Wednesday, September 02, 2009

here i am, back again

The way I'm feeling today is due to sleep deficiency (it's not easy to make yourself fall asleep by 9 p.m.) and fatigue from two days of feeling like a deer caught in headlights. On roller skates.

There are so many this-is-an-exception-to-the-rule-don't-write-this-part-down moments in the job I'm trying to learn that people say it takes a minimum of 90 days to get it all straight. Of course I assumed that amount of time did not apply to me; I expect myself to master things on the first or second attempt and not picking things up right away sends me into a shame spiral. This has happened at every job, and yet it catches me by surprise every time.

But this time I feel a sadness on top of the disappointment and confusion. I got smacked in the face by just how totally out of my element I am. During break someone was reading a gossip mag that mentioned something pertaining to my old career she thought was surprising. I saw an opportunity to show I'm not totally brainless (despite the number of times I ask people to re-explain certain things), so I shared some behind-the-scenes knowledge from my old job. The person um-hmmmed. I started to elaborate, but she cut me off with a comment about Heidi Pratt's boob job.

At that moment it was clear nobody in this new arena is going to give a blob of zebra poop about my old career or how good I had been in it. It's the feeling I'd get at Indian parties when some Uncle asked what I studied and when he heard that it wasn't medicine or law or engineering, he'd put on the death-in-the-family expression, say "that's nice beta" and start talking to somebody else as if I had wasted his time. As much as it really shouldn't matter, that shit makes me think of myself as a zero for a long time.

I realize that's silly and this is an adjustment. I'm sure I'll go through some kind of mourning period, too. But reality is nipping at my ankles. It's like I got caught in a loop right back to when I started this blog in 2005: living at my parents' house while barely covering a fat mortgage on someplace else, and working hours that designate the tv as my main extra-curricular companion. My conversations with H don't even benefit from a time-zone difference. But at least I'll get to see him on the weekends.

I am also looped back to where I was back in 2000, the place where I spent four years as a volunteer and another four years as a seasonal employee trying to convince myself that a career in medicine could be viable for me. I decided it couldn't and bucked my parents' expectations to go in my own direction. For years I busted my behind for peanuts, crap hours and no vacation time, hoping it'd eventually feel rewarding. In return, I got laid off three times in three years and had to vie against the best as well as the least expensive competition in my industry.

This time around, medicine seems more viable--what with all the real-world experience I have now--and at least I secured a steady part-time position. I had my shot at what I thought I wanted to be when I grew up, and it wasn't a cakewalk, either. I guess I have to throw the sense of entitlement I built up from working hard all that time into the trunk, lock it up and suck it up. It's nice that mom and dad have held back from saying they'd told me so.

5 comments:

SupaCoo said...

Starting a new job is always so hard and stressful, even if it's an "easy" job. This is NOT an easy job. Hang in there.

Noelle said...

I have similar feelings, as I'm in yet another career do-over. I hope you find happiness where you are, or at least here on this blog!

Teej said...

It's never easy (and rarely fun) being the new kid on the block, especially when you're the new kid who doesn't know anything about the block.

On the other hand, I think few things in life make us smarter faster than getting thrown into an unfamiliar situation headfirst. Adaptability may be one of the most important skills you can have in life, and you're getting even better at it right now.

How 'bout that?

Teej said...

And I forgot to say congrats on your new job! Paychecks are wonderful things.

Guyana-Gyal said...

When life gets tough, my favourite auntie writes to tell me, This too shall pass.

The recession will go, life will get better and you will re-enter the career you love.

Store away material for future times...

Oh, and as for those folks who think that only medicine is important...they're the sad ones.

To heal physically, we need mental and emotional 'medicine'. We need laughter, we need peace, we need thought...writers, musicians, artists can offer these. In fact, in some hospitals [I've read this], they paint the walls with beautiful pictures and play soft music.

Read Rabindranath Tagore's short story about storytelling.