Rebooting... new goals, new outlook, taking charge.
Tuesday, July 02, 2013
While I did not actually leave SparkPeople (it is, after all, my Internet home page), I drifted away from it for a while. Sure, some days I'd read articles, emails, check in with my groups, sometimes enter exercise, maybe a meal or two... but I wasn't an active member. I want to change that, along with a whole bunch of other things.
I just got laid off... again. For my first 27 years in the IT business I never had to worry about my job; as a top-level performer I always had fresh challenges to meet, and I met them successfully. Then, in May of 2010 and again in June of 2013, I got that "you have been selected" message, which means "we don't want to pay you any more, please don't let the door hit you on the way out." This second time was from a job I really, really disliked, and it made me seriously reassess my career direction.
I chose my IT career out of laziness. In college I was better at it, and had more fun with it, than I did in my chosen fields of biology and geology. There were also a lot more job openings in my home town in IT than for the other fields, so I started my own business, and then got a permanent position with a Hartford company. Over time that job got shuttled from company to company, and I moved along with it. Through those times I simply drifted along, avoiding making any kind of real decision. Then, in 2010, with the RIF at IBM I found myself unemployed for the first time since I was 16 years old.
That was a shock. Suddenly I had to make a real decision... and I failed badly. I just wanted to get back into what I had done before, and there were no jobs in it. I got stuck in the "laziness loop", and instead of thinking just kept trying "the same old thing the same old way" (from the NRBQ song "The Same Old Thing"). Eventually I did find a job, which lasted just over a year and which ended June 30, 2013.
The two years without doing IT, and the year of an IT job which was unrewarding, have forced me to actually decide "what I want to do when I'm grown up." This time, instead of just trying to get the same job back, I'm reassessing what I really want. For some of those jobs I need training and/or certifications, so I can work on those. But this time I'm not simply relying on "Please tell me when there are openings" but am actively seeking "What do I need to do to get a job in (whatever)". I'm looking into science education; it is something I value and enjoy. I haven't abandoned IT at all, just broadening my search for my next career.
As part of this new outlook, I've also reassessed my health. During my unemployment I gained a lot of weight. I have records of my weight going back to a mild heart attack I had in 2007, and there is a 30-pound weight spike in the summer after i got laid off. I need to lose that, and I know how, and now I'm really motivated to do so.
In short, I am taking charge of my life instead of just drifting through it, handling things as they happen. I'm done with that, since it really hasn't gotten me anywhere. By taking charge I am certain I can reach my goals.