Thursday, 19 March 2015

What it might mean when you begin to "put yourself in charge"

Uggh, I've been having frequent interrupted sleeping lately - just waking up at various times in the night for no particular reason (or when experiencing hormonal night sweats! yes, they are a big drag) and the latest advice on the net is to gear yourself up early for a night of good sleep by turning off screens- get away from the laptop, tablet, phone and turn off the telly at least an hour before hitting the sack. So, as I sit here at 11.30 pm on the spur of the moment decision to look at my neglected blog, I wonder what I am setting myself up for tonight. Let's see how it goes. I'm going to make this post short in some attempt to have some peace later on.

I've logged on now, I guess, because my mind has been in a bit of a whirl about what my next moves in life will be. My job is now finished - the final day was last Thursday. I've gone through the expected lengthy questioning about whether I made the right decision to move now before I have something else lined up, have experienced, and am still experiencing aches of guilt that I am not contributing financially to the family income at the moment, and feeling a bit of a sense of loss, if nothing else, of the routine that one has when one pick's oneself up everyday, often through the cold and rain on the bike, to participate in the conflicting world of paid work. If only we didn't invest so much of our identities in this, it may feel easier to move on and forward.

For the last couple of months I've been confining my job searches to suitable university administration/project work, and as I posted in January (or late December) I was unsuccessful in my last interview - still it was a good experience. Over the last few days I've started to widen the search out of curiosity to see what sorts of things might be possible. Chris Humphrey's postac Jobs On Toast website has been helpful in prompting some of this. But it was an article I came across tonight by Jennifer Polk 'Be vulnerable, be brave' that offered a few words of wisdom and has been sticking with me. Reading it felt like confirmation that my decision to leave the job now was the absolute right thing to do. The more I think about it, the more I realise that this move is my first step in beginning to "put yourself in charge" as Jen writes. Her final words, the internet speak "takeaway" message is this:

be vulnerable, be brave, and put yourself in charge. Whatever comes of it, at least you'll know you gave it your all, and that you honoured who you really are. You owe yourself that much. I'm rooting for you.

Thank you Jen, for rooting for the postacs who are making these kind f decisions, but also for people like me, a postac who's already made the transition out of the PhD, adjunct world and into alternative employment (albeit as an 'alt-ac', but still...). I'm just another example of what this working world is now like. Nothing is forever, new challenges are always presenting themselves and forcing us out of our comfort zones. It's hard sometimes to get to the point where we can will ourselves to 'be vulnerable' when it doesn't always instantly reward us or make us feel heroic about its related sense of 'bravery'. But vulnerability is an important, meaningful part of growth and won't do us too much harm. Onward I go. Let's hope that the night ahead is filled with sweet dreams.

See Jennifer Polk's website;

Apologies for not providing links - too much to manage at this hour. Next step - laptop shut down.