Helpless

I’m awake at 3:45 AM when I should have been asleep hours ago. Instead, I’m sitting in front of my computer, typing up my first blog entry in weeks. I’ve got a million things to say, yet no way to convey them. My mind’s racing. My fingers are frozen. I’ve restarted this entry four or five times by now and it still doesn’t feel right. It’s forced.

I was laying in bed after putting away a copy of Alternative Press and turning out the light. Usually, I’ve read until my eyes are half-closed. Tonight, I shelved the magazine out of sheer boredom. I was just flipping pages and skimming. No effort. No comprehension. Just recognition of letters and moving on. Laying in the dark, the weight of the world came crashing down on me, one tedious thought at a time.

I’ve got too much going on at once now and it’s wearing on me. Admittedly, I’m not a multitasker. My step dad has a phrase he uses ad nauseum: “I do one thing and I do it well.” But there’s a lot of truth to that with me. I divide and conquer. I pound away at one thing at a time until it’s done and then move on. The only problem is that what’s on my plate isn’t very conducive to that gameplan. That’s why I loved my three months on the road alone and why I’m quickly loathing the three months I’ve been home. There were few options and once I was pointed down a path, I could focus on accomplishing something, and moving on to the next thing with no loose ends from what I just left behind.

First and foremost, I need a job. The only problem is that I have absolutely no idea where I want to go. I’ll sit down in front of usa.jobs or Google and start typing locations. One day, I’ll bounce around Massachusetts jobs. The next day, I’ll ask myself what I’m doing… family and college football are my interests and priorities. Yet neither of those are in the Northeast. So I look somewhere closer like Nashville, TN or pieces of North Carolina and Virginia. Another day, I’ll go back to being attracted to Greenville, SC. Then realize how few non-blue-collar jobs there are in that area. Even today, a company in Charleston I had previously interviewed with (and been offered a job at) crossed my mind. They have openings. A good bit I qualify for. Then I wonder if it’s bad practice to apply at a place I’ve previously turned down. And why I don’t like Charleston. Finally, it dawns on me that my whole intention was to leave South Carolina and try something new. And then the cycle of bouncing all around the United States starts all over again.

Easy enough solution, right? I don’t know where I want to live so I’ll just focus on doing what I want to do. Um, well… That’s problem #2. I know I like databases and SQL. But that’s about all I know. IT career listings are almost always full of help-desk and trouble-shooting jobs. If I wanted that, I’m sure Best Buy’s Geek Squad is hiring. A lot of SQL-heavy jobs also require .NET experience with a programming language. Which I don’t have. I’d love to learn it though! So much so that I’ve looked online and at local tech schools to see if there were any classes centered around Visual Studio. Surprise! Dead end. No luck there. So I start looking for different jobs, like a business analyst. And after staring at hundreds of duties and tasks in job applications that just read as documentation busy work, it loses its appeal. And then I’m back on another neverending cycle with the duties, just as the location.

It’s frustrating.

Second, I’ve been working on my outline/timeline of my trip for a memoir. But after being frustrated at the job thing, it carries over into the outlining. Also, I don’t know how to write. I get going and want to document every tiny detail. It becomes a daily account rather than a story. I started a prologue covering my last few weeks at work. It started out really well, I thought. But it quickly turns into me simply walking through each and every detail and conversation I had with someone, regardless of whether it fits a story or plot. I include it because it’s simply the next action in line that I remember. Now there’s book frustration piling on top of the job-hunt frustration.

Lastly, I’ve been trying to read through a database fundamentals book to learn some new things for a project that’s been brewing in my head for awhile. But the wordiness and bland style of a textbook only add to the compounding frustrations. And I don’t have enough of a knowledge base to simply put down the book and grind away at my idea.

On all three – the job search, book writing, and database project – there’s a whole lot of time and effort put into each with little to no progress to be seen or appreciate. It all just feels like running in place.

It’s starting to get suffocating.

Throwing darts at a map for a weekend flight to somewhere across the country to run away from it all for a few days and punch my reset button is looking more and more appealing.

Any votes? I hear San Diego’s nice…

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8 Responses to Helpless

  1. Alexis Grant says:

    Hey — First off, we’ve all been there. I was there six months ago. See: http://alexisgrant.com/2010/09/01/why-feeling-lost-is-the-same-as-finding-your-way/

    Second — You are better off than you think. First of all, you recognize the importance of nailing down what you want to do. A lot of job seekers never even recognize that, and it’s really the first thing to tackle. Have you thought of working with a career coach or life coach? I know, it seems like we should be able to talk these things through with family or even by ourselves, but sometimes an outside perspective helps us really get to the heart of what we want. Another idea: Find people who are in a job that you’d like to have, and ask them how they got there. (LinkedIn is super helpful for this.)

    On writing, you’re also ahead of the pack simply by realizing that your memoir can’t be a log of “first I did this, then I did that.” Lots of writers develop an entire book this way without realizing it doesn’t work! But sometimes, for us newbies (because I had this same problem), it takes writing everything down to figure out what’s important to the story arc.

    Good luck — Keep us posted!

    • Ha! I appreciate for the comment and link. Too funny about the similarities.

      It was all probably a little over the top, given it was at 4AM, but a lot still holds true. And I know I’ll get there eventually. Just one of those times when everything hits at once. Not fun, but I know it gets better!

  2. Shyanne says:

    I am very good at revealing my deepest thoughts and feelings at 4 a.m. so join the crowd. You are not alone. My son is still in LA and still has not “found” himself or what he wants to do. He is doing “temp” jobs right now for money. I understand from hours of conversation with him how uterally frustrating it is not having found “his thing”. I would say don’t rush it. I know it seems like time is of the essence and you probably need money, but as I tell my son…you are still young. I know at 31 he does not feel young, but at 56 I know you are BOTH young to me.

    At least you don’t have a wife and kids that you must support! Nothing wrong with taking a short trip. I wish I could be in your place. Young, smart, life ahead of you. But I understand the frustration. I have it myself. Due to various disabilities, I’ve not had much luck with “regular jobs”. I am in a very empty nest right now and trying to decide what I want to do for the rest of my life. I have no savings or retirement so I pretty much have to work til i croak. I am working on freelance writing, but even so, I did not realize how many different paths there were to that career!! I find myself “wasting days” thinking and surfing hoping i will have an epiphany….LOL.

    I enjoy your writing and hope that you at least keep doing it as a sideline if you don’t decide to go there fulltime. Pet that puppy for me.

    Take Care,
    Shyanne

  3. Jess says:

    Hi, hope you don’t mind if I pop in and leave a comment. I’ve been through the job search thing with my daughter and my stepson. It took her 6 months + to find a job; she had no idea what she wanted to do with a degree in General Studies, emphasis in English, Speech Comm and Psychology. With my stepson, he graduated with a degree in business but he’s not a 9-5 type of guy. Out of desperation, I got him an interview through a friend as a photographer for a TV station–that was about 7 years ago. He’d never even played with a camera but they were willing to train so now that’s what he’s doing. He loves the adrenalin rush of busting meth labs, etc. πŸ™‚

    The thing is … you’re young. You can experiment with jobs. And places. Find a job anywhere, live and work there at least a year. If you don’t like it, move on. My stepson started here in Lake Charles, LA, then Beaumont, TX, then Shreveport, LA, then Little Rock, AR and now he’s in Jacksonville, FL. You know the old saying it’s easier to find a job when you have a job is true. πŸ™‚ I say all this assuming you aren’t married with children. πŸ™‚

    As for the writing, this blogpost was well written-with emotion. You can write. I suggest you write your memoir any way you want to write it–with detail or not, then go back and fix it–cut it–embellish it. You’re the king of your own memoir. πŸ™‚

    Needless to say, if you get the job thing under control, your writing will probably fall into place. Check hospitals too–they’re always needing IT guys.

    And btw, I like the hair … well, as long as it’s clean!

    Good luck to you with your writing and your job search. Come on down here to Louisiana … it’s a whole ‘nother world.

  4. Shannon-Nicole says:

    Hawaii always gets my vote for place to live. If you want to jaunt across the world and try out some different cultures look at http://www.eslcafe.com/
    San Diego is very nice, as is San Francisco, Santa Barbara and pretty much any coastal town in California.
    Start focusing in on what you really want and the opportunities will come flooding toward you.
    Shannon
    PS-No disrespect to Hope but I like the hair πŸ™‚

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