Chain Gang

by johndsykes86

Someone on twitter posted an article for young writers about not making it as a writer. While not a direct response to that post, it was an interesting parallel to my own struggles with career choices in the last week. So naturally I wrote about it.

I found myself coming to at 10am on Thursday, finding myself deciphering patterns in drywall ceilings and already clocked in and on a call that seemed to drone on longer than the 5 minutes registered on my phone. Somehow, I am fully dressed and cognitive enough to explain the difference between terminal services and VPN. The person on the other side of the line is as perplexed about the the answer given as I am disinterested in giving it.

Somehow, through Job-like patience or actual understanding of the resolution given, I find myself off the call. My notes done, hands already moving to pick up the next call in a infinite stream of the sort soul-crushing defeat that can only come with customer-facing phone support can bring, I find myself 3 minutes later staring at the notes before hitting save, end call, ready. I obviously can not be awake because I’m reading something that should definitely not be in the notes.

“What the fuck am I doing here?”

Existential questions about the path you chose in life usually aren’t a part of the job description. But there it was was. The question I had begin to ask myself in earnest with really knowing now appeared unbidden and frankly unwanted in digital form…

With my brain racking every possible excuse that I could conjure up with upward mobility and career paths bought and paid for with that imaginary currency of seniority, I realized with that same soul-crushing weight that usually comes free with my many support cases that I simply didn’t have an answer.

The next couple of days were spent soul searching in my room, a sort of forensic investigation of where my goals didn’t reach reality and piecing together where it all went horribly so horribly wrong.

Let’s step aside and be realistic for second so I don’t come off like some woe-is-me chump, I have a job, a roof over my head, and on occasion…discretionary funds and a lot of people aren’t as lucky.

It was no surprise that I had more questions than answers after racking my brain several hours for multiple days. It was only on a walk to 7-11 that things got a bit more clearer. I didn’t really want to climb a corporate ladder or become a career student, stuck in a cycle of debt avoidance. I simply wanted to do all the things except the one I was doing for a living. I do something now that I love to a certain extent but not something that’s a passion. It was something to pay the bills and debt, which was going nowhere despite my efforts. For every vacation, I had some new low to look forward to when coming back.

I had became, at 27, the thing I said I wouldn’t be at 16-17 seeing so many of the parents at the daycare I worked for tired and unhappy and passing that to their kids

I wasn’t enjoying work. I was becoming work.

The things I wanted to do as a career were replaced with something I could suffer and toil away at and not risk not being there for my mom and family. Admirable at the time, but 5 years after and now 3k miles always from said family, that decision was the source of my strife.

So now what? Hell if I know. Going back to school seems great, exciting even. Learning to program in something other than Basic and HTML would be a worthwhile challenge. Writing more, even if it isn’t for money, isn’t that bad of a thing either.

I just don’t want to look at this entry written a different way in 3 years. I just don’t. I would have failed myself in the biggest way if I find myself repeating these words.

So where to begin?

PS: if you’re looking for someone to write his ass off about something and you’re willing to pay me all of the monies, please don’t let my previous statement prevent me from parting with your cash.