Jan 3, 2010

The frustration sets in...

After two blissful weeks of family, food, and presents--and only three short days of work wherein I had nothing to do but finish book 12 of the Wheel of Time series--I'm feeling very resistant to the whole idea of going back to work. I never thought I'd be working here for so long. I was going to make it through a year and, if there were no prospects for promotion on the horizon, move on to something else. Of course, right before my one year anniversary, the bottom fell out of the economy and I've spent the last year scouring job postings for something more appealing, only to find there are hardly any jobs out there at all.

I'm still not sure what I want to do with myself. I'm thinking about starting a master's program for HCI in the fall but it's so expensive and I'm not sure, not 100% sure, that that's what I want to do. I don't know what I want to do at all. I know I want to do something, but every time I come up with one idea, it just doesn't quite seem to be it.

I feel like I'm chasing mirages. Some dream job/perfect life that doesn't exist.

There are other things. When we got home this afternoon, I took one look around our apartment and wanted to cry. Everything is such a mess. There are a lot of things that need to be thrown out, even more that need to be organized and put away instead of placed in semi-related piles all over the house, and everything needs to be cleaned. For some of it, there is no other word than filthy.

I hate coming home to that. It seems like everything else in my life. A lot of cluttered useless bullshit that I don't need but can't throw away, endless piles of things that I don't know if I need or not and so I let them stack up, and so many corners where all the garbage has been pushed, instead of being tossed out.

I'm so frustrated with everything, but mainly with myself. Why can't I make a decision? Why can't I choose a direction? My whole life, I've always had a clear plan. Ambition, goals, drive. Now there is nothing to move toward. At least, nothing definitive.

I don't know what to do.


  1. I feel that way at times. Things were easy in the past with structure and reasonable, systematic choices. The process was gradual and you could see where you were going.

    After graduating college with a degree that doesn't necessary lead to law, medical, or business school, I've found the number of choices and possibilities can be overwhelming. I call it option paralysis.

    I think that article you posted on the Quarter Life Crisis touched on it. There are so many things I want to do, so many things I want to be, and I worry that choosing door A means I can't also pick door B. They say the solution is to just get started and pick something. Hmm. I think my problem is knowing where to start.

    Good luck with everything! I hope you find yourself confidently on the right path for you in the near future.

  2. Hey,

    I found a link to this post from here: http://robot-heart.tumblr.com/post/315685399/i-feel-like-im-chasing-mirages-some-dream .

    I'm still in school but I totally sympathize. The job search is really freaking me out. You probably don't need advice from a stranger, but if it helps you at all, you might try taking on your problems one at a time. Cleaning the apartment is the easiest to solve, and then you can take some time to envision your life the way you want it and how you might get there. Maybe that's too vague, but if it helps at all, I'll be glad I posted.

    Good luck either way. If you want to read my blog, you can find it here: http://grayandgreen.tumblr.com

  3. very quarter life crisis entry. i'm there with you. sometimes i tell myself that it doesn't matter what you do, life is a canvas, do whatever. you can just be as unhappy with being a doctor or a lawyer than being barista.. or something. but then i tell myself maybe i'm just justifying not having a direction.

    all i can tell you is that you're not alone and to keep on swimming. cleaning the apartment will help you feel better about your life. something about a clean home helps clean up some clutter in your mind.

  4. My two-cents' worth advice would be don't place so much importance on your job as defining who you are and fulfulling you. I was there a couple years ago when I had to make the committment to grad school, but now that I've made my decision, I don't stress about my career path. Sure, there might be other things out there that I'd enjoy doing, but I'm committed to this path, and it will work for me, so I don't worry about it - I gave up the quest for "the most perfect" option and went with a good one, and so far so good! Doesn't mean I always enjoy what I'm doing (I mean, I'm posting on your blog instead of studying for my exam!), but the decision-making process is done, so I can just move on with the making myself do this thing now. It doesn't have to define me or be perfect - after all, it's called work for a reason! It just has to be something that I can make a living at that will allow me to be about as happy as any other option would.

  5. No offense to "Anonymous," but I hate the expression that "it's called work for a reason." My father uses that on me ALL the time when I'm complaining about work. At the same time, how do you reconcile that expression with the other famous one that says "find something you love to do and you will never work a day in your life." It seems to me that we the 20-something 20-everything generation are trying to find that one thing we love, but we just keep running into "WORK."
    Katie -- I sympathize with the mess situation. Take a day out of your life (a Sat or Sun maybe), put your headphones on, and just do it. That's one of the things I find relaxing to do when I have a day off: clean the house. Start with a big black trash bag and go to every room in the house and throw out the trash. Then take a box and put things you'd like to give away (and actually DO it -- put the box in your car to take to salvation army), then put the clothes in piles and do laundry. Once the trash, the junk and the clothes are out of your way, the rest is putting things in a place where they would likely belong. As for the kitchen, ask your fiance to help you with it (it's easy to just put stuff in the dishwasher and clean the counters, so he'll be done with it in no time).
    It takes a day, but you will feel SO MUCH BETTER afterwards. From personal experience, your anxiety over what to do with your life will NOT go away, but at least it won't be made worseby the mess in the house. It's one less BIG thing to worry about.
    Let us know how it goes!!!