What comes next? - JJ Landis
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What comes next?

Life… why does it feel like everyone except me has it figured out? Every day I face some sort of existential crisis. Who am I? What are we all doing here? I don’t believe people with answers, unless they present these so-called answers to me in the humblest of ways, through learned experience.


I am job hunting right now because it’s finally time, after staying home with children for more than sixteen years and working part-time jobs, to earn the big bucks. When I was twenty-seven – after flailing for many years, working, traveling, attending classes here and there – I got my teaching degree. The whole time I was in school, I knew way down deep that I was no teacher. I’m a follower, not a leader. I’m a detail person, not a flexible person. I’m an introvert. I love people and children, but I love them best when I’m not in charge of them. When I taught, I could have won awards for my perfect lesson plans, but when 8:10 rolled around every morning (despite my prayers that the clock would stop), I wanted to throw up (in fact, I did throw up a few times) when I had to walk outside to collect my third graders. Can you say Wrong Career Choice?


Luckily, I had a good excuse to stop working. I had a baby! Ha ha. The joke was on me if I thought having my own children would take away all my anxiety. You moms know what I’m sayin’. (To be clear: I love being a mom! I regret NOTHING about having my babies!!)


Eventually, I found a perfect part-time editing job that I could do at home! It worked well with my mommy schedule. But, as I’m never satisfied and am always jumping from crisis to crisis, project to project, I decided to quit that job and spend tons of money to study for my master’s degree in library and information science. All my classes were online through Drexel Univ. (I had to throw that in, so you’d know I didn’t get a shady degree from “Give us your money and we’ll send a fake diploma” University.) I have been LUCKY/BLESSED enough to work at a small public library for the past seven or so years. It’s fun to go to work. We laugh way too much.


It’s time though, after the chaos of growing little kids into big, responsible kids to enter the work force. To earn some decent money to help my children get their own college degrees! To take some of the burden off my hard-working hubby.


So far, I’ve applied at a large corporation, a publishing company, a university, and some other places. I wonder what will happen. Most of what I’m looking at requires at least a bachelor’s degree, but none of them is library related. Again – Excellent Choice to pursue library science. 🙂


I envy people who had a clue in their teens and early twenties and found work in a field that would sustain them financially and emotionally throughout life. We worked with the teenagers at our church for many years, and I was always amazed at their focus and drive and dedication concerning their futures. Um, all I wanted was to get out of high school and party – not a good long-term plan.


I dreamt last night that I was taking a test in a science class. All throughout the class, the teacher had taught us math, with lots of tedious calculations. I had studied and was prepared to be tested on what I had been taught; but the exam was full of physics and chemistry and history that I didn’t know. People in the class kept talking to me and distracting me and I was unable to complete the test. My dream represents how I feel about myself – I can do what I’m told, I can study and learn, but put me in a real situation and I’m afraid I’ll choke.


Here’s what’s awesome though. My husband, though his tactics have been known to hurt my feelings, believes in my abilities and potential and knows that I will thrive in the right job, which will trickle down into our family and benefit all of us. He won’t let me settle. (Of course, he may just want me to make enough money so he can buy an airplane…)


None of us knows what our days hold. I make my plans but God directs my steps. Sometimes I snub my nose at God and run off and do my own thing. This time, I am not going to let go of his hand.


Do you enjoy your work? Do you want a different job? Do you feel trapped in your job? Do you wish you could go back and tell your eighteen-year-old self to walk a different path? Are you staying home raising your children right now? Do you have your life figured out? Give me advice! 🙂


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