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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Difficult Discussions

I have been reflecting a lot lately. Reflecting about life, about the choices I have made and those I have ahead of me. It is amazing how negative I am feeling about everything. My feelings have really changed a lot in a short time - when I was reflecting on 2011 I was so positive about the year to come.

The more I think about it, the more I think I need to make big changes to get myself out of this rut. I'd like to move back to Perth, start hunting for my own house to buy, find a more challenging job and something that I actually enjoy.

My manager has been increasingly inaccessible this year to date. He is hardly in the office, and when he is he doesn't have time to invest in the team. This means that I'm not getting challenging tasks, and I am getting tidbits of tasks rather than being part of a whole process.

Yesterday I bit the bullet and spoke to him about how I'm feeling about work. He suggested that maybe I was feeling this way because "the novelty has worn off". I replied that when I first started, I enjoyed getting across new subject matter and that it was challenging and enjoyable. But that's not challenging forever. I asked about the possibility of a transfer. He said 'no'. I asked if I could take a few days off to clear my head, and he said 'maybe, it depends on work loads'. That's fine, but I haven't had any 'work load' for the past 3 months, so what's going to change in the week?

The real problem is that I don't know what I want to do work wise. If I felt passionately about a career path, I would do whatever it takes to get there. Unfortunately, I am feeling uninspired by every choice available to me, and it's disheartening.

I have worked as a lawyer at a top tier firm. Hated it. I decided to move to Government, so that I could have a better work life balance and still do interesting work. While I was getting across new subject matter, I found it satisfying. I had slow, boring times and busy, exciting times. Now I am no longer challenged, and I'm not getting any personal satisfaction. It's too early to ask to transfer into a different area within the same Department in a general transfer round - I'd have to stick out the job I'm in for the next year if I stayed here.

My options if I move back to Perth:
  • Move back to a law firm, perhaps a smaller one. It will be challenging to do this as I have very limited experience at a law firm, and Government work is not really valued. It is do-able, but I'd have to take quite a substantial pay cut and who knows if I'd even enjoy it. I suppose I have nothing to loose.
  • Move to a different Government Department in Perth. This could work if a job came up at my level that sounds interesting. I have been scanning the APS jobs and WA Government Careers websites and nothing seems suitable at the moment. I'm not sure how easy it would be to transfer after only having 18 months experience in Government - 2+ years would make it a lot easier.
  • Go back to uni. I could study psychology or something else and look at going down a totally different career path. I cannot justify this after all the study I have already done, the large HECS debt already accrued and the amount of time I would have wasted on my previous studies (6 years!).
  • Take a break. Become a nanny again, as I did part-time during uni. The problem with this is that it would make getting back into my degree related workforce very tough. It doesn't look good that I have worked for a few months, taken a year off (that was 2010 - the year I traveled, and nannied, and was supposed to 'find myself), worked for another 18 months and then taken another year off. A prospective employer would ask why, and there isn't an honest answer that wouldn't make me look uncommitted and/or unbalanced. 
  • Find a job working on the mines. This could pay quite well even for a menial position. I think I'd find this interesting, but it presents the same problem re getting back into the workforce. It might also be difficult to secure a job because a law degree is not as helpful as a tafe diploma and/or work experience in getting a job as a kitchen hand for example! I don't have enough experience to get a FIFO job in law or anything related to my career to date.
There is no option that is that appealing at the moment, which is disconcerting. Anyone have any advice? How did you find a career path that you love? Did you have to try a few things first? I'd love to hear if anyone else has felt similar.


  1. I completely understand how you're feeling! My position is being made "redundant" at the end of this month, my initial thoughts where to just apply for every job that I knew I could do, until I started getting call backs and then I realized..Uh no thanks. Currently I work in our HR Team and run the recruitment side of the business its not sales based which I love, but right now the two jobs that I have gotten to second and final interview stages are two jobs that are so far different from each its not funny, One is working in a recruitment agency specializing in the government health sector which I have had NO experience in and the other is working in an in house HR team for a world wide marketing company.

    Its good to keep your options open I'm a strong believer in dipping your foot into different pools before you settle for what you know you want!..Try to stay positive :)

  2. This is what I think (and only my thoughts - feel free to completely ignore them). I think you should have an idea of what your ideal job would be and work back from there. If there is a Govt job you thinks is appealing, work out how to get there. This may involve doing a job you dislike for a certain period of time. I think it is easier to stay in a job that is a bit boring for a while if you see it as a means to an end, rather than a life sentence!

    I think I am a bit older than you (I can vividly remember wearing a Gerry Shaw dress similar to your vintage one to a ball when I was 20. Except the dress wasn't vintage then and neither was I....) and can honestly say that there are times in any job where it is beyond boring. There needs to be enough good bits, or a reward at the end to make it worth it.

    If you think you need a complete career change then why not go for it. I don't think any education is ever "wasted".

    Hang in there. I am sure it will all work out in the end.

  3. Thanks so much for your comments. I wish I knew what I wanted to do, but unfortunately I don't. If I had a direction, or something I was aiming for, I'd be a lot more motivated to get through boring times.

    What is one to do when (not for lack of trying), they can't think of any ideal job or position? *Sigh*

    1. Sorry to post a comment as a reply to yours, having such trouble with blogger lately, this is the only way it seems to let me comment on people's posts! Gah!
      Anyway here's my thoughts. Through our posts and comments back and forth, I know you've been feeling this way for a while. I think heading off for a holiday to clear your head would be a great thing for you, but I think your planned China trip is still a while away isn't it? In the meantime, maybe a few days off would be a good thing, even if you have to take some "mental health" days ;) Rest, reenergise, maybe do some online research in to possible career or study paths you could take from here, and make lists about what makes you happy. Hopefully something will stand out to you and maybe give you some ideas?

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