As you may have guessed from the dearth of posts, I have been somewhat busy, which would be somewhat of an understatement. Deadlines, deadlines everywhere, and as if 12 hours a day in the office were not enough, I have been using my train time for work as well (which is my usual blogging time). Fortunately, I’ve found myself in a bit of a lull (the eye of the storm, perhaps), so I’ve decided to push out a new entry, while I’ve got some time to spare.
I suppose that in a way I’m actually quite fortunate, as 12-hour days are the exception for me rather than the norm, though when they do occur, it’s usually in bunches, over the course of a week or something, and rarely a day here or a day there. Most days, I leave work at a most reasonable hour, allowing me to spend afternoons with the little one. Overall, my commute isn’t too bad, my hours are mostly decent, my salary and benefits package is not one to be sneezed at (by Israeli standards, anyway), and best of all, I have the laptop, which allows me to write wherever I happen to be (which very much appeals to the writer in me).
So I should be grateful, shouldn’t I? With all of these aspects in my favor, especially being able to spend so much quality time with my son, I should be happy. But I’m not. Nrg reckons I’m going through something akin to a midlife crisis, and perhaps I am. All I know is that I’m feeling terribly unsettled and unsatisfied, and I’m not sure what to do about it. Hi-tech no longer excites me as it once did, and I’m definitely feeling the pull of the ideology-based non-profit world. I’m tired of this sector, tired of the unpredictability, the frenzied work environment. I’m no longer enamored of the hi-tech work ethic, where the reigning attitude seems to be one of “we’ll compensate you well, work you to the bone, and suck your soul out until there’s nothing left.” Sounds irresistible, doesn’t it? I suppose for the young and ambitious, it probably does. Seeing as I’m neither (not that I’m old or completely lacking in ambition, mind you, just not chomping at the bit to make it to the top), I find myself wondering more and more what I’m doing here.
I am torn. I want to enjoy my work. I want to feel passionate about the things I do and write. And I want to be paid a decent wage for it, and not merely a pittance. Sadly, it seems that these ideals are mutually exclusive. Several months ago, I turned down an offer for a position that, had I been at the beginning of my career, trying to break into journalism, I would have taken in a heartbeat. I actually felt a physical ache at having to say no, and even waited a few days before phoning in my regrets. The gentleman in question sensed my indecision and subsequently tried to bring me on board via other channels, but I simply couldn’t do it. The conditions made it impossible to accept, no matter how hard I tried to work out a satisfactory solution, and to this day, I still think about these missed opportunities. To this man’s credit, he left the door wide open, asking that I phone him should I ever change my mind, whether it be a week from now, a month from now, or a year from now. Unless the conditions change drastically though, there’s just no way. No matter how hard I work it, I simply cannot handle such a serious drop in salary (less than a third of my current salary) or having to do shift work (including nights, holidays and weekends).
But there has to be something better, or at least a happy medium. There has to be something that will satisfy both my soul and my bank account, though I have yet to figure out what it is. I’ve thought about freelance writing on the side, dipping my toes in the water, so to speak, but I’m not sure if there’d be any interest. I mean, clearly, I’m at least a decent writer, as I do have several regular readers, and have even been contacted by a few “real” publications interested in reprinting some of my blog entries (but more on that if and when it pans out…). Could I do it? Am I good enough? Would people be interested in what I have to say, interested enough to pay me? That remains to be seen.
Or maybe I could head for the non-profit sector, where people care more about ideas and issues than they do about salaries (otherwise, they’d be working in the private sector – salary slaves like the rest of us), where I could write about issues that are important to me, issues that affect others. I just don’t know. All I know is that I’m not happy, I don’t feel like I’m in the right place – either physically or emotionally, and it’s spilling over into other areas of my life.
Maybe nrg is right (after all, it’s been known to happen on a startling number of occasions, and if the one person who knows me better than pretty much anyone else in the world makes a point such as this, it probably wouldn’t hurt to listen). Perhaps I am in the throes of a mid-life crisis of sorts. In a way, I suppose I’m lucky in that I more or less know what I’d like to be doing, I’m just not sure how to get there or which path to take, and at this stage of my life, I’m not too keen on failure (though admittedly, most people aren’t, no matter where they are or what they’re doing), and let’s face it – change, though exciting, can be a very scary thing.
Blech. I just don’t know what to do. I think I need a few more days in Amsterdam…