I read a Mental Floss article a couple months ago about a study that showed that not following one’s calling in life is worse than not having any calling at all. According to the study, “those who do not feel called to any particular vocation report higher levels of work engagement, career commitment, and domain satisfaction and less physical symptoms, psychological distress, and withdrawal intentions than those who have, but cannot pursue, their occupational calling.”
Unfortunately, while the general premise of the study could resonate with a lot of people, it was rather narrow in its scope in that it only looked at how American academics rated their life and job satisfaction along with their physical and emotional well being (and considering how arduous it is to break into academia, I’m not surprised that these types of people would find it especially difficult to not pursue their dream careers). Nevertheless, I think it could be study that could be expanded upon to look at non-academics.
It has been over a year since I posted on this blog. I thought about it a lot and wished that I had some new crocheted doodad to show off, but life happened, as it always does. If I may have a moment of rather personal honesty, I dealt with a lot of emotional hardships that made it difficult for me to make time to crochet things that fall under the “mission” of this blog, let alone write about them. One of these hardships was a miserable job.
When I first started working at– let’s call it “Sad-Job”– I thought that I was the luckiest millennial I knew: it was in my field (the arts), it paid well, and it was a great place to build up my knowledge base and resume’. Furthermore, this was all happening at the tail end of the Great Recession, which negatively impacted millions in my generation and made it impossible for many us to get ahead in our careers. But here I was, supporting myself and following my passion. It took me a little over 2 years of working at Sad-Job to realize that I was working in a sexist, abusive environment. At 3.5 years, I had to start seeing a therapist because I had developed such bad anxiety that I couldn’t let 5 minutes pass without thinking about Sad-Job and how afraid I was of making a mistake, talking to my boss, interacting with clients, and just being at work.
During my time at Sad-Job, I was putting aspects of my college degree (Pre-Art Conservation) to good use, and I also started and finished a Master’s degree in Art History and a Professional Certificate in Museum Studies. I did everything that I wanted to do to further my career, and though I was working in my field, I was absolutely despondent. I had spent the better part of my 20s working in a singular direction, and working there made me not only feel like I had made one of the biggest mistakes of my life in choosing the wrong career path, but I also started hating my lifelong love: art.
Around the time I had to start seeing a therapist, I also started working another part-time job at a museum. After about 8 months there, I decided that I wanted to pursue the maximum number of non-benefitted hours (since it is very, very difficult to get a full-time and/or benefitted museum job) so that I could not only build up my museum experience and be a better candidate for eventual full-time employment, but leave Sad-Job all together. It took another 6 months or so from the time I made my decision to leave to ACTUALLY leave, but I did it. And it wasn’t even 2 months after I left that I landed a full-time, benefitted job at the museum in the perfect department for me: Collections Management.
Working at a job that allows me to use my skills, receive encouragement to better myself, and be given gratitude for the work that I do has given me a new lease on life. I want to talk about art and pursue other non-work passions again, and I want to channel some of that energy into this blog. I’ve adjusted the overall mission of this blog for now: at the beginning, this blog was supposed to be an extension of an Etsy shop, but for now, I’m just going to create things for the sake of creating them. I want to share what I am doing and connect with others. As Picasso said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”