Election Day

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what exactly it is that I want to do with my life. I know by now that my current job is decidedly not it.

Things at work have been going downhill for months; first with the forced resignation of my boss, Lindsey, at the beginning of August, the demolishing of the team I’d been on for nearly a year that followed right after, and then the layoffs of nearly 25% of the entire company–including all of the people I was closest with–a few weeks back. I’ve been reassigned back to the remnants of what my team used to be, but it’s a sad mockery of what once was.

I’ve been having a difficult time reconciling the fact that I’ve been able to earn some valuable experience, a pretty transferable job title, and a nice salary history with the fact that I’m working in a field that I’m not at all interested in and have no desire to stay in. But at the same time, I don’t want to take the pay cut that would be required to get back into higher ed, which is what my Master’s degree is in. I don’t know where I’d like to be.

A consultant who was brought on to help the company ‘right the ship’ by re-architecting the entire system took a strange liking to me about a week or so ago. He took me out to lunch, and we had a philosophic discussion about his approach to life (“do what makes you happy”), my professional aims, and how I’m going to get there. I had never spoken more than ten words to him before this lunch, but we ended up sitting in a restaurant downtown for two hours and 45 minutes, intensely discussing the deeply personal life experiences he’s had that have led him to devoting himself to arranging his life around only those things that bring him happiness. This conversation had a profound impact on me–I’ve spent the past week or so grasping for ideas about what exactly it is that I want to do with my life.

The bad news: I still haven’t been able to figure it out. What I didn’t tell him (and have never voiced to more than three people) is that if I had the opportunity to do anything, I’d go back to school for interior design.

I’m struggling with the question of what to do with my life. I realize that I’m too young to be feeling bleak about the possibilities, but I also realize that I’ve been stuck in a demoralizing and thankless job for far too long (I’ve been trying to leave for nearly a year) and that the path I’m on hasn’t brought me any personal satisfaction. I’m not engaged in the work my company does–I’m not a software developer, and I don’t care about software development. I certainly don’t care about medical journal publishing.

Fast forward to an hour ago, when I received a job offer. It’s a very similar position to the one I’m currently in, but for a different company. Rather than feeling relieved, I have hesitations. Is this normal? Is it a good plan to accept, knowing that I likely won’t enjoy my work there any more than the work I do now? Is it smart to accept, knowing that I don’t plan to stay there for more than a year or so? Is it smart to gather even more experience in a position and a field that I know I ultimately don’t want to work in?

Should I just take the leap?

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