A few weeks ago I went on a bookbinding course (about which I have an as yet unfinished blog entry to post…) and happened to meet the lovely lady who runs the “do what you love” blog. At the time I sighed a big sigh, and thought, “if only.”
I don’t do what I love. I certainly don’t love what I do. Which is a tremendous shame really. I went into library work because I loved it. Or what I knew of it. I love books. I love helping people. I love the discovery of information. I love the Internet, and databases, and I love the feeling I get when i know I’ve made someone’s job easier, their work better, or stopped them wasting money on something that is available (at least to them) for nothing. I thought that’s what libraries were about. And certainly for some, they are. But the way of the world is such that my job has become little more than financial management, staff management firefighting, and constantly fighting for our professional existence. If it were all of the above, and this, I could maybe still love it. But it’s not. So I don’t. So I don’t want to do it any more. I don’t really even want to apply for other library jobs because this one has wrecked my confidence, my health, And my belief that anyone will actually let us do our jobs properly and keep their ignorant noses out, is none existent now.
I want to do something else. But I can’t just leave. I have a good wage, but I pay out so much in debt payments that I have virtually no ability to save for a rainy day. And without my income we wouldn’t be able to pay the bills, let alone the debt. So until I manage to get rid of that, no dramatic gestures of my dreams, telling them where they can stick their spreadsheets. But if i do get rid of that debt, i could take an £800 drop in income and have the same standard of living as i have now. Which might be achievable. So I have to think of how can i start to make a little on the side, doing the things I do love, that maybe one day can make the backbone of “something else”. Something that I wouldn’t find myself wondering if I wouldn’t just rather not wake up in the morning at all, than go to work.
What do I love? What am I good at? I can turn my hand to a lot of things, But am terminally incapable of finishing projects. My bipolar magpie mind jumps on to the next shiny thing without waiting to finish with the first. That, I need to train myself out of. I love to create. To be artistic. To be a hostess. To bake. I love (still) books. Making them, reading them, writing them, cataloguing, abstracting and indexing them. Selling them.
I read about the experiences of some of the deeply inspiring people on Do what you love. I’d like it if they’d talk more about the practical side, otherwise there’s a demon in my head that says they can only do it because their partners are well paid, or they have big fat trust funds. I tried to figure out what was common to them. What gave them the oomph. Support is one thing I think. Having the support of those around you. My biggest barrier is that my parents are too risk averse to encourage me to do anything non-standard. To them, you go to work for someone else, you are largely miserable, but if you are lucky, secure. You retire, you have some fun if you can afford it, then You die. Or at least that’s how it seems. Even when they know I cry myself to sleep and am driven suicidal by my job, they still won’t support my “crazy ideas” of trying something else. I wish I didn’t care. Wish I weren’t an only child already feeling I am failing them through my lack of children. I wish they had confidence in me and valued the things I value. But more than likely if I am going to make any changes they will be made with a backdrop of disapproval and worry and disappointment. Which is a shame.
I am getting married. And something I have learned in exploring the wonderful world of weddings is that boy, are some people making a lot of money out of it. I am making my own bouquet, and am planning on making the invites. Maybe, if they’re good enough, they could be an avenue too.
But I need to make those little changes. To convince myself that I’m not stuck forever more in a job that is slowly destroying my life. To convince myself that there is light at the end of the tunnell.