17 October, 2007

Line in the Sand

At what point do you draw a line in the sand; a line that marks the tipping point between existing in the current situation and moving on?
Since the beginning of this phase of my professional life, I have endured various bouts of boredom, frustration, underemployment... One manager went so far as to tell me that I am the most underemployed member of the staff.  I hardily agree.  This is partially by design and partially because I am a square peg in an office of round pegs - and round holes.  I just don't exactly fit. 
I have watched coworkers leave to do work that I would love to do, wishing them the greatest happiness professionally while wiping tears from my eyes.  I know that, at some point, that will be me.  It is just a matter of time.  I continue to make the choice to stay; the time just isn't right. 
Earlier this fall I met a woman who actually seemed to be living my life.  It was the most odd sensation.  I sat talking with her feeling as if I had entered another dimension.  We share similar degrees, but she got married, had kids, and is now a professor in our field.  She even married the Naval officer... sigh....  While I chose to become a mom, a single mom at that, and shifted my dreams to include being as involved with my daughter as possible.  Meeting this mom was the most surreal experience I have ever had. 
After talking to her, I took a minute or two to examine my own life - the choices I have made.  Her life was my professional more than my personal dream, but it is not my reality nor is it my current professional ambition.  Yes, I do want to teach, but I realize that teaching is in the long term columned.  My first priority is to obtain a dynamic and stimulating work environment. 
My line in the sand came(this is hard to believe but... )nearly three years ago when I simply couldn't do it any longer.  A mind is truly a terrible thing to waste!  I took action.  I made phone calls, took a few risks, and filled out many forms.   
And now I wait... just as I have been waiting for the past few years.  It takes a long time, in my profession, for the irons in the fire to produce!  I have no doubt that something will happen when the time is right; when the Diva and I are ready to enter that phase of our lives.  (Hopefully by years end.)  Thus my motives for staying where I am bored are based upon my desire to be an involved parent and those irons in that very slow burning fire!
But why do others stay where they are unhappy or bored?  Is there a tipping point, a line in the sand, that each of us determines and upon crossing that point we take action?  Or is our comfort with the known and the regular pay a greater priority than potentially being content at work?


AaroN said...

I believe you have to draw the line when you're ready to make a stand for your happiness. When you know you can be happier somewhere else and you find that somewhere else... cross the line.

Bre said...

I put off being happy in favor of being financially solvent... that's how I quickly discovered that money was worthless if you're miserable! Now I'm broke but happy - and that's good enough!

Wombat said...

Is there a tipping point, a line in the sand, that each of us determines and upon crossing that point we take action?

When the pain of frustration between what is and what might be becomes unbearable.

Which can all be circumvented by knowing what's right, and having no fear.

TAG said...

I've been that square peg in a room full of round holes most of my life. It can make fitting in difficult as you well know. Eventually you discover you just need to make your own square hole in which to fit.

The process of making that square hole can be darn scary. But once you've done it, you'll be amazed at the numbers of other people you once thought of as round pegs that need a square hole just like yours.

I have a pretty strong sense of the right (and wrong) things to do in my profession. I watched, waited and learned from seeing the wrong approach for several years. Then I went out on my own. That was quite a few years ago and have never looked back.

Your post yesterday when you talked about being from a small town in the mountains hit pretty close to home for me. I too grew up in a small town in the mountains. One of the things that dawns on you pretty quickly here is Opportunity is something that doesn't come knocking on your door. You have to make your own opportunity. (Opportunity = that square hole)

In the end you just have to have the will and determination to believe in yourself and your abilities and make your future what you want it to be. Those who count on others to make their future for them usually turn out disappointed in what that future looks like.


cathouse teri said...

I suppose it's like staying in a marriage where you are bored or unhappy.

The Exception said...

Aaron - YOu minimize the risk if you find something that brings greater happiness before crossing the line... Did I read this correctly? Professionally, I suppose that I would do this... wait until I had the job and then jump out of the first. But does it apply to one's personal life as well?

Bre - Ah, the secret to life... money does not bring happiness!

Wombat - Why do we allow it to get that bad before we choose to find something else - pain and frustration that is.

TAG - Ah well, in my case, the square holes reside in another part of the building! The soil has to be fertile for the digging of such a hole for the hole to be dug... it took me a few years to figure out that the soil was a bit too sandy.

Teri - Which is another aspect entirely. Where is that tipping point in one's personal life? What does it take to get people out of the negative situation and into something where they can find happiness?

Wombat said...

Why? Because we don't spend enough time sitting in the quiet room.

cathouse teri said...

The way it tips is that when the situation becomes more unpleasant than the comfort you find in staying.

Anonymous said...

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. -Anais Nin

This summed up how I felt when I finally left my marriage...just like Teri said...