(Not the second career for me)
My e-friend Verde over at the blog Justice Desserts mentioned the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator the other day. It reminded me that I should, maybe, be using my type as one possible map through the funemployment muck. And since the muck is getting deeper, I'm willing to try anything. Please forgive the high-intensity navel-gazing, but I'm in a bad place today.
When I was 20, I took the Myers-Briggs test and tested as an INFJ. I took the test again last year-18 years later- and since MB types are usually the same for life, I scored once again as an INFJ. We INFJs are the rarest type- about 1% of the population. We are extremely idealistic; it's vital that we find purpose in life. We are sensitive to a fault, and intense (that was my mother's favorite word for me, but she didn't mean it as a compliment). We have lots of interests and long for a true calling. Apparently we make really good monks and nuns-- but I'm a non-believer, and never mind that I'm married.
I tried to get my mess nailed down by writing about it, but it didn't really help. Navel gazing- well, you know.:
I'm a 39-year-old female seeking a second career. I was a textile designer for twelve years, but I hated it. It wasn't really the job itself, but I hated the corporate structure I was shoehorned into. I don't suffer corporate B.S. gladly. It was, by far, the worst part of the job. I held a variety of crappy odd jobs up until grad school, all of them miserable, mostly retail. Going to art school for undergrad prepared me for, well, nothing.
So I went to grad school to get a real job. But the real job turned out to be a nightmare for so many reasons. I was trapped in the career because of huge grad and undergrad student loans; I moved from job to job because every mill I ever worked for was always on the verge of closing (thanks, NAFTA); I was taught the barest minimum of skills in grad school, but was reassured by my professors- "Not to worry, you'll learn on the job from master weavers!"- except, master weavers didn't exist anymore. The professors who told us that had been out of the textile industry for 20 years. So for 12 years, I felt like I was scrambling to catch up. And I don't have the aptitude for tracking the million little details in manufacturing. I'm not a multi-tasker-- I'm a single-tasker. I need to address one thing thoroughly until it's finished. I think multi-tasking is over-rated. And the corporations insist its a worker's most important attribute so they can wring every last penny out of value out of us.
I’m desperate to find my true calling. Paradoxically, I have lots of interests- though I can't see how any could be careers. My interests are vegetable gardening, hand-spinning, knitting, cooking, canning, pickling- most of my interests are probably best described as 19th century homemaking skills. Useful, but pretty uninteresting to most folks. My husband has suggested pickling, but scaling up scares me. The business side scares me. Investing in equipment and and a commercial kitchen scares me. The food industry scares me. Selling stuff scares me.
Having been laid off from textile manufacturing, I will soon qualify for re-education benefits. I’m willing to go back to school, but I have no idea for what. And the last time I took a blind leap into school, I ended up with a 12-year-long nightmare. I cried on many, many Sunday nights; I hated Mondays.
I'm drawn to biology- in high school, I wanted to be a marine biologist. Lately my interests are soil biology, agroecology, and plant pathology. But starting over in biology scares me, and the re-education benefits will only go so far. Besides, my memory for scientific nomenclature is non-existent. And, well- there's the math. Math came much easier to me in grad school (I have a Master of Science- took graduate chemistry- hardest B+ of my life) but it is definitely not painless.
I'm considering a 1-year certificate program for sustainable agriculture at Michigan State, but most students out of the program start their own small farms or work for community gardens. I'll never be able to start my own farm (landless peasant that I am), and jobs with an urban ag non-profit could be a tough row to hoe. I'll be 41 when I finish that certificate. I'm not so much the scrapper I used to be. And my inability to multi-task may not be such a good fit, either.
My husband thinks we should work towards buying and running a B&B. It does fit with a lot of my skills, but I'm not a natural extrovert; I have to work very hard at it, and afterward I need a lot of recuperation time. And, I don't have a competitive or entrepreneurial bone in my body- not an indicator for success in the wonderful world of capitalism. I think money lessens the value of everything it touches. I don't want to get in touch with my inner capitalist. I'd much rather get in touch with my inner socialist.
I don't want to be rich or famous.
I want to work in a pretty place, or at least have access to daylight and fresh air every day.
I've always wanted to be a noted expert on some small, esoteric thing that's really important to a handful of people.
Sometimes I think the most important thing is just growing really great tomatoes every summer.
I'm sure I must have a true calling, but it's probably in a field that has never occurred to me. And with my luck, it's in a place I can't move to, or in a time that doesn't exist anymore.
Sometimes I think I'd be best suited to life on a well-run intentional community (is that an oxymoron?) But that kind of life would definitely not suit my husband. Besides, living in an intentional community isn’t an avocation or a career.
Oh jeepers. I'm in such a muddle.