I went through some Evernote notes while I was on lunch today, and added some tags so I would be able to sort through them easier in the future. I found one from January that I titled “Countdown to Burnout,” where I was tallying up the amount of time I had spent in each of my full-time financial aid jobs to date.
This most recent gig at UW Colleges is not the best paying or the most interesting job that I’ve had in this field. But it is probably the best fit with my employment sensibility at this stage. It has positives like extremely low (i.e., never in-person) student contact, easy-going management, and reasonable workload. As I think back to how my other financial aid gigs ended, I can point to specific markers that made me feel I had to go:
- Oshkosh, Round One: I had grown tired of living so far away from Michelle, and wanted to find a job that would make my personal life a little easier.
- Milwaukee: I had completely burned out in a high-stress, low-reward position with minimal opportunity for change.
- Oshkosh, Round Two: While I might have been ready to be a manager on a personal/professional development level, I was not ready to succomb to financial aid as a long-term career, and had some personality conflicts at work that were extremely stressful.
I was probably disillusioned after the holidays, and thinking about how I wasn’t making any tangible progress on my thesis at the time that I wrote this note. As of today, having finished my master’s degree and feeling more like I get to be in control of how my life progresses than I have since 2002, my work situation is not as bad. Do I love it here? No. Do I want to stay long-term? Also no. Do I realize that, in the grand scheme of things, I could do a lot worse, employment-wise? Absolutely. I guess I just don’t feel as trapped in financial aid as I did before. I feel like I have qualifications that I could sell to other people, and do other things. For now, though, it’s pretty comfortable. It’s respectable work. The flames aren’t creeping over the horizon just yet.