I had long resisted the idea of going back to school, because, as I kept putting it when asked, I needed a new career now, not four years from now.
It had now been seven years since NETELLER. Seven. The job I took to keep money coming in while I found a proper career was now the longest I’d ever worked anywhere. And my hours per week there were dwindling. I’d spent a year in the gig economy. Things were feeling oppressively grim.
I’m not saying psychics are real, but the previous winter, a spiritualist working with a ghost tour company took one look at me, walked to my table, and said “This might seem like a strange question, but… are you okay?” And it occurred to me that answer was no, and had been for a while.
I couldn’t gain a foothold in making a better life. I couldn’t get a new jon, because I could barely even land interviews. I couldn’t date, because between my job and weight I had no self-confidence (which was not aided by every attempt I’d made at dating failing utterly). I couldn’t lose weight because I couldn’t afford a gym because I needed a better job. All roads led back to “need a new job” and that was going nowhere.
A therapist I’d been working with was trying to suggest ways to feel less trapped in life. She suggested setting goals, such as sending out X number of resumes per month. I replied that that goal had no meaning to me, because applying to ten jobs a week accomplished nothing if I was only getting one or two interviews a year, not including scams, door-to-door marketing companies, or churn-and-burn joints like AIL.
Certainly podcasting wasn’t the solution. I’d been trying to launch a podcast for years, with no success, so I wasn’t going to be added to the Earwolf network and guesting on How Did This Get Made any time soon.
A saying took hold in my mind, one I’d heard repeatedly but not managed to apply to my own circumstances… “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
So… school, then? If a new industry was my future, I was going to need a new skillset and qualifications. My mother suggested a coding camp, but it seemed a very high pressure way to break into something I had no confidence I’d be good at.
I don’t remember what first made me look at the Hospitality Management program at SAIT. Probably because the travel and tourism industry in one I’d like to get into, and SAIT was a good place to do that. And the employment rate of grads certainly appealed. Also… and this sounds like I’m joking but it’s legit… I watched The Night Manager with Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie, and the first ten minutes, before the murder and getting entwined with a ruthless arms dealer? When Tom Hiddleston was just managing high end hotels in Cairo or deep in the Swiss Alps? That seemed pretty okay.
And if I have to go undercover with an arms ring to avenge a woman I’d cared for, well, every job has stuff you’d rather not do. Answering phones, cleaning bathrooms, life-or-death games of cat and mouse, Secret Santas… that’s adult life, you know?
So this seemed the way to go. Identify an industry that appeals to me (sure I don’t… love having to talk to people, but there aren’t many jobs that let me avoid that, and I surely don’t have one like that now), enter a program that helps with that. What I should have tried the first time around, instead of going into biochem in a vain and futile attempt to outdo my brother, flaming out two and bit years in, and switching to something that requires at least a Master’s to be even slightly useful.
Sure in a perfect world I’d be writing marketing copy for that chocolatier… man that one seemed ideal, and I felt so close… but this was a way forward. This was something positive I could do that had a strong chance at improving my life. So I jumped in.
One semester in… I think it’s going okay. Grades are good, courses are interesting more often than they aren’t (business math is just algebra but all the word problems are about money; communications and presentations is for high school grads whose first language isn’t English but I have to take it anyway)… though it has made blogging trickier. Hence never getting to the story of our mostly good but occasionally not that trip to Pompeii.
I’m sure I’ll get to that.
Anyway, that’s the answer to “Why are you back in school.” Next time… well, I’m not sure what or when, but hopefully something, hopefully soon.