Wanted: answers to my personal job ad

In response to my last, rather heartfelt, blog post a friend recommended a practical little book called ‘How to find fulfilling work’ by Roman Krznaric.  So far it’s proving a gem.  Not great for bedtime reading, as every few pages there is a question to consider or an exercise to complete, but perfect for that almost-back to school twitchiness and the re-emergence of evenings spent doing things other than quaffing wine to recover from full-on days with the kids or being somewhere else (or both).

One of the exercises to help look wider than the obvious is to write your own personal job ad and ask ten people you know from different careers and backgrounds to suggest two or three jobs for you – the more specific the better (so more ‘volunteer project work with street kids in Rio de Janeiro’ than ‘work with children’).

Where better to find a diverse group of people than right here.  Ideas anyone?

 

Personal qualities

Thrive on variety

Optimist

Highly analytical

Quick to pick up new things

Highly goal- and action-oriented

Dislike uncertainty and risk but willing to take them on

Like to be in control

Don’t like to fail

Emotional & expressive

Care a lot about what other people think of me

Determined

WANTED:

A JOB MADE FOR ME

 Annabel Deuchar close up crop

Talents

Communication

Generating ideas

Making connections

Planning, organising & structuring

Researching & analysing

Being a sounding board

Using my imagination

Creative problem solving

Spatial awareness

Staying focused

 

Passions

The great outdoors – hiking, cycling, camping, running, snowboarding, sailing

Experiencing life & the world

Singing my heart out

Writing

Thinking

Reading

My family & friends

Other important info

Career needs the flexibility to fit with family commitments

Causes/values I care about

Education

Gender equality

Being true to oneself

Living healthily and taking care of our planet

Being a good person

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Lost: One sense of purpose and identity

Lost identity and purpose image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know it’s hot, I know it’s nearly the end of term and I know everyone is tired and grumpy.  But underneath all that, I feel a bit lost.

When Master H started nursery last Autumn, I started writing picture book stories.  It felt purposeful, and more simply, I enjoyed the creative process and feeling I created something I was proud of and could enjoy with the kids.  I knew, however, that it probably wouldn’t be a career for me – writing is too solitary.  Starting up a business with a friend in January brought home to me how much I thrive on working with others, and how much I enjoy business stuff.  The process was a delight – often difficult but also completely energising to be purposefully engaging my brain on something outside my domestic enclave, that had potential, and with a good friend to boot.   Sadly it came to an end as my partner had to pull out in May.

But not to worry, that freed my time to focus on training for my first triathlon, which I completed on 30 June and really enjoyed.  So far, so purposeful, albeit in different directions.  But, now what?

Nothing.

Well, not quite nothing.  Organising social engagements, managing the kid’s logistics, keeping on top of the garden/house/allotment, trying to find ways to manage Master H’s belligerence and anger without running to the hills to hide and cry.  Yada, yada, yada.  Same old, same old.  Make a list, cross them off, make a new one.

It’s just not enough.  I don’t have the right balance – I am losing the joy of what I have because I don’t have an ‘other’ to help me appreciate it.

But what ‘other’ should it be?  I’m back, yet again, to the same old question of work / family balance.  With Master H starting big school next term, the challenge looms large.

I feel like I’m on the cusp of turning into someone I don’t want to be.  A kept woman – one of those Stepford wives with perfect hair, perfect home, perhaps doing good work for charities and her local community, lots of hobbies (probably tennis), always baking / making / doing with her kids, always there at school.

AARRRGGGHHHH.  I’m not even 40 for goodness sake.  I have a fantastic education.  I have a decent brain that I feel best when using.  Was it all for this?

No, it wasn’t.  But I am in need of a different perspective to help me see through the morass of options and considerations in a clear and structured way.  I need to tell myself to JFDI, whatever ‘it’ is.

I feel helpless in the face of the school year waxing and waning, the innumerous occasions to be present, the inevitability of the next break in the school term fast approaching and the competing desires to be a present mother and a fulfilled, purposeful person.

After 18 months not working I have come full circle.   I feel a reluctance to give up being the person who takes the kids to and from school, friends, activities and occasions every day and the flexibility that affords us to make the week work whichever way we want to.

So there we are.  I don’t want to give up being a full time mother, although I often think it would improve the time I spend with them and patience I have for it.  I don’t want to do a job just for the sake of it without actually enjoying what I am doing.  I don’t want to be a stereotype of a middle class stay at home mother filling her time with doing good and domestic bliss.

Clearly what I want is best said by Queen.

“I want it all, I want it all”

On the face of it setting up my own business would be the way to go.  I know from watching friends doing it that it has many challenges, and taking on a job around family life puts pressure on everything else.  But I still want to pursue it.

Sounds like I might have answered my own ad.  Except that I need a decent business proposition. I have had one, but at this point it doesn’t look viable.  I haven’t given up on it just yet, but I might have to.

Back to the drawing board.  It feels like the most used drawing board ever over the past year.  Let’s hope it has some life in it yet.