Warning! Woman at Work

Warning! Woman at Work

Construction Worker at Westlake Center 1988 courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives, Creative Commons License

I had a meeting with my boss today, and she asked me what my career goals were, as reviews are coming up.

Well, I took the job to become a home owner because my acting degree didn’t come with a sugar daddy and I hear hooking’s illegal here in Canada so… yeah, career goals.

Honestly though, I’m a go-getter. I excel at things. I’m one of those annoying people who can do just about anything, and do it pretty well, too. Even more irritating (to me) is that I can see myself doing just about anything. It makes choosing stressful (I know luxury problem, but still).

Now that I’m working for a big company with room to grow, people expect me to have career goals beyond “Make car payment this month” and “Invest in house in fall winter spring.”

So in a company with fairly limitless options, and me with almost limitless potential, what the heck do I want to do?

And do I really want to do anything?

Because if I stop thinking of this job as a job, as a means to an end, as that place where they keep my paycheque, as that thing I must endure (almost) painlessly to be able to achieve my dream of homeownership, and uh, food… Then I am committing to a community and claiming it for my own.

Then those people I work with become those colleagues with whom I create products.

Those “work friends” might actually become work friends, and I might know these people for years – have barbecues with them, invite them to housewarmings, and baby showers, and – oh my god, I’ve married my work.

I really don’t think I’m a huge commitment-phobe, but my paid ambitions lie buried with my acting career. I want the house and the family – not the boardroom and the politics – right? I said, right?

Alright, I know I can have both. OK? Especially since I’m not engaged, not likely to get pregnant anytime soon, and have masses of brains wasting away in data entry – well, not so much wasting, as attempting to find ways to improve the systems and think my way out of a job… Details.

And having the higher paying job that committing to career-like ambition offers would make home-owning and family-having easier in the long run.

And I could still think of it as a job, right, just that thing I go and do for a third of each weekday? And I don’t have to make bffs 4ever with everyone there, I can simply be polite and encouraging and helpful and me – and leave them all at 5:00, right?

Or I could grow a little. Grow up a little, and embrace the adult-y-ness of the whole situation, and realize that I am not a student, not a starving artist, not actively living those lifestyles anymore, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be part of those communities, while taking on new ones.

Or does it? Do I have to be a starving artist forever in order to relate to other starving artists who are both actively starving and actively artistic? If I keep the money, but fingerpaint on weekends, does that count? What if I keep the money, but fingerpaint, and generate an eating disorder? OK, whatever, I really like food, so that’s not gonna happen.

But, honestly, as your identity grows and changes, sometimes passions and communities leave you – does that mean you have to leave them?

When do you have to no longer self-identify as something? Is there a time when you ever must?

I don’t know the answers, but I do know this:

I am an actor. It is not what I do, it is what I am.

And I know that doesn’t help me with my present quandary of corporate career goals…

What do you think? Can you help? What advice would you give, or have you gotten in this type of circumstance? Let me know!

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