It figures: I ramble on for years about my quest for meaningful work that pays a living wage, and then suddenly one file, randomly encountered online, captures all those hundreds (or thousands) of words in a single image.
Well, that’s all right, really. I’m as big a fan as any of a good Venn diagram, and this one sets my geeky heart aflutter. Seriously, I could spend hours debating and tweaking and otherwise applying this chart to my own situation, reading it like tea leaves or entrails for signs of what I ought to do.
But the larger question remains: why, after three years of blogging, have I not progressed beyond sight of the proverbial Square One?
I really don’t get it: I’m intelligent and well-educated; I have passion, skills, and experience. (For example, however it might appear on this blog, I know I can wordsmith with the best of them.) I’ve blogged any number of times about various schemes and dreams I’ve concocted, brainstorms and half-baked plans to strike it rich…well, rich enough.
But where to find the time and/or chutzpah to take one or more of those ideas and run with it/them?
I’ve tried my hand at freelance writing and editing, but that’s yet to prove sustainable, much less lucrative. And I still harbor dreams of turning my passion for promoting Sudbury schools into viable work, but that dream’s been around much longer than three years, and here I am.
So what’s wrong with this picture?
Is it naive, adolescent idealism on my part to hold out for work that’s worthwhile and passion-driven, to avoid what smacks of settling or selling out? Is my conditioning or reticence or inconsistent self-confidence holding me back?
I do think that if I were more extroverted, or if I hadn’t grown up in a world where you picked a career and were able to stay with it, I might be more inclined to strike out on a more entrepreneurial path. Instead, one of the talents I’ve developed over the years involves donating my services or selling them at bargain-basement prices, because my desire to serve tends to trump my desire for material security.
So, how does one find decent work? I mean it: what combination of networking and conventional job applications do I throw into the pot to make this stew palatable? What magical websites can give me the Sorting Hat treatment and send me in a fruitful direction?
Fortunately, I still have the time and savings to find my way to sustainability, though I am growing a bit weary of living monkishly. At an intuitive level, I believe that delving deeper into my Zen practice would help, as mindfulness, clarity, and service are already things I cherish. I’ve also begun toying with the idea of pursuing a graduate degree in counseling as something that might lead me to the purple dot at the center of that Venn diagram.
But my cushion of savings and minimalist lifestyle won’t sustain me too much longer. I need not merely plans, but a plan of action, and I need it now.