By Kaitlin Balavender
It may sound strange, but I can link the healthiest and happiest times in my life to periods of unemployment. Although some people find that a job gives them purpose, I found that not having one gave me even more.
Each morning my body’s internal clock would wake me up at the perfect time. I’d open my eyes, ready to take on the day because I had gotten enough sleep. If the weather was nice I’d take a long run outdoors and breathe in really deeply, relishing in the fresh air that had become so foreign to me when I was employed.
I had all the time in the world to daydream. The day was mine. I ate well by preparing involved, interesting recipes that kept my palate satisfied. I was never bored and the only times I felt tired were the nights I poured myself into bed after a day of rigorous exercise, reading, writing, and dreaming. Life was good.
The problem with unemployment is that it lacks to provide an (unfortunately) essential item: money. Not having any of the green stuff to call my own became stressful, even through all the rose colored bliss of being the only one in charge of my time. That’s when it hit me: the biggest problem with any job I’ve ever had is feeling trapped.
Let me give you a little slice of my resume: After blissful unemployment I took a job in the dental field. Working as a dental assistant was one of the most miserable jobs I had to endure. Between the interminable hours of passing instruments and taking orders from an arrogant, power hungry dentist, and disinfecting an entire room 10 times a day, finding anything positive in my day was impossible. Feigning a smile wears on you. So does staring at teeth. In moments of true weakness I fantasized about using the drill to take care of the twitching that had developed in my left eye.
Itching to exercise my creativity muscle, work less hours and pursue academia, I finally quit my job as a dental assistant. It was the first time in three years that I felt like I could breathe.
This summer I was lucky enough to take on a project helping a local business with some promotion in the form of written profiles. I did it on my days off. I loved how it felt. I independently drove to businesses across the state and interviewed some amazing, inspiring people. I took pictures. I laughed. I listened. It felt natural and it finally hit me: this needs to be my job. I could feel it deep within me that writing was the answer.
I’m still far from having my dream career. I write on the side while I go to school part time and work, but my life finally feels like it has purpose. At one point I was sure that being in the healthcare field was the answer to all my financial woes but now more than ever I truly believe that passion and loving what you do should be the driving force in any career decision. Do what you love. Chase your dreams and the money will follow. But more importantly, you can wake up each day knowing your life has purpose.
Kaitlin is passionate about writing and is pursuing a degree in journalism. She loves reading and still subscribes to magazines and goes to the library regularly. When she’s not daydreaming about her future career, she enjoys traveling, being with her family, and finding fun ways to stay active.
Photo source: http://blog.crawfordandcompany.com/