My first job was scooping ice cream when I was 14. Well, actually I did some filing for a neighbor’s business when I was 12, but shhhh, that was probably illegal. Suffice it to say I am well past the age of 14 now and have always worked in some capacity or other and for the most part, been able to support myself. Some might say I’m too antsy to be idle. That’s probably a fair assessment. And all the other reasons I’ve always worked are probably great fodder for a psychological study.
That one concept though, being able to support myself, sits like a circle in the middle of a mapping exercise. There are a lot of offshoots that come off that circle, but the idea of self-support is something I value strongly (more fodder for another psychological study). Money for the sake of money isn’t the motivator, money for the sake of living – in a house, with food on the table, and some extra for fun – is. That’s not to say I don’t like nice things or travel or hobbies, I do. But I sit on an underlying fear that I won’t have what I need to be warm, dry and full.
So while that’s the basis for wanting to work, I also like to feel productive, want to contribute to my family and society, like to learn new things and yes, have a hard time sitting still. My overactive, analytical, Type-A brain yearns for things to chew on and stew over.
So, this period of transition of not working is weird for me. I fill my days with productive things like practicing 21st-century job seeking practices, taking online classes, etc. At the end of the day, I know I’ve accomplished something, if not many things. And I don’t feel pressure from anyone other than myself to get this job search done. But I do feel the pressure from myself. What more could I do, who else could I meet, what other resume could I send out? It’s that impatient side of me, I guess.
I aspire to fit into the mold of “working to live” in the sense that Richard Branson would say it: working to earn enough to create experiences and live with no regret. But right now I have to win the struggle of knowing I’m doing all I can to literally work to live and that I’m going to be able to make an impact somewhere, soon. I won’t lie, though; it is a struggle.