Yesterday's Teatime Topic was: How late is too late to start your life over? How old is too old to change career paths and start again?Is there a point where you simply accept the choices you've made? Have you ever hit the reset button on your own life? Have you ever been tempted to and chose not to? Why?
When you're a kid, there was a fabulous cultural remedy to situations we'd gotten ourselves into, and suddenly needed to get out of. It was called the Do-Over. Remember that? How wonderful was that? Roll a bad roll at Monopoly? Do-Over. Throw the ball shorter than home plate? Do-Over! Botch your spelling test and need a second chance? Do-Over! (or, retake, depending on your teacher, but really, why argue semantics when I'm trying to make a point?)
Somewhere along the way to middle school, the phrase drops out of our language. Legally, though, the government gives you a Do-Over, a chance to start your life fresh, until your 18th birthday. After that, you're on your own, kid. You make your choices, you live with them.
But at what point do we pull back and admit that things aren't going the way we'd planned? At some point, is it still okay to shout Do-Over, reset, and set off on a new path, trying to readjust? Or, should we keep plugging away at the choices we've made, hoping that the outcome changes?
I've been wrestling with these questions for about 2 years now. It was about that time that I realized that certain business changes within my company left me with...shall we say...exceedingly limited upward mobility. There seems to be a growing trend of hiring outside the company, instead of promoting from within. Those who do get promoted from within are hand picked for their positions, instead of the application process being an even playing field. The last three job postings that came out, I knew on sight who was going to be hired into that position, and I was right. Those of us on the bottom tiers are having a harder time than ever climbing the ranks.
I don't want to sound like I'm complaining. The company I work for does take good care of their employees, and frankly, our benefits can't be beat. It's steady work, and the pay isn't great, but I can live on it. I've been here for 5 years, trying to make it through the ranks, and honestly? I'm at the same place I am when I started.
This all sort of came to a head when I was informed that the job that I've held temporarily, that I've been hoping would convert to a permanent position is being eliminated. According to the rumours, it's going to be outsourced to another company. The news felt like a kick in my stomach. I've been working so hard for this, and now it's just...disappearing? The verbiage they used in telling me was, 'this position will be going to professionals.'
Um...what the hell am I?
Apparently, not a professional, and not qualified for a position that I've been in for several years. Funny how, even though I'm not qualified, I've held the position and done a damn good job at it. But, that doesn't matter. I'm just a worker bee for a much larger hive, and it's becoming more and more apparent that this is a job, not a career.
So what do I do? Do I keep working in the same job, knowing that I will probably be doing exactly the same thing, for about the same pay in five years? Can I be happy with myself?
I was awake an entire night wrestling with this. In the morning, I got out of bed, and waited until the clock got late enough that I could call my dad and not have him panic. We've had our problems, yes, but this is a big issue, and I knew I needed to hear what he had to say. He completely surprised me, reminding me that my mom had gone to college to get her RN at 35, and she wasn't the oldest person in her class. He said that it's not too late to change directions, I just needed to decide what I wanted to do. And, most importantly, he said that I had his support if I wanted to make some changes.
I actually had to pull the phone away from my ear and check to make sure I'd dialed the right number...really? This was my dad? ...wow....
I instantly felt worlds better.
So, I'm actually looking at going back to school. I know, I know, right? College, round 2? I already have my B.A, though, so getting a second degree is actually not going to be a big trick. I've actually been talking to several schools that have nursing programs in the area, and found out that in about 2 years of full time school, I could be a licensed RN. 2 years! That's...that's like...nothing at all.
AND, I've been put in touch with several programs that will PAY for me to go to school, as long as I agree to work for them when I'm done. Um...wait...so, you're going to give me a job, no, scratch that, a CAREER and you're going to pay for my schooling to get there?...
Maybe sometimes it's okay to take a pause and say, you know, I'm not happy. This isn't where I wanted to be.
I need a Do-Over. And I'm taking it.