But it hasn't happened in 11 months. People keep telling me that this is a perfect time to figure out what I want to be when I grow up and go in a totally different direction, and I know that. But I don't know what that direction would be. It would be really cool if I could say SCREW IT! and pull a Jerry Maguire and do something radical. I'd love to figure out a way to travel internationally and surf full-time, of course I would. But I don't know how. And I don't know if inspiration is going to come if I keep on waiting.
What I do know is this: I have zero interest in business, maximizing profits, improving morale, running test scenarios, conducting root cause analyses, leading conference calls, handing out 3% raises. I don't want to keep track of your sorry ass and if you're late to work or not. I don't want to take classes where I give mock sales presentations, and I don't want to travel to visit clients. I don't want to meet with you weekly to track your performance and "inspire" you to work harder, and I don't ever - and I mean ever again - want to use the word "passion" when I'm talking about banking.
This creates a huge problem for me, and it leaves me feeling very vulnerable and confused. Truly. I've been in banking for 16 years and for most of that time I've really enjoyed it. At times I've loved it. It's my grandfather's profession. And I've taken a tremendous amount of pride in what I've accomplished. I literally grew up in banking. Over the years my employers have helped me earn two college degrees, buy my first house, and fulfill my biggest dream ever of living overseas. They've also helped me learn what it means to be a manager, and a leader, and I think I've done a good job with what I've been taught, and I've given a lot back to them and to a few hundred employees. But banking is different now than when I started in 1993. And I think if it wasn't already on life support from my time in Japan, the job in New York pretty much killed it for me. I'm sure it's deeper than that, and I guess there were good things about that position, but when I think of a truly soul-sucking job, I think of my job in New York. And I want to put that behind me.
I want to do something bigger. I want to do something meaningful. In the past I've make a conscious choice to have a job that makes decent money and leaves me time to do volunteer work to find personal meaning. That worked out well for me for quite a while. But now I'm tired of it all and I want to do something that matters, even just a little bit.
My brother and SIL are teachers and they've suggested teaching to me a few times. I remembered that when I taught for 3 terms at a local college in Japan, I really did love it. I found a little evidence of that here on the blog - #24 on my 100 Things list from 2007, and in this weirdly-formatted post from 2004. And I used to talk with my then-boss about how much I liked it after I'd had a particularly good class. Last week I got out my old student evals from that time and they're really great - they reminded me of the feeling of connecting with students and the sense that you're making a small but real difference in someone's life. I'm not saying that teaching is my true calling or my passion or my dream come true, so settle down. But I did really love teaching, and I eventually quit just because it was so damn much work for so little money, and I had my very demanding day job to attend to.
So I've been thinking more about teaching and I'm horrified to say that I think I'm applying for a Masters in Teaching program that will allow me to become certified as a high school teacher in hopefully one year-ish. I would want to teach psych/soc, which is what my undergrad education is in, and psych has always been my first love. The whole thing is so mysterious - so many tests to take and forms to fill out, classroom observations, student teaching, and more. I mean, student loans. Can I even do this? Am I too old? Am I too tired? Do I even know how to be the student, the employee anymore? What if I can't support myself on the salary? And what if I get into it and don't really love it? It's very possible. What if I become a teacher and then complain about my job and you guys all say YOU CAN'T COMPLAIN ABOUT TEACHING. YOU DIDN'T LIKE BANKING. YOU HAVE TO LIKE TEACHING.
I think I'd feel better if I had a revelation, maybe a vision in a dream or a thousand angels descending on my apartment with the message that I'm supposed to be a teacher. I don't have that at all. But I think I'm at the point where I'm deciding this might be a good job that I might end up really enjoying so I'm thinking about going for it. Maybe summers off to surf? I don't know.
This whole being a grown up thing is exhausting.