I had a slow day at work today, it left me room to leave my brain running. It ran back to a post I have been trying to write in one form or another for ages. The drafts folder here is littered with half written and deeply incomplete fragments of what has been leading up to this.
About a year ago I started doing temp work. There was no choice about it at the time, I needed work, the EI was going to run out and cash was needed. The time preceding that was rough. The short spent of productive creativity that gained me most of the 60'000 words of the novels first draft was a brief time. The oppressively sunny days of summer came a long and the cat ran away. The emotional cocktail resulting from the bitterness of having been let go again, the stress of both the search for cat and the recovery consumed much of my energy. So what job hunting I did was quite mediocre and largely dooming myself to failure.
Now a year into being professionally underemployed I am starting to think about how to get out of the underemployment. Ironically I started with moving. There is a finite amount of stress I am willing to take, if the home is a stressor, as the old one was, I am more inclined to retreat and fail to try. So I fixed that. Years of thinking about what a better home for me would entail lead me good decision. It was relatively easy for me to learn what I wanted in a home, learning what I want out of a job has proven to be a tougher prospect. Data was needed, I have more now.
Learning what made up a bad workspace was easy, all it takes is for people to fail to care about the work. In the mix of good bad and mostly half bad I started to find what makes work satisfying. And in that same process it became clear that the few career oriented jobs were bad for me in many of the same ways I see the temp jobs getting to me.
After many hundreds of words of either not knowing or only knowing what did not work for me I can start to list what does. For a start having a clear scope, clear and limited key responsibilities, next to that is a clear output. A project must have a recognizable end, too much uncertainty about this stresses me. Within that constrained frame work independence is welcome. Being left alone with the tools I need and puzzling things out for myself.
My current placement is the best example of a good workspace I have to go on. The mechanical nature of it gives most tasks a definite start and end state. Things are being learned, the challenges may be small, but for a natural klutz building control and mechanical insight is kind of a break through for me. Learning and problem solving are part of job, not all the time but enough to stave of repetitive brain injury. Mistakes which I try to minimize happen, but they are responded to not with anger or condescension, but as teachable moments. It helps that what I am doing is specialized enough that an outsider can not be expected to know much of anything.
Coming back to the new apartment. As I said a list of qualities that I needed grew out of all the good and bad places I lived in. And so when a place was seen, and found to hit on the major points a seriously stressed and sleep deprived version of me was still able to make the right move. A list like that for work is forming in my head. It can be better articulated but is not finalized. The question of do I try to return to an environmental science job crosses my mind. The answer is I am thinking about it but...
The buts are. I don't know how.
I don't know what is you are supposed to research when researching a company, I just don't know what they expect you to know.
I don't know how to network without feeling fake.
Assessing the relevance of job postings is still black magic to me.
This is very much like the list I ranted on at the start of my job search full of bitterness and hopelessness. I still don't know these things but I am starting to admit I need help learning them.
It is also known that I can trust my instincts more now. The biggest shock of all, I am getting more confident, it does not come naturally to me but it is happening.