Monthly Archives: December 2011

Not a Good Fit (a much needed kick in the pants)

I’ll always remember the year I turned 40 as the year I lost two jobs in six months. In July the new “strategists” hired in my area at work decided that my skills weren’t needed in the group, so they downsized me. There was an opening in another group that it seemed I might be qualified for so I was placed there. Turns out I’m not as qualified for the job as I had hoped. After 4 months of training and my boss not seeing enough improvement, I’ve been asked to resign. They’re giving me a few months to find another job but now I have to go into the office everyday feeling like I don’t belong there. The job involves editing online help documents, and my soon-to-be former co-workers have to check each document I’ve edited to make sure nothing is amiss. This cuts into their work time and makes the whole team less productive. So I feel like a burden. Even when I get things right (and I do get things right from time to time) someone has had to take the time to check my work.

Now I have to say that for me doing this work has been a good learning experience. I’m learning to pay more attention to details and I’m learning about the finer points of English grammar; the points I don’t think I would really need to know unless I wanted to be an editor. Having a better handle on grammar should help me to become a better writer. I definitely want to be a better writer. So I’m working my way to grammar geekdom. I’ll probably never be fully geeked out because my attitude about rules is probably somewhat flippant, but every time there’s a place in a sentence where a comma, semicolon, dash, or colon might be helpful or required, I think hard and often consult an expert like my new (pretend) friend, Grammar Girl.

When I was told things weren’t going to work out, I cried. I immediately thought about how hard it is to find a job in “this economy,” and I had visions of losing my house and living on the street with my husband, two cats, and three dogs.

Note to self: work on your tendency to immediately imagine the worst thing that could possibly happen.

Now here’s the hard reality that this situation is forcing me to face. I have spent the last 20 or so years not living up to my full potential. I’ve been too timid, too careful. I’ve waited for things to come to me instead of going after them, and consequently I don’t have a rewarding career. I’ve spent the last 11 years waiting for something to happen. I should have been making something happen. I always claim that I don’t have any regrets and that things happen for a reason, but I realize now that I’ve been scared of life. That has to stop now because I’m running out of time.

The funny thing is my previous blog post got a couple of comments and a “like” the day before I got the official news that I’m going to be out of a job soon. Now I believe that there are no coincidences and that this is surely a sign that there’s something more in store for me. Now I steel myself, now I move forward. No more standing and waiting.

There will be more on this in the next post. I”ll talk about new insights about what I want from life and goals I need to set.

Oh, and I’m going to include a piece of artwork in every post, just because.

Line Tree

Scared or Lazy?

I’ve been thinking about writing, but not actually writing, and so I’ve asked myself the question, “am I afraid to write?” I answered myself with, “maybe I am, or maybe I’m just lazy.”I think both answers are correct. So what did I decide to do? I decided to write about being too scared and too lazy to write. I’m tempted to leave it at that. A 59 word blog post, the contents of which have the potential to be meaningful but fail to do anything except waste the reader’s time. That is, if there is a reader.

Fear is a natural instinct meant to protect us humans from sabre toothed tigers and what-not. There aren’t many sabre toothed tigers on the Internet (sure a Google search brings up 903,000 results for the long extinct cat but it’s just pictures of them and words about them). Yeah, so I know I’m safe from prehistoric carnivores, and it’s good to get that out of the way. So what else could I possibly be afraid of?

What comes to mind first is grammar. Specifically, I fear the dreaded comma and its friends the colon and semicolon. Every time I think I’ve figured it out, and that I’m ready for anything a sentence cares to throw at me, I stumble upon another situation where a comma might be grammatically necessary, or it might be correct, or it might be optional, or it might even be WRONG! If I were better at drawing, I think I’d draw a tiger whose sabre teeth were made from commas. That would be fun.

Is the fear of making grammar mistakes the true reason for my aversion to writing, or could it be something more deeply rooted? Let’s examine this. When I think about writing a new post, what triggers my anxiety? I’ll make a list (in no particular order):

1.  I don’t have anything interesting to say.

2.  I say the same things over and over, and over.

3. I’m going to sound too self-deprecating.

4. I  put in too many dumb  pieces of my amateur artwork.

5. This is getting me nowhere. I haven’t achieved fame and fortune from this yet and probably never will, so why bother.

6. Hardly anyone is reading this.

Some of that is about fear and some of it is self-pity. What about the lazy side of this coin? Do I need to make a list? Lazy is just lazy.

1. I don’t feel like doing it.

2. I have too many things I want to write about that I’m overwhelmed.

3. I’m playing Angry Birds.

So it’s a bit of both and I think one feeds the other. But hey, I just wrote over 400 words, and I used lots of commas (maybe too many).

I feel better now.