I feel better now after writing that last post yesterday. I now and then forget the power of writing. Writing has always helped me to sort things out, to get things off my chest, but sometimes I forget and go around carrying the mental burden of whatever is on my mind, instead of pouring it all out through writing.
I didn’t resolve my hatred situation. I haven’t forgiven C, but having shared what’s going on somehow helped me feel better about it, like a catharsis of sorts. So, I figured if writing helped with that issue, it most likely will help with this other thing lingering around me lately.
I’ve been a bit unmotivated lately with work. I mean, I show up, I do the work, I think I give it my best, but I don’t really want to do it. Well, maybe that’s not true either. I think I do want to do it, it’s my responsibility, and I never walk away from responsibility, but I don’t think I’m enjoying it, at least not as much as I think I should be, or used to enjoy it.
There are two things actually, playing a part here. One is that I am underpaid (yeah, I know, aren’t we all?). This is the number one un-motivator for me. I work hard, I take it seriously, I deliver, every single time, and for that I think I should be properly compensated, monetarily that is, and yet I’m not. My salary is at best average, if not low, and I am constantly concerned about money because it’s not enough. What I make monthly does not cover all my monthly expenses, not to mention pay off dept or allow me to save, and the stress of counting pennies (this is what I call being underpaid) is adding up and making me resent the job I do.
My approach to the penny counting situation has changed a bit over the years, because believe me it’s been for ever. In fact, I can’t remember a time before graduating from my several degrees, during them, or after them, when I was not underpaid. It’s sad really, but in my field: education, there is no money, or at least, I’ve never seen it.
Going back to the approach to “penny counting”, at first I told myself it’s part of being in education, there’s just no money in education, and that is what it is, nothing to do about it. I thought, if I ever won the lottery, or made more money somehow, I would not quit my job, because I loved what I do. But now, in this unmotivated state, I’m thinking if I ever won the lottery I would retire in a heartbeat, and just spend my time doing whatever I feel like doing: sleeping, reading, writing for fun, taking photos, traveling, spending more time with loved ones… anything but the work I do day in and day out.
The other thing going on has to do with the fact that projecting what I do now into the future bores me to death. Let me explain. I usually enjoy what I do, it’s gratifying, if not at a monetary level, at a personal level. I do good. I teach future teachers, I contribute to make learning experiences for children better ones, I help make this country, and hopefully the world at large, a better place for all. My job and it’s repercussions are noble, something to be proud of. Yet, picturing myself doing this same thing, day in and day out, for the rest of my life makes me want to scream and run in the opposite direction.
I daydream sometimes about opening a bakery. I’m not sure why a bakery, because I have not baked in a while now. I tend to think if one really loves doing something one finds the time to do it, so if I just have not found the time to bake, is it still something I love to do? Does it still bring me pleasure? Enough to leave what I’m doing now and dedicate my time to it? The answer is, frankly I don’t know. I know what my passion is. I don’t think I’ve found my calling, if indeed I actually have one.
I think I’m in a rut. An unmotivated rut. But it’s been going on for months now. I keep wishing I could retire… I’m only 39 and have been working in academia for barely 7 years (5 years in Caracas and almost 2 here), there’s no way I can retire. Plus I don’t have the money… if I won the lottery I would retire, for sure!
So the problem I’m facing right now is that I’m in this unmotivated rut and I’m not sure how to deal with it or get out of it. Today driving on my way home (driving is where I do my best thinking) I was trying to come up with alternative job activities by asking myself what would I rather be doing. If I could choose anything, anything in the world to do, what would that be? And you know what? I drew a blank. I don’t know. I’m unmotivated doing what I’m doing now, but I don’t know what I’d rather be doing if not this.
I think it will pass. Once my legal status changes (that’s a whole other post) and I get my residency, I will be able to do consulting work, or any other work outside my full-time job. Get a second job of sorts. That will provide more income, which will release the penny counting situation, and probably make me feel better about what I do every day. I hope I find my motivation again soon. I hope this passes, because right now I’m just counting the days ’till summer, and that’s no way to be. I want to live in the moment, enjoy the now, have no regrets. I just need to find my way back to that state.
Tell me, are you completely happy with what you do? How do you stay motivated? Or do you also go through phases in which you just rather pull all your hair out than do what you do? Please share, I am in desperate need of self-motivating strategies.