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Subtitle: Great new job, and I hate it already.

This could almost be considered a post from the files of someone who’s never satisfied. Or at least from the files of someone who pretty obviously doesn’t know what he wants from life.

Almost 3 months ago, I finally pulled the pin at my job with the Homeless Shelter. There were a number of reasons why I finally screwed up the courage to hand in my notice. First of all, I had achieved what I set out to do at that job. When I got hired on, I set myself two goals.One was to survive it for at least two years. A tougher challenge than you may think, given an industry with an average career life span of under 6 months. It’s a stressful environment to work in, and people just don’t last. My second goal was to work towards gaining a supervisory position. I achieved that when I was promoted to supervising one of their satellite buildings, and I held that position for most of my second year.

It may sound odd, but after I achieved the goals I had set out for myself, I got a strong sense of “now what”? Sure, I still got satisfaction from the work I was doing. Helping people in need can be very rewarding work. But, personally, I kept asking myself “Where do I go from here?” And I couldn’t come up with any clear or viable answers. There really wasn’t any other job within the agency that I wanted. Sure, I could have hung on and tried to “move up the ladder,” but that would have pulled me further away from “the problem” and more into an administrative role. Without fail, the people I had seen take this step began to lose their focus on the individual people in the system and become wrapped up in the administrative challenges of a large NGO.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, or that it’s a strike against the character of the people who it happens to. It is, in fact, a necessary transition in any large corporation or NGO. At some point, people have to stop looking at the trees, and step back to look at the health of the forest as a whole. I’m just saying that it isn’t what I wanted to do in that environment. I had simply gotten to know too many individuals too well, and I knew I would have trouble making the break.

Which brings us to the second major reason I left. I had gotten to know too many of our clients too well. And it was killing me emotionally to watch the slow, downward spiral that represented their lives. I still saw them as individuals, but there were certain patterns that would be consistent. You have no idea how hard it is to have a conversation with someone and in the back of your mind a little voice is saying “Buddy, you’ve got 1, maybe 2 years left of misery and then you’ll die.” Even worse was knowing there was precious little that could be done to prevent it.

The third major reason was the fact I was working nights, and long nights at that. It was taking a toll. My wife works a “normal people” schedule, 8-5 Monday to Friday. I was working 7pm to 7am, 4 on 4 off. This meant that our days off seldom coincided, and it seemed like we spent most of our time just passing in the wind. I’m fortunate to have a strong relationship with a wonderful woman, because the strain that my schedule was putting on our relationship was tremendous. If we had a weaker relationship, it would’ve collapsed under the weight.

And there were a hundred “little” reasons to leave. To be honest, I really didn’t realize how close I was to emotional collapse until after I left and I could feel the weight start to lift.

After I left I took almost two months before I even started to look for work. Essentially it was decompression. Getting used to a daylight schedule, and dealing with “normal” people on a regular basis again was fairly challenging. When I started to look for work, I was stunned by how easy the process was. I received a job offer at my very first interview. I turned it down. I ended up accepting my fourth job offer, doing something that, by all accounts, is a great line of work, with good pay, benefits (they even were willing to waive the waiting period for the benefits package), 8 to 5, Monday to Friday. And my office is located literally across the street from my wife’s office.

I have a nice corner office and work with a great bunch of upbeat, capable people. It’s low stress work, and in another couple of months I get a company car.

Dream job.

And I just can’t get “into” it. I’m bored out of my skull. I’ve been here less than a month and I find myself asking “Is this it?” This is supposed to be the American Dream, or at least the Canadian version of it. Which maybe is appropriate, because I feel like I’ve just been sleepwalking for the past month. I find myself daydreaming about my last job. Looking for excitement and “trouble” on the weekends. Surfing YouTube when I have work that I should be doing, but really just doesn’t seem that important.

I dunno. I should probably just get my head out of my ass and accept the fact that I’ve lucked out. This is a really good job. I should count my blessings and just get down to work.

Instead I find myself looking up other NGOs to see if maybe I can get a low paid, high stress job doing humanitarian work overseas.

Some goal. I gotta get my head screwed on straight.

One Response to “Blogging from the new job.”

    You know you wanna come back. Only, now I get to be your boss 🙂 Bwahaha

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