Love What You Do

Love What You Do

sandy-cox
SJ is part of a local writers group in Senoia that meets the third Saturday of every month at 10 a.m. at the Senoia Library.  You can also follow more of her writing at creativejuices-sjcox.tumblr.com

As children we spend hours upon hours using our imaginations and dreaming about what we want to be when we grow up. In our youth the world is our oyster, and we can be anything we want, but as the world shapes and forms us we often become jaded and less sure of ourselves. Soon we find that we limit our potential and settle into careers that seem exciting at first, but often times don’t end up fully satisfying us.
In recent years I have found myself in the very same situation. In college I studied Theatre Arts, Costume Design to be specific. It wasn’t something I had ever dreamed of doing, but something I fell into completely by accident. I found that after getting into it I really loved it and so decided to pursue it. I made that into my career and have been working in the Theatre for the last twenty years. The thing about the theatre is that it can be very short lived. In order to have a great career in the theatre, you need to constantly be looking for work. It isn’t like a nine to five job that you can count on every day. Work in the theatre is on a project-by-project basis. Once you get one job, which can last anywhere between three weeks and six months, you have to start looking for the next job in order to stay employed. Sometimes it’s hard to find constant employment, so I have had to pick up work at what I like to call a “regular job.” The great thing about it is that nothing is predictable, every day is something different.
Recently I hurt my back and have been unable to do my job. I therefore have been forced to try and find other kinds of employment. My search has not been very fruitful. It seems that every job I take starts out great, but after a few weeks I become bored out of my mind by the monotonous work hours and the unchallenging tasks given to me. I just can’t seem to find any reason to keep the job and so I tend to quit and move on to the next job, always running into the same thing. As a result, in the past twenty years I have had close to forty jobs. I will admit that about fifty percent of them were contract work in the theatre, but the other fifty percent were “regular jobs” that I just couldn’t stick with.
After I hurt my back, I was required to apply for social security disability. It’s not a fun process, but necessary. Part of the paperwork process was filling out a work history report for the last fifteen years. Once I started listing all the jobs I have had since my college graduation in 2001, I noticed that the worker assigned to my case was giving me a little bit of attitude. She couldn’t believe that I had worked so many jobs and it seemed that she was passing judgement on me. I tried to explain my career situation, but being a straight-laced government worker, I don’t think she understood.
This entire experience has made me re-evaluate my life and career options. Now that I may not be able to do what I have been trained for, I may need to reinvent myself and find something else I love. It’s hard because I really loved being a Costume Designer. This whole experience has taught me that it is important to love what you do for a living. If you are not happy with your job, don’t settle just because the normal thing to do is to grow up, get a job and stick with it. You should do what makes you happy and if your job doesn’t make you happy then keep searching until you find one that does.