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JLeslie's avatar

When was the last time you sat back and thought "what am I doing"?

Asked by JLeslie (59778points) June 9th, 2015 from iPhone

I was at work yesterday wondering why I was sitting there doing something I don’t want to do. I find myself in a trap right now of wanting to get a job in my field for better pay, but not doing it because my husband lost his job. On the surface it sounds illogical. You would think since he lost his job that it would make sense for me to pursue a better paying job. The problem is when he lands a job we will likely have to move. I keep wondering how long to stay in my box before pursuing what I really want. Plus, if he doesn’t get a job soon, the money will start to matter to both of us. He typically earns almost 3 times what I would if I went back to my career.

What about you? When was the last time you didn’t know how you wound up where you were, or realized you were traveling down a path you weren’t really interested in being on? What did you do? Or, are you still in the situation?

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18 Answers

jerv's avatar

It’s almost a daily thing for me. But life has no pause button, and the world will still move at the same speed no matter how fast or slow you go. I try not to dwell on it for the same reason I don’t stare at my rear-view mirror to the exclusion of all else when I drive; the past is a good thing to be aware of, but getting caught up in it will allow the future to hit you like a truck.

As an aside though, with only one job between you now, it sounds perfectly logical for you to stay where you are, if for no reason other than at least one of you is eligible for the benefits most employers don’t give new employees like insurance.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I’m doing a job I want to do. It’s hard work though and there are times when I question why I’m doing it. My husband has his own business. If he didn’t, I could look for work in a different city or even country. That appeals to me. It’s not reality though. We both have careers we love and care about and we can continue in this way. For me to take an opportunity to work elsewhere, he’d have to sell his business. I can’t ask him to do that. However, if he reached the point where he wanted to change direction, then I’d definitely suggest we look somewhere other than where we are.

In your case, what if you see a fabulous job that is exactly what you want to do and the pay is good? Would your husband be prepared to take a lesser paid or less appealing job to allow you a chance to fulfil your ambitions?

Depending on where you find that dream job, maybe they have offices in other places? I guess you can second guess what will be or you can go after the job you want and deal with the other issues if and when they happen.

ucme's avatar

Never, I do what I do & let the chips fall how they may.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Reflection is necessary. How else do you learn? And without it, what’s the point to adulthood?

canidmajor's avatar

I very often question my choices, mostly to confirm the best way for me to move forward.

You know, @JLeslie, there are some pretty creative thinkers here, maybe ask a Q telling the Fluther community what your career preferences are, and how to maybe parlay them into a moveable feast? You’d probably get some interesting and helpful ideas. :-)

chyna's avatar

@jerv had a really good answer. You really need to stay for insurance (if you have it).
I was laid off for a year and then got a part time job through a temp agency. I worked 40 hours a week and had benefits, so I’m not sure what was part time about it.
The whole job description was a scam. It was really nothing more than calling people 8 hours a day and asking them if they got their kids vaccines, had their breast exams, prostate exams, etc. It was for the Medicaid system. It was mind numbing boredom. Most people hung up on me. I had to stick it out until I got a full time job which took me a year. Edit to add: I really think that the creativity in which I described that job on my resume helped me get the job I now have, so it wasn’t a complete waste.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

You have to sit back an reflect on where you are and where you’re going from time to time. Otherwise you’re just wandering through life with no plan.

dxs's avatar

A few seconds ago actually. Lately, this has been taking up a lot my thoughts.
Where I am now is in college. But I no longer think it is where I want to be. I’ve lost interest in school. It frustrates me and stresses me out. School isn’t about learning, it’s about fulfilling requirements. Professors seem like they have more important things to do and are only here because someone has to do the job of giving me a grade. I go to every lecture and listen and interact, yet what’s the point because we get tested on the book. And textbooks (math ones at least) suck. Want to meet and talk about it outside of class? Forget it, they have more important things to do—go talk about it with a TA who doesn’t speak the same language as you. Or maybe I’m incompetent, which is just yet another reason why I should not be in college. Either way, there are other things I want to do right now, and school is not one of them. I’ll sit in a bookstore for hours reading about innovative integration methods but I can’t (anymore) get myself to do homework problems.
So I think college sucks. Then how about I think of college as a means to and end to pull myself through it? Well, not even the end result is something desirable. I mean, ideally it is: I want to teach. I haven’t run my own classroom, but I have tutored many people and have taught lessons to groups of middle schoolers. I know I’d love a career like that, but that’s not the reality of teaching.
The reality, I fear, is that I’m going to be bogged down by requirements that deny the fact that teaching is an art. And on top of that, I will be criticized and run by administrators who they think they know more about pedagogy than I do. Hell, practically any post-college job I go into will result in me being bossed around by someone who will have power over me through “the system”, and I just can’t deal with that.

So, this has lead me to want to pursue an different career path. I still think education is important, and I still feel like I have some sort of calling to do it. I thought about doing self-employed tutoring. I work fast food, too, which you could presume I hate doing, but I need a supplement: it’s only part time and free food. Actually, I realized I’m pretty happy while working there, except when the manager’s around or I have to smile and suck up to the frequent asshole customer. But, it keeps my mind focused on something.
The next step is carrying out this action. I need to assure myself that it really is the best choice. It’s so much easier to do what everyone “expects” me to do. I have this summer to decide.

dami's avatar

I realized this a while back. I had taken being single to a whole new level! I was doing things that was technically okay being single, but that weren’t the best for me in the long run. :/ I felt stupid after I realized what road I was headed down and immediately quit what I was doing. Luckily, the relationship I am in now saved me even further from destroying myself.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna Actually, insurance is a reason to seek a job. I don’t get insurance with my job so we are on COBRA right now. $800 a month! I’m so glad I have always been way far to the left on the topic of health insurance, so I don’t have to eat my words now.

Adding to the situation is the difficult time my husband and I have been through. I have feelings of wanting to be self sufficient. It’s not that I dream of leaving him or anything like that. He is still my favorite person in the world. I’m not sure if I can put it all into words, and I don’t want to go down a long tangent on this Q. Anyway, I’ve felt this way over a year now, and then he loses his job.

I think maybe @ucme makes a great point. Maybe I can’t control it all, and shouldn’t try, and shouldn’t worry about others so much. I’m worried about having to tell an employer I have to leave, because my husband got a job. What if he doesn’t get one for two years (God forbid).

jerv's avatar

Well, as one who once spent 13 months looking for anything that I could land, and the wife effectively forced into keeping a retail job she hated to keep us afloat during that time, I get it.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@JLeslie, I get the impression you’ve always put your own career desires on hold in order to support your husband (forgive me if this isn’t correct, this is purely based on reading between the lines). Perhaps your husband losing his job, while stressful for both of you, is an opportunity for you to at least investigate options for you within your own career. Perhaps this is an opportunity for you to both have a more equal focus on your work futures? I think you can spend a lot of time second guessing what might happen, but there’s no way you can know what the future holds. So maybe you can at least explore your own ambitions and see what happens. Nothing might happen, but you might come across an opportunity that gives you the fulfilment you’d like.

rojo's avatar

I have no idea how I ended up where I am. To quote John Denver ” I have to say it now, it’s been a good life all in all….” I am going to put it down to having a couple of really good friends and a loving wife who supports me even in the stupid stuff.
Whenever I find myself asking what or why it is usually because life has become monotonous and it is getting hard to see over the ruts.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

All I have evef done, got me nowhere.

JLeslie's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit I think that for both of us.

I had a career for a while. It did take a back seat as his blossomed and it never bothered me much. I didn’t work at all for a few years, and I loved it most of the time. An absolute luxury.

Only recently do I feel I want to make my last mark in my career before I get much older. Partly, because we still need to bring in money before we retire to feel financially secure. If I had $10 million in the bank and we could just spend time together and travel and do some small things to feel productive, I would be fine with that. I just think if I am going to work I might as well be doing a job I like more, and that earns me double the pay. I mostly went back to work because I had a whole bunch of people telling me to do it and I got sick of people criticizing me, in real
life and even jellies. Now, I work, but I’m basically underemployed, working below the level I am capable of, and in a way it’s worse. My husband tells me to quit.

It’s like I need to take hold and do what I want. I don’t know. For years I used to say on Fluther I’m going through my midlife crisis, now I feel like things are getting bad enough a real forced change is coming. Not that things are bad compared to how bad it can be. I really am not in any sort of a desperate situation at this point, and I don’t want it to sound like that out of respect for people who have it much worse. I’ve been in the situation where I can’t afford my bills, and that is not our current situation.

My has always liked his career, but was not really liking the company he was working for. He has hobbies he has tinkered with the idea of turning into a career path. I thought losing his job might be a chance for him to pursue something different for himself.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I haven’t got the impression that you’re presenting yourself as being in a dire situation. I can totally empathise with feeling like you really need an additional challenge in your life from a work perspective. I think it can take time for us to realise our own potential. This is especially true for women who are now in their middle years. I suspect the pity is, when women do figure out they have a great deal of potential, their life circumstances hold them back. While you may not resent your husband having taken the lead in terms of his career, it sounds as though life has opened a door for you to try something for yourself and yes, perhaps this change means your husband can go in a different direction too.

My husband was made redundant about a year after we got together. He had a great job, earned plenty and then suddenly didn’t. It can really be hard on their self-esteem. He was lucky because he had his own business as well and so he put his now available energy into developing that. He’s never looked back. He could probably earn more working for someone else, but he loves his work, he’s very good at it and he’s in charge of his own destiny. So what initially seemed like a bad thing has turned out to be a very good thing.

I’m lucky because he’s always encouraged me to go after my own dreams. As I said, I’d love to travel more and to work overseas but I don’t feel deprived because I can’t do that. It’s all about finding a balance between our two careers. I hope you can find balance between both of your different career needs. And don’t listen to people who tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. Had I listened to naysayers, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now. People who should have been my greatest supporters were not.

JLeslie's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit I should clarify that my husband wholly supports me pursuing whatever I want career wise, with the exception that we both are realistic that financially his career takes precedent. If I had a career opportunity in a different city than his job and I really wanted he would support it. It’s difficult online to explain all the complexity of the situation, although I think you have a good understanding of my situation and your own story helps me, along with other answers here.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I think I do have a good understanding and no, I haven’t got the impression he’s holding you back in a negative way. My sense is he’s had opportunities that he’s taken and you’ve supported his decisions. In the end, we make decisions that will give our family the best outcomes. I could go and work in another city and my husband would support me, but I’d hate to be away from him. Obviously, if your earning potential will only bring in a percentage of what your husband can, you have to put his career in the driving seat. Still, perhaps this is an opportunity to at least see what is out there for you both. I hope it works out. I’m sure it will. :-) There’s no harm in seeing what opportunities might be out there. I always figure I’d feel worse if I didn’t at least try something.

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