What If

A new thought came to me last week: What if I stayed open to the idea of going back into my field? What if I did all these things that are required of the job but which I didn’t think I could do, things I’ve done before but in my opinion not very well—what if I did those things anyway, and what if I learned how to do them well? What if I took some classes, contacted former colleagues, asked for a mentor, joined a networking group?

What if I did all of that and gained self-confidence in doing so, and worked on my hobbies on the side, which may or may not become something more one day? And what if I made a decent salary and got my own apartment and paid off my debt and took painting classes and wrote my blog and did other fun things I like to, all on the side? What if I allowed myself time to research other options while working in this field I’ve landed in, if it turns out that there is indeed anything else out there for me? Maybe this is it. Maybe this is the path that God or whatever you want to call a higher power meant for me. For some reason.

For months, years really, I have resisted the field I’ve landed in, which is marketing. It happened by accident and I don’t feel qualified to do it. But what if I looked at it differently, in a light of gratitude for getting paid well, with a feeling of confidence that I know what I’m doing because I’ve been doing this for years, and I can take classes, read articles, or go to events to learn more. Is it possible that it could be different this time or am I deluding myself out of desperation and a deep-rooted belief that I can’t do anything else? On the other hand, what if I didn’t go to work every day in a state of panic? What if I felt comfortable in my own skin and had a positive attitude without that old idea that I don’t fit in?

Maybe this really is all there is. This is it. I’m probably never going to become a Mother Teresa-like yoga teacher living on a Hawaiian beach making a million dollars. And that’s a huge disappointment. Because I thought this was America, the land of the free, where you can do anything you want. Where we’re all going to become President, right?

Joking aside, maybe I can find a job that I’m capable of doing, something that contributes to my small part of the universe in some way, even if that means being a grocery store worker—although I really hope that’s not my fate—or even as a marketer. Intellectually I understand that it’s not about the job itself but more about my attitude towards that job, but it’s hard to believe I could ever really become a competent and confident marketing director or manager promoting something important to me, especially if that job involves analytics, which is what many of the online marketing jobs require. Each time I think of a specific job requirement, which I don’t feel capable of doing, such as analytics, I wonder if I ought to take a class on whatever it is so that I can learn it and just do it.

I still feel so trapped. There has to be a better way. There’s more to life than this.

But then another epiphany—well, possible epiphany, possible delusion—that occurred to me is that no one really knows anything for sure. Meteorologists can’t predict the weather in spite of spending their entire professions doing just that. Stockbrokers can’t tell you the perfect stocks to choose. Nutritionists argue about what’s really healthy: low-carb, paleo, or vegan? Sports analysts, news analysts, industry experts of all kinds, none of them really know what will happen, yet everyone has an opinion. As for me, I don’t want to analyze anything. I don’t want to plan anything. I don’t want to create strategies, yet no matter what I do, no matter where I go, that’s what everyone wants. They want someone who’ll create a plan, a strategy for what to do, and I’m no different. What I want is for someone to give me the fucking blueprint with detailed steps on exactly what to do because I don’t know. None of us fucking know! It sure seems to me that we’re all asking for someone else to be the leader and tell the rest of us what to do because really we’re all just bumbling around trying to figure it out. But maybe I’m wrong. I mean, a meteorologist has to study weather patterns, a doctor has to go to medical school, and I’ve been working in marketing for years. I definitely know more than your average Joe when it comes to marketing; it’s not like someone with no experience would get hired.

And I don’t want to tell people what to do—especially not if they’re not going to do what I suggest anyway. And isn’t that usually how it works? You get a job as a manager and your job is to direct employees in their jobs, and while some may be people pleasers who’ll do just what you say, most people resent their bosses and don’t want to do what their bosses ask of them, or they don’t want to do it in the way their bosses want. We all want someone to tell us what to do, but none of us want to actually do what is asked of us.

Anyway, a few days after this revelation that maybe I can do it, I’ve reached a new theory. It’s possible that not only is everything going to be okay, it’s probably going to be more than okay. I am going to be more than okay. Not in a rose-colored glasses sort of way where I get everything I want in the way that I want it, but in a better-than-I-planned way. The reason I know this is because I just acknowledged that I have a unique talent that pays well and I’ll be able to get a job doing it. Correction: I don’t know any of this for sure, but I have a hunch. The only thing is, I don’t know if it will happen soon—I only know that it won’t happen soon enough for me.

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