Mon 25 Jan 2016 09:19:19 PM EST
Today I began to wonder about what the transition must be like for corporate workers who go into other industries.
In my early professional years i'd read Time and Newsweek articles about people (usually well off boomers) who'd given up their high pay, high stress, high status jobs to make cheese, or become farmers, or learn to cobble shoes in Italy. Often times these fantastical stories had people who really struggled with the decision to go. Other times people were forced out with no choice, whether it was downsizing or burnout. And in many if not most of the stories the people either took their large savings, retirement fund or some other sum of money to jump start their new venture.
Trying to understsnd, decipher, make sense of or chart some plan reading magazine articles is for the birds.
I realize a huge part of my window onto the world was with magazine articles that explained life to me, except it didn't. In the same way that you really won't learn much about architecture reading Dwell; you really don't. You don't really learn much about the people, the human condition, or how to move through life with the contemporary magazine articles. But back then I had gone through my own transition and I didn't know it then, but I was looking for understanding.
I spent the first 14 years of my life upper lower class, I like to say. But even that assesment of my life is probably off. We werent lower class, we also weren't upper lower class. We were middle lower class. We didn't live in a ghetto. My father was not around though, so it was just my mother and I. We lived month to month and some months we did great, things would be stable, we might even go into a year or two of stability, inevitably we'd gypsy around though. By the time I was in my early twenties I was in my first decade of middle class life. We had moved on up as it was. My mother married, we moved to Atlanta, my step dad started a business and we busted our asses. If i'm going to be completely honest, they busted their asses and I took some advantage of the situation, but not nearly enough. We didn't know any better, any of us, we were riding by the seat of our pants. Hell, we were still living month to month, we were just on the upswing.
As I found myself building a career, moving up in the world, my parents were not able to help me very much with an outlook that offered any perspective on white collar, middle class living. Enter Time & Newsweek, US News, The Economist. There were not many "So you've become middle class! Here is what you should know" articles to read. Most of the articles were "White professionals have it good, even when they have to deal with change." And since that is what was out there, that is what I read. I also read the articles about how bleak it was for blacks, there were a lot of those.
Many of my life choices were framed by these people portrayed in the articles. Their life choices influenced my thinking and strategy. I didn't know it then, but I planned my life with the prism of "What would i do if I was white, successful and looking for a plan b that was both satisfying, fulfilling and still made enough money so that I wasn't destitue." I also entered the job force in the early nineties, which was a dreary time. The Savings and Loan disaster had happened, it was a brief blip in an otherwise already dreary time. Japan was beginning it's long recession and the eighties downturn looked like it was holding on to the first half of the nineties.
There is probably a box of magazines in my basement which chart my strategy in life.
I didn't do too bad...
I'm currently on sabbatical and debating if I am touristing around another industry or if i am leaving IT. A part of me does not want to embrace this new thing. If you've ever written a plan for yourself and given your future self instructions for how to live life, don't stop working on the plan for future you. Future you gets pretty dependent on your forward looking assessments to plan their life out. Problem is old me doesn't read those magazines anymore. Old me is disappointed with current me and what I made of my life. Current me doesn't know what the fuck is going on, future me is waiting for instruction.
I spent a few hours in the XP build trying to make it as lean as possible. Out with Java. Out with Flash, no programs loading with startup. But I still prefer to not be in a "rich" OS. So i'm back in Peppermint working with "Gedit" a no frills text editor. It looks like it has three features, it can save a doc, insert date and time and spell check-we'll see about that.
Spellcheck doesn't work... So it has two really good features.
I don't know how to feel about LED bulbs.
I have some big decisions to make, all of them change my life in a dramatic way, kinda scary.