Valueless Lesson

A blank mask without a face behind itIt’s so annoying to have to leave a job just when you’re getting good at it. I’d like to at least know what happened with my boss. I have the distinct impression our conflict was about something other than it appeared to be. Unfortunately, Mr. Not So Nice After All Guy isn’t owning up. Is that fair? Yeah, yeah, life ain’t. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Supposedly, HSPs have superior intuitive and empathetic perception. I’m not entirely convinced on that point. I have been told more than once that I discerned things a person didn’t even recognize about him/herself, usually long after the fact (and mostly by water signs, but that’s another post). On the other hand, I seem to be singularly blind to red flags in an employment context.

However, trying to move on. My confidence in my ability to judge people has been severely shaken, so I’m hitting the “jobs for loners” lists, of which there are many. Most of them are written by “content providers” without a clue. I understand that they probably didn’t get paid enough to actually research their articles, but doesn’t it bother them at all that people might be making career choices based on their off-the-cuff guesswork?

Fortunately, there are a few good forum threads debunking some of the more common – and more wrong – suggestions from lists written by obvious extroverts. Librarian, for instance. Umm, hasn’t any of these people ever been to the library? Librarians are there to serve the people, not the books! Being chatty, and getting a special thrill out of connecting people with useful information, that probably would’ve been a great job for me – if I’d thought of it 30 years ago. However, for reasons that probably have nothing to do with the nature of the work itself, you have to have a graduate degree to earn a decent living as a librarian. Maybe that’s an option for later in life, after I retire and move to a country where I can actually afford to live on my social security. I’m betting other countries don’t require the same inordinate amounts of education.

Park rangers, another misguided suggestion. Also there to serve visitors, lots of public contact. Then there are the defunct jobs, such a projectionist and lighthouse keeper, that no doubt were great for introverts of former generations. I’ve wanted to be a meter reader for years, but “smart” meters are replacing that occupation.

Fire lookouts, on the other hand, still exist. That’s been another of my fantasy jobs, and might even be a growth occupation, given global climate change. But it’s seasonal, and I’m pretty sure there’s no internet. People, I can live without. Internet, not so much.

Swingshift security guard? The pay’s terrible, but if I could write and research on the job, that might be OK. I live in a state with a lot of crime and guns (even more guns than the rest of the country), however, so security guards aren’t just babysitting front desks here, but are actually at risk.

Overnight babysitter for sleeping kids? Presumably for a single parent, though, so could they afford to pay enough to compensate me for the loss of my own cozy bed?

This is not a decision that should be rushed, but I don’t have a lot of time to replace my major income stream. I’m acutely aware that financial pressures have propelled me into jobs I probably should’ve considered more carefully again and again, and I hate that I’m still caught up in that cycle.

I found a post about Myers-Briggs type and earning potential on another introvert blog (I’d link, but it has since been deleted. Probably to keep readers like me from obsessing over it. Too late!). I don’t identify that heavily with my MBTI type, since I find the terminology confusing, and the system unacceptably dualistic, but I couldn’t help noticing that the type I’ve tested as most recently (INFP) is the one with the lowest income potential, according to this infographic. My type result when I first took the test 20 years ago (INFJ) isn’t much better. INFJ is the rarest type, so perhaps it’s no surprise that my employment needs are outside the mainstream.

I don’t know how seriously I should take any of that. Everyone in the infographic is making at least $60k, so it’s obviously not reality-based! It’s actually a little validating to be classified as an “idealist,” and to know others like me also have problems finding work that’s a good match. In a moment of unprecedented insight, my mother gave me Thoreau’s Walden the year I entered high school. Henry David and I have a lot in common. Five years later, I was living in a minimalist cabin myself, and I’d do it again in a minute if I didn’t have loans to pay off (and if there was internet).

I’m toying with the notion of working full-time plus my two “little” jobs (another 9 hours a week) to get those loans off my back quicker so I have more options. It’s a nice, logical idea, and about as realistic for HSP-me as my fantasy about networking the holiday party. At least I now understand that some people really can’t handle that kind of a schedule, and it doesn’t mean I’m deficient – or lazy.

Well, I gotta go hit craigslist. Wish me luck.

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