The quest for a work “thing”: Introduction

This started as a blog post about my desire to find the “thing” that will captivate and direct my vocational capacities post-child raising and homeschooling.

As I've written before, I don't just want a job; I want a career. I want a trajectory. I want a title, meaning I want a name for my paid work that encompasses more than just the task/job/contract at hand but describes the overarching idea and meaning of that work.

Here are examples of titles (not all income earning): author, researcher, builder, scientist, therapist, artist, homemaker, entrepreneur, teacher.

I am clear-eyed that when people use these titles, they only reference one part of their identity - their working identity. Our identities are multi-faceted; therefore, our titles, should we choose to use them, are multi-faceted.

However, I know people whose working titles also represent who they are and what they value. It's not just what they do. My dad immediately comes to mind. Builder is who he is, what he does, and how he perceives his contribution to society (as well as one of his actual contributions to society).

The title of virtual assistant, the current means by which I earn money, is not the same.

In the past, I have used writing projects and blog series to find my way through cultural upheaval, to help me navigate periods of personal and familial transition and change, and to help me explore and articulate desires and dreams.

Writing is a tool for me to do the wayfinding on my journey.

And so I'm going to do it again. I will write my way through this with the hopes of discovery or knowledge at the end. Not all my writing and blog publishing is wayfinding. I see these missives as writing my life's story, as it happened or has recently happened. But in looking back, I can identify instances where I have written my way to self-knowledge and the opportunities that led me to self-truth and knowing.

Maybe I can make that happen here.

This is the third time I have written a blog series on the subject of work, jobs, employment, and careers. My first two are here:

Additionally, in 2019 I did a series of 8 podcast interviews called Second Bloom with women who transitioned to new midlife vocations from mothering and homeschooling.

Obviously, this topic takes up a significant amount of mental real estate for me for these 2 simple reasons:

  1. Work is what we do as humans. See this post for a full exploration of what I mean by the word work. Work - anything you set your hand, head, or heart to do that yields a result; effort done to achieve an outcome or purpose.

  2. I have goals for my work. And I still haven't reached them, so the topic remains open and unresolved.

I've decided to publish this as a series of blog posts and not one colossal essay, as I often do these days, because I want to explore the ideas in digestible bits.

Today’s post is just this, the introduction. The next one starts with the juiciest parts (for me).

I will start this series by discussing feminism, social structures, politics, and economics. What people, what women, do for work is so intimately tied to these topics I can’t even discuss my own work goals and my search for a “thing” without starting here.

Coming next: Finding a "thing" in the cultural, relational, and economic context of my life. Stay tuned...

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