Six of One, and Resolving Ambivalence

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Well, it is official – I have accepted an offer.  On June 6 I’ll be starting my new position.  And I couldn’t be more ambivalent.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am incredibly grateful for the nod of confidence, and while it may not be my dream job, it could be a very strong step in my career at the same time as have the potential to open completely new avenues to me.  I am perfectly content to close the book on the other opportunities I had been pursuing – there are genuine distinct advantages of this position over the others, and while those other positions did seem to have even more perks than this one, it is not just sour grapes which are causing me to look forward to my new job.

And I am ready to start working again.  Sure, my skills may have atrophied somewhat, but I still have the energy and desire to see the job get done right.  With the vast amount of off-time I have had (even if it was not as “off” as I might wish) I should have enough stored work ethic to make a solid start at the new gig.

I’m not even bothered so much by the commute – though it promises to be a daily trudge without the hope of telecommuting, I have spent so much of the past two years stuck inside my house that I am even ready to venture outside and deal with people on a daily basis again.

Maybe my ambivalence has to do with a formal structure.  During this time between formal jobs I have had an incredibly flexible schedule.  Between consulting jobs, writing, household chores and family obligations, I pretty much had the run of my own day, doing things when it was most productive for me to do them.  If I wanted to mow the lawn before doing my work, then I could do that.  And if I wanted to take a three-hour break between those two activities, that too was alright, as I knew both would be done before the end of the day.

It’s definitely bothering me that I will have less time with the kids – I won’t have the same kinds of time before and after school, and I certainly won’t have the same energy in the evenings.  I hate to miss all those little milestones – they just grow up so quickly.  But at the same time, I am fairly confident that the time we will have together will be less wasted – all the reading, the playing, the togetherness (even in the necessary chores) will be crammed into a shorter period of time, concentrating our hours together with activity.

Besides, eight hours a day of guaranteed quiet, without hearing “DADDY!” (quickly followed by anything from the most inane to the most outlandish), is not going to be such a bad thing 🙂

I do feel a lot better about the money situation – we are not out of the woods yet, but at the risk of calling down the wrath of the JINX gods, it seems we are back on a path again.

So what has me so iffy?

I think it’s just the finality of knowing what I will be doing tomorrow (and next month, and probably next year).

During these past two years, I have had the luxury of fantasy – every opportunity that crossed my path was filled with excitement, imaging the possibilities facing me.  I talked with people at some of the coolest companies on the planet, and envisioned what my life would be like working in those environs.  At times I could see myself again traveling the world, going to exotic places and making a real difference for my company while advancing the career I had stumbled upon so long ago.  At other times I saw myself breaking into an entirely new industry, focused on the sports world, involved with movies and television, or even running my own business.

These were not complete flights of fancy either, but a real visualization technique intended to help me achieve those goals.  Sure, some of the images that crossed my mind were not so beautiful – dark, depressing places which saw me despairing for my kids’ future – but even that helped steer me in the the right directions.

I came within a breath of moving my family to the middle of the country, and frequently examined the looming possibility of having to move the family to New York for one position or another.

I had the chance to explore some completely different options – doing some freelance work, going back to school, writing a book.  None of those opportunities had a great chance of success, but each had a realistic possibility to pay out.  That they haven’t is neither a great mystery or tradegy – it was the opportunity itself, the chance to find a new avenue to success, however remote, which was the important part of the effort.  The journey itself, and not the destination, was the trip.

I do still have opportunities – not only are the majority of things I have discussed above not off the table, but new opportunities might also come up at any time.  Not to mention that the job itself bring its own opportunities – chances to find new, unexpected paths to contentment and fulfillment.

So why do I have these mixed feelings?  It’s certainly in my own nature, and I would hazard a guess to say that it’s in all our natures to question, to look at the positive and the negative, to wonder “what might have been”.

There have been enough times over the past two years when I have doubted myself, when I have regretted past or current courses of action, wishing I could have another go.

There have been so many times when I have asked myself, “what if I did THIS instead of THAT?”, inflicting a self-torture with no hope of abatement.

But that gets us nowhere.  The trick is to try to shut down those questions.  What’s done is done.  There’s no use crying over spilt milk, after all.

I have two more weeks before I start the new job, and I have a lot to do.  The work has already begun – clothes shopping, fixing up the car, and the most urgent of household repairs have been completed.  But the “honeydo” list is growing every day, seemingly every hour, and I know the next two weeks will be packed more with activity than rest.

I have some materials I can begin to look at – understand a little better what I’ll be responsible for – and as time dwindles down I know excitement (and trepidation) will build on its own.

As I transition away from what was, and prepare for what will be, with a proper mental attitude the “what was” will fade further into the past, and the excitement of “what may be” will become ever more present.

And most important will be to continue to do those things which have helped keep me sane over these past two years – maintaining this site, writing fiction, and finding the other myriad things which helped me move forward when major chunks of my life were standing still.  Now that life will again be propelling me forward, I need to make sure not just to keep my head above water, but to keep swimming, even if at times it seems against the current.

I think the Life of Brian put it best:

2 Responses to “Six of One, and Resolving Ambivalence”
  1. Jason says:

    Woo Hoo! When you can let me know more about the job title and responsibilities I may have some contacts with the organization (not naming it til you do) but good job, great finish to the blog post.

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