Thursday, July 11, 2013

What Do You Do?

I'm currently unemployed and not looking for work, both by my own choice. This is the first time in my adult life that I've ever been in this position.  Lots of people say "That must be nice" and it is, but to be honest, it feels kinda weird. I'm trying to relax and enjoy it but that isn't really in my nature.

I got my first paying job when I was 15, at a dog kennel. I held that job through high school and into college, where I also held a work study job on campus. I worked around my classes and on weekends.  When I was 20,  I moved to North Carolina. I began looking for work immediately and had a job within two weeks. When I moved to Montana eight years later, I transferred with the company I was working for. In 2010, I lost that job and was unemployed for three months. It was an incredibly stressful time and I searched for work daily. I was offered a good job and although it wasn't exactly what I wanted to do, I took it. I was at that job for over three years even though I knew after the first two weeks that it wasn't for me. There are lots of things that added up to me leaving my job when and how I did but when I finally did, there was a huge sense of relief that I wasn't expecting. It was incredibly difficult for me to come to the realization that I didn't like my job and wanted to leave the field of veterinary medicine.

My "plan" was to take some time to decompress and go from there. I've been out of work for six weeks now (but who's counting?) and I'm still in that first stage, which is frustrating at times. I keep thinking I should get a job but the truth is I don't really want to. Not yet at least. I do have an eventual goal, which is to pursue taxidermy. The thought of a new career is exciting to me but at this point, there's so much work to do between here and there that it's overwhelming and I just don't have the energy for it. I have faith that I will eventually, or that I will at least know when I'm ready to start the process. I've been thinking about working on my resume this week so that's a step in the right direction!

As I've gone about life in the last few weeks, I've met some new people and been asked "What to do you?" At first, I said I was unemployed and felt embarrassed. Sure, the implied question is what is your job, but just because I don't have a job doesn't mean I don't do anything. Our society ties who you are to what job you do and taking a break from it has been eye opening.  I've been working for over 20 years but I'm just not working right now. What  do I do? I play roller derby, I write, read, garden, run, care for my pets, do chores around the house. I do a lot of things, I just don't get paid for them. I'm not any less productive or less of a gift to my loved ones. It's funny that the person most in need of convincing of this has been me!


  1. You rock, Ramona! Yes, we're always the ones most in need of convincing. And you are so right about society tying who you are to what you do. We talk about this sort of thing a lot on my radio show, the loss of identity we can feel when moving on from a job or career, whether it's our choice to or not.

    I'm happy you're taking this time for you. I'm also intrigued about your pursuing taxidermy having grown up with a father who has hunted all over the world! I say just start doing what you want to do, and be okay with doing something else as you change & as your dreams & goals change.

    p.s Love your dog! My boxer says hey.

  2. You are so right about being defined by what we do. I was a "stay at home mum" by choice for quite a few years, bringing up my kids, but the amount of times people at dinner parties or other social occasions just turned away uninterested when I said that as if it was the only side to my character drove me mad. We are all made up of many different factors and job is only one of them and often only a minor one at that. Good for you for taking the time to work out what you want to do.

  3. Great points. You're so right about us being more than our jobs.