I haven’t written much about my short-lived summer job. I meant to, but it got shuttled to the back burner by the premiere of Sensitive: The Untold Story, and other more time-sensitive topics, and by the time that was over, it was old news.
Two Roads Diverged
I felt a certain empathy for my boss and her issues, but eventually concluded they were impacting my life to an unacceptable degree. I was so proud of myself for figuring out that I needed to make a change before the need became urgent. This time, I’ll find another job first, I thought.
However, she must’ve sensed it, because she blew up out of nowhere over something trivial, and abruptly I was out of a job without a replacement income. The time since has been nerve-wracking. Each month, it has been a miracle that I managed to pay my rent. I’m pretty pissed at her. I was a good employee, and I deserved better.
Then I learned that she was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness two weeks after I left. I was shocked and saddened, of course, and I hope she survives. But I can see how very much that is a part of her path, and I can also see that I don’t need to go down that path with her, which would’ve been a lot harder to avoid if I was still working for her. Interesting timing, isn’t it?
How to Be Free
Meanwhile, my income from the business I started last spring has improved somewhat, though it fluctuates a lot. What I’m doing continues to morph from my original vision with new experiences. It seemed like a good time to revisit Free Range Humans.
I have mentioned Marianne Cantwell and her Free Range Humans philosophy before. She is an HSP extrovert life/work coach who suggests that we should invent our own careers by working backwards from an understanding of who we are and what we really care about. I felt this before I ever heard of her, but you won’t find a lot of validation for that approach among conventional career counselors.
I’d already been trying for awhile to understand why work wasn’t working for me, and what to do instead, without much progress, when I saw Free Range Humans mentioned in an HSP forum. Back then, Cantwell was sending out a weekly blog post to her email list. I signed up, and her posts were often uncannily apropos to whatever I was struggling with at the time.
She also offered a free starter email course on building a Free Range lifestyle. I didn’t feel like I made much headway with this the first time around, since it depended on understanding oneself a whole lot better than I did at the time. I had just discovered I was an HSP and introvert, so I still had a lot of integrating to do. Even so, there is no doubt that it encouraged me to persevere in my efforts to forge my own path.
Recently, I revisited her free course, which has been updated, and now has separate forks for people who already know what they want to do, vs. people who don’t. Since I already have a trial alternate career of a sort underway, I took the fork on promoting your business this time. I was doing most of what she suggested from instinct, but having that validated and becoming more conscious of it was valuable nevertheless.
Compromise, Friend or Foe?
I’m still torn about whether I’m on the right path, though. What I really want to do is this, what I’m doing right now. Left to my own devices with no places to go, people to see, or bills to pay, I would happily spend most of my time browsing the internet, mulling over large questions and small, and writing about it. I have known this for awhile, but haven’t found a way to make a living at it.
But one of the principles of Free Range thinking is to not get stuck on only one way of reaching a goal. I suspect this lesson is of particular relevance to HSPs, since overwhelm tends to undermine the “try, try again” spirit. So, in theory, if my goal is to have a significant amount of open-ended time to read, think and write, finding a career I don’t hate that allows me to work a minimal number of hours a week for a high rate of pay could be one way to achieve that, right?
That’s flawlessly logical, but I’m not feeling it. At all. I’d swear the lesson I’m learning these days is to stop ignoring my inclinations. But then my cats get sick (two of them), and I pull myself up by the scruff and say “Look, girl, you have to find a solution to your poverty NOW. Fine tune the details once your bills are getting paid!” So I’m very confused. It’s like the universe is kicking me in the butt to get moving by picking on my poor little cats who never did anything but love me. That’s a mighty motivator, alright, but motivation was never the problem. I’d gladly go, if only I knew in what direction. Newsflash, universe: HSPs do not perform well under pressure!