In the month following my “Final Chapter” post, I found myself with a deadline. On New Year’s Eve, an offer for the house I was living in was accepted, and I had about thirty days to figure out what I was going to do with my life and where I was going to live next with my remaining family: a chatty cat, and a very large dog who always insists on meeting everyone within a three mile radius.
Not a stranger to planning and organizing moves, as difficult as it was to deconstruct the last twenty years of my life, packing a box was the easy part. Figuring out where to live next and how to afford it was the problem I was facing. None of my jobs up to this point, would’ve allowed me to independently reach the 2.5x rent income that I needed to have to qualify for even the smallest of apartments in the Southern California region. A qualifying income, I might add, that I needed to have had on my previous year’s tax forms as proof of income during the application process.
Help, I thought, was lined up. I was due to begin several weeks of sessions with a career coach. I’d done the math. I’d done the research. I had a baseline figure I knew I needed to reach for survival. Now, all I needed was a vision. A vision for a plan I could implement. A plan that would include the answer to the following questions: could I continue with the work I’d trained for (and had professional experience in), or could that training and experience aid me in making a leap to a related field, or, was it time to leap to an entirely new career? Where should I put my focus?
The sessions began in a very positive way. I was interviewed extensively and even had to take a career assessment test that was a hundred questions long. Each week I had homework that helped to explain who I was and how I functioned best, what my talents were, what my weaknesses were…
All of this was leading up to the answer of who I should be moving forward. Right?
Having spent considerable time in a creative field, the final answer I was given was that I was probably best suited to become a project manager.
There was a but in there.
Having listened to me, it was very clear to my coach that writing was important to me. He said that if I didn’t find some way to continue writing, that it would end up being a big regret years from now.
Yet, writing or anything creative (those things that I know bring happiness to me), were never considered as a possible career choice. It wasn’t something I should focus on.
The sessions ended. I was poorer financially for having had that first experience of a career coach, and I was no closer to answering any of the “how” questions I’d begun with weeks earlier. In fact, I had even more questions.
This experience would be one of the puzzle pieces that would click together with another experience I’d have…months into the future.
It’s taken me over a year to figure out how I’m going to keep writing in my life. I had to go on a journey to find more puzzle pieces first. And in looking back, there was no way that the career coach could’ve given me the answer to the questions I had been looking for. The answer, could only come from me.
I end with these words of advice for any writer:
Keep writing. Keep believing in your dreams. Hold on to hope.
See you next week.