Still in the same rut

I have written before about feeling purposeless. I left my old job with no plan, just the knowledge that staying there was killing me (and that that trite saying was getting closer to reality all the time). My only goal was to get better, to move beyond simple surviving and try to learn to live again.

Things have improved.

But I’m left with no purpose. No meaning.

There is nothing in my life I can feel proud of right now.

My hubby likes to brag on me, saying I started a business in this economy which is successfully into its second year.

Which sounds great, until you realize that business is nowhere close to being able to support me, let alone us. And unless I am willing to give up all evenings with my hubby, it really never will. It is a little side thing, whatever money it brings in is nice, but it’s not much. And, as it is, it has nowhere to grow.

It’s also not utilizing a skill I’m proud of, because I just know what to do. Really. I went through a year-long program, which taught me very little. For the most part, I just do or suggest what is obvious to me. I have a way with dogs. I get them. And I go off of that. But it’s not something I am proud of. Not a skill I have developed and learned about. Really not a skill I can spend all kinds of time informing myself about and improving in. Not being arrogant and saying I have all the answers…just saying it’s all common sense to me, and for the past year there has been nothing I’ve come across in my looking and trying to educate myself that suggests anything other than training methods I won’t use but have thought of, or techniques I’d already come up with on my own. It’s not like an innate skill, like photography, that you go and learn about and nurture and learn to perfect. It’s a skill you have pretty much complete or you don’t, and short of going and interning with someone amazing for awhile (not feasible or necessary for the size of what I’m doing) there’s nothing to focus on to develop this skill.

So I don’t take pride in this business. I mean, a little. I do love sitting down with someone’s dog who I’ve just met and teaching them a new cue within a few minutes. But I’d love that with or without the business. I’m just good with dogs.

But in general, it doesn’t bring in money, it’s not a skill I’m proud of achieving (since it was never achieved, just innate), and it’s not something I can really spend a lot of time working on and developing to take pride in it.

Beyond that?

I’m a retail clerk at a pet store. I am embarrassed to tell people that, embarrassed to have people seeing me doing it. I know work is work, and if it was that this was what I wanted to do, or was enough for me, or we really needed the money and I was doing it to help tide us over and support the family, OK then, I could take pride in that. But it isn’t. It’s not contributing hardly anything to our family’s income, so no pride in that aspect. It’s not what I want to do. I have no power and no respect at this job. And it consists of doing only things a high school kid could do.

I tutor a little. But it’s very random income, since the girl I tutor is horribly inconsistent about when she wants me to come over. We started out with scheduled days, but she cancelled so many that I stopped, because I got frustrated scheduling around her and then having her cancel hours, or maybe a day, before we were supposed to meet. And somehow, again, tutoring is just…not something I’d be proud to say I do.

That’s what it comes down to for me. I want to have an answer to the question, “What do you do for a living?” that I’m proud of.

Because in our society, that question comes up




I was proud of being an engineer. I loved it. And I loved being able to introduce myself as such. I had worked hard at it, but was also innately good at it, and I took pride in my combination of skill and hard work.

But that is out. I may be extremely capable at the work, but I am not at the lifestyle.

So what else is there? What else is a combination of hard work and skill that I could be proud of, that I can do given my illnesses? I’m scared to try full-time work again. I’m scared of the deep, dark hole I fell down last time I tried that took me over 6 months to climb partially out of.

I just don’t know. I don’t.

Add to that that I have baby fever. I want a kid. Which means that I’m not going to go back to school for something and leave it soon after (if I could even come up with something to go to school for). But I’m also scared of the thought of having a kid.

What if I’m just doing it because I want purpose, and I think being a mom will give me that purpose?

And then what if the kid doesn’t, and now I’m stuck?

I don’t know. I’m so scared of things not working I’m too paralyzed to move in any direction. So I decide that’s stupid, and I need to shake it off, and try something. But then I can’t come up with anything that I can do from where I am now.

An engineering degree is useless for anything except engineering.

A math degree is useless period.

Which means I can basically be an engineer…or be a clerk or fast food server or other unskilled worker.

I’m OK with starting at the bottom, as long as I can work my way up.

But where I am now, there is nowhere to work to. There is no up to shoot for.

I just don’t know.

I’m so confused and lost.

I feel like I”m circling in the dark.

And I’m coming to hate myself more and more for it, because I have been stuck in the for months.

I don’t know where to start. But I need (need) to find somewhere.

ADDED: Should have just included this earlier, thought I wouldn’t but can’t get it out of the circling in my mind. Just have to add that part of what is swirling around in my brain is that there are things I can think of doing..but they all involve a big risk by me/us. Things involving more enterprises of my own, but that I could work on during daytime hours, possibly even in the space that I’d use for Companions. I had previously considered opening a doggie daycare in my space..but then one moved into my shopping complex, so if I was going to I’d have to move. I’ve contemplated opening a small animal rescue using space at Companions (not the main training space to house animals, but there’s always another room anywhere) and focusing on moving animals through quickly. Things like that. But they’re all big risks by us, investments of money to get started, I’d have to move to another place which would probably cost more and cut down on profit, etc. I’m scared to do it, especially since I don’t feel it’s my money to waste. I wish I could find an organization that is hiring that I could respect and that would respect me, and would also honor the hours I’m looking for. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to exist, at least around here. Blargh.

Thank you for reading the endless circling of my brain.


Filed under Invisible Illnesses, Life

7 responses to “Still in the same rut

  1. My first though (job wise) was consulting.
    Use your skills, be an Engineer, but not be forced back into the grind of working for a firm.

    Is a business you could build slowly.

    • Annabelle, I appreciate the thought, but I have nowhere near enough experience or knowledge to be able to do consulting on my own. I am still a very junior engineer, with only two years of experience. You have to have five minimum before you can even think about officially doing anything on your own. Engineering really is out, but I appreciate the thought!

  2. I’m sorry you’re having such a tough time. Maybe it’s just me, but I think training dogs is something to be proud of. I know our shelter is always full of dogs that people have given up and it’s because of lack of training. Are there any shelters nearby that could use someone to help make their dogs more adoptable? That in turn would make it less likely the dogs would be returned.

    Really, I’m the last person to be giving you advice on careers because I still haven’t figured out what I want to do.

    I wanted to let you know I got the earrings and I love them!

    • Thanks so much for the feedback! I’d love to work with shelters or rescues locally, but I have tried with several of them in the area and not only been turned down, but been taken advantage of and been treated very rudely, as if offering them free services, or discounted services for adopters, or free classes for adopters and locals, was a giant hardship on them and it was so rude of me to even offer. I had one place even lead me along until I spent money getting things ready, and at the last minute was contacted and told very rudely they didn’t want my services because another person in the organization was already working with another trainer, and how dare I try to oust her? (Evidently they don’t talk to each other, as it had been a several-month buildup of time and money on my part by this point, AND I’d been out to the shelter and met with many important people). I’d LOVE to help at shelters, and back in Idaho the shelter was great and I loved working there, but here I have had nothing but awful luck. There are only so many times you can bounce back, now I’m scared to approach them. But I really appreciate the thought! If I lived anywhere else I think it would be a great idea, but shelters in this area seem especially arrogant.

      So glad you love the earrings! I love mine, too. Thanks for participating in the give-away!

  3. Sorry, was stupidly trying to comment from train.

    Wanted to also say, I hurt for you feeling this way. To miss that sense of pride at taking a day on the job and kicking ass is something I know well. To be good at something you need to be clearly better than other people at it. Its a competition, even if it’s a friendly one. For me, anyway.

    Maybe it’s going to be harder for you now, with out a built in system of measurement?

    I think your gift with animals and their owners is something you can see at a level of success you feel is tangible. Why can’t their be 2 similar businesses in the same area? If yours is run better, offers training and other thoughtful features, why not go for a business atmosphere youre comfortable in, at a job level you are proud of, like Owner.

    I like Elles idea about working with shelters. Smart.

    One LAST tiny thought…a architect I know has medical situation that also makes the office grind impossible. She recently began contract work as an on call researcher for marketing, and educational purposes her firm. It’s field related, keeps her work balance manageable.

    I’ll stop telling you what to do now. I’m a crappy listener right? Just know you are never without purpose, even if it’s not a known one.

    • Thanks so much. It means a lot just to hear a simple “This makes sense and I know how you feel.” And I think you nailed it, I need that sense of (friendly) competition and success, and I need to respect the people I’m “competing” with for the success to mean anything.

      Not a crappy listener at all. Commenting on a blog is, by nature, going to involve your thoughts, and I really appreciate them. They’re awesome. Thanks so much.

  4. It’s a shame the shelters are so hard to work with out there. How about training dogs as therapy dogs? I don’t know, just throwing ideas out there. I totally get the whole stuck in a rut thing. Hope you figure things out.

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