Saturday, December 09, 2006

Back Link New Perspectives and Orientation

The up-and-coming year is going to bring about a lot of changes. In particular, I will be looking for new employment. The present work contract with the university runs out in February and, unfortunately, the possibility of receiving extra funding for a new research project does not seem likely. In all likelihood, I’ll not only be changing employers, but I’ll be changing career direction as well.

From ballet dancer, to electrical engineer, to scriptwriter and project coordinator for e-learning modules, to researcher and project coordinator for interactive multimedia school projects: doesn’t quite make sense if listed on paper or in my CV, but in the grand scheme of things, the changes were logical. I never would have thought that I’d do so many different jobs once I “grew up”; yet in the near future, I’ll be facing my fifth career change.

Having to establish myself in a new work field at Almost Fifty is, in those dark early morning hours, a rather daunting and bleak prospect. Yet, in the more positive moments like this one, I see that this situation is not unique among people of my generation, nor am I without optimism.

It is odd, but at the time I was studying, it was the university graduate who did the career planning and not economical circumstances, company restructuring, or new social political trends. We were taught to make astute career changes by considering calculable financial gains and potential promotion. Yet, what has occurred in many of my friends’ and acquaintances’ professional lives has been anything but this. We have learnt to cope with the strain on personal relationships through long workweeks: how to dodge financial disaster when companies restructure or fold: how to battle with the responsibilities of having to accept handed-down responsibilities from other less fortunate, those who were made redundant even though the work they did still needs to be done: how to accept the inevitability of certain (hopefully brief) periods of unemployment: and how yield a tenacious, yet creative, will in finding new employment.

For some this means holding on to jobs that do not fulfil them, but they bring in the necessary income to keep a roof over their heads and a meal on the table. For others it means immigrating to far off countries, where the job perspectives are better, though family and friends must be left behind. And others, like myself, it means trying to find new employment, new direction, every few years or so.

It is not easy to appear calm and I don’t wish to give the impression that I’m without fears; for this is certainly not the case. But this present situation is, unfortunately, the same one that our children will face over and over again. And so, maybe, in some skewed but brilliant way, my present journey has meaning.

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