coffee. The world is gray in my eyes. People are overweight here in corporate America because they sit all day long. People are grumpy for having to do the same thing day in and day out. People are always rushing in from being late due to traffic or oversleeping, and rushing to leave to get to their next activity whether its with kids, parents or the couch.
I started in corporate America right after college because I needed a job and health insurance. And things just evolved since then. Being so ‘I need to find Mr. Right’ focused, I never took an interest in my career. Then my thirties hit and still no Mr. Right, though one failed marriage was behind me, I threw myself into my job. However, I still viewed it as a job, and not something I was passionate about. I traveled the world, something I was passionate about. Then I became a mother, still with no Mr. Right around.
So I sit here today, most likely bored out of my mind with the mundane of corporate America. I am done sitting at a desk. I am done with staring at a computer for eight hours a day. Yet, I am locked to this desk and computer because of my chidlren. How can anyone make a career change with children? And on a sole income?
I bet people do it all the time. I bet people throw caution to the wind and jump. My analytical and practical self cannot do that. I chose to be a single parent on my own without a partner. That means no breaks from the boys, as in every other weekend or one night a week. That means I am the sole provider for the boys. That means I need to make sure I have health insurance for them, and myself, and other benefits to keep everyone safe and secure.
That also means, corporate job for now. It is here that I can get those necessities.
Yet, every day as I drive to work I feel an empty feeling in my stomach and my heart. This isn’t what I was meant to do. Recently I had a conversation with my sister about jobs and what I was meant to do kind of slipped out. I wasn’t expecting it, it wasn’t something I was hiding, but it just surfaced.
Early childhood education, preschool or working with the elderly in senior centers or nursing homes.
Working with people.
I Googled salaries for those types of careers and estimated starting salaries would put me in a poverty situation. I wouldn’t make enough to cover my necessities, especially with two children. And I am torn, why cant I have the job I love? Why cant I be doing what I really want to do? Is it true that things find a way of working out when doing something you love?
I don’t know the answers to those questions and I am not sure if I’ll ever find out – probably by choice because I am too chicken to jump. Knowing at the end of the day when I leave my desk and I get to walk to the other side of the company campus to pick up the boys, this is worth it. My commute home with them in the backseat and we talk about the day or what we are going to do when we get home, worth it.
As a parent, you have to make hard choices all day long. For me, one of them right now is to be in a job that I am not passionate about. A sacrifice I am willing to make for my two boys.