Monday, July 12, 2010

On Certainty / On Creativity

In this time of drawn-out unemployment, I've gotten used to the cloud of uncertainty about my career direction that hovers over me each day. It had plagued me much more seriously a year or two before, where I would work myself up and want to scream out in frustration. Instead of continuing this way, I took a step back and examined what was buried behind my confusion and fear. Looking back, I see that all the major decisions in my life were made somewhat haphazardly, without too much research or deep thought, and I have usually acclimated myself to how it changed my life. Overall, I am satisfied with those decisions, even the ones that were most heavily influenced by others. I am just not someone with a raging individuality. (Yet I am enticed by people with that personality.) Although I have come to terms with this, relaying to this a prospective employer usually doesn't help me along. From my interview experience, I gather that most employers want to see that you have a business-oriented passion, and then have you direct that passion towards the company's success. So, I need to change my game plan by either a) picking a career based on some research and cultivate a stronger interest in it, b) picking a career, any career, and practice getting good at faking passion, or c) if there is nothing out there I can get, create my own job.

Job articles are constantly going on about how to set yourself out from the crowd using creative methods. I have done that before, and even thinking about it makes me tired. I do not consider myself a "creative person." Sure, I have created things before, some of which I liked, some of which I felt were failures. My mind does not think outside its box on a daily basis; it is lazy in that area and I was not brought up to stretch myself that way. Success meant doing what you were told and getting A's in school. I tend to look at famous artists and artist friends alike with a mixture of wonder, jealousy and longing. How are they like that? In college, I had a friend who was so imaginative and was always coming up with neat projects for us to do while hanging out. I really craved that creative companionship, because it took all responsibility off myself to learn how to entertain myself. Now I see that it's possible to take the reins and be OK, even proud of my ideas. Reading this article helped me to see that instead of judging and censoring my occasional creative thoughts, I need to loosen up, stop comparing myself to others, just create and not stop. (My self-worth is not based on the quality of my output... or is it? And by whose standards?) As a child, I had perfectionist tendencies, as my world was so small things could often be done 100% correctly. I can honestly say that because I could not stand to not be the best at something, I could not choose a career path in college. Clear-cut success or I'll have none of it. There is no transition from being a star child to being a mediocre, ordinary adult. What a blow to my complacent ego. Obviously, that has been debilitating to me in entering adult life, and I hope to move past all that soon, and find personal meaning in my actions. In terms of a job, that may mean that I do something now to pay the bills and know that I probably won't be doing it forever. I have to be aware of the options available to me at the moment and take advantage of them while they still stand.


Rachel B said...

I was always an excellent student also. It's crazy to realize how much effort I put into things just to make the grade. And it's easy to know precisely just what and how much you have to do when there's a grading rubric. From personal experience I've also realized that being a good student, while very helpful during school, doesn't equal being good at life. And it's amazing how much of my identity was wrapped up in being a stand-out student. Living this "choose-your-own-adventure" life after college is so daunting for we who always relied on other people's rubrics to measure our worth.

Even if you aren't as creative as you want to be, you know good creativity when you see it, which is also a talent.

Are you still working at the law firm?

Fern said...

I still am sorta working there? Not sure about the status and how long I can still work there. How's yoga training?

SuzyFormager said...

i feel ya on this post.

Fern said...

thank you for your empathy!