Saturday, September 29, 2012

Baby Steps

I'ms tarting to realize that, in a few short months, my work position is going to be over. Contract work is both a blessing and a curse: it's great because it's a resume-builder, a chance to hone skills and make some money; but, of course, all good things must come to an end.

I still have a number of months left on my contract, but I'm already starting to feel lightheaded panic from the next-step anxiety. What do I want to do? I mean, aside from jump on a plane to Iceland and open a cafe in Akureyri? Or enrol in school to become a sexual-health teacher? Or get a masters in...something?

Should I go full-throttle into freelance? Should I wait tables while I write by first book? Should I get another office gig? Should I enrol in school, either as a academically cloudy grad student or in a more focused college diploma course? Should I sell all my things and live off the land for a while, foraging rhubarb from the city planters and adopting a freegan lifestyle?

Here are some things I know about me: I thrive when I have structure (i.e., a day job, a regular paycheck). I am not really a hustler (which makes freelance writing tough, as there is a lot of hustling). I need downtime (working six days a week, like at my last job, or ten-hour days at a bar, is not really my thing). I hate sitting still for long (desks!?!), but I don't have a lot of formal training at the kind of jobs that are more active (i.e. childcare, cooking, landscape gardening, etc.). Oh, and I have skills that are mostly creative, some administrative, and some facilitative. I am introverted. I work well on a team. I like outside-the-box thinking.

So...what now?

My gut tells me to move past office jobs, but they are stable and I like knowing what I'm getting myself into every day. I'm also not bad at them. I also feel like I want to get more training - something to do with writing, or sexual health, or housing, or co-ops, or facilitation - because I like those things, and I want to know more about them. I like writing, a lot. And none of this is really helpful in divining what my next step should be.

So, a question: how do you decide on your next step? When your contract is up, when your kids go to school, when you graduate? How do you decide how to make your money and fill your days?

I'm at a loss.