I’ve been reflecting on my personal issues lately. I think there are a couple of major categories. One category relates to career stuff and one relates to my engagement with CF. I think that with both categories, a fundamental issue is a lack of any clear and coherent goals/values/desires on my part. Thoughts welcome.
I’ve had more downtime than usual from work and have actually managed to run out of the usual distractions I put before myself to avoid dealing with big picture stuff. I’ve also been listening to some mainstream audiobooks that touch on philosophy and that’s put me in a more contemplative mood. I also got some criticism that made it harder to avoid thinking about. I’ve also been exercising regularly and having success with that and that’s put me in a mindframe of wanting to deal with some harder issues. I’m also getting older and have some sense that if I’m going to make some big transition in my life, it needs to happen soon or else it’s not gonna happen (if it isn’t too late already). I also recently became aware of some stuff that might let me get a “clean slate” on my very poor financial situation and that gave me some cause for optimism and for trying to make some progress in my life.
I’m not sure why I’m here or what I’m trying to accomplish. I’ve engaged in some learning projects as part of FI but haven’t done much with the results of that. The thing is that I think I actually enjoyed the projects while doing them, but then just didn’t take any next steps.
I think I had some cultural default goal of wanting to be part of a community that doesn’t fit with CF and has caused problems. I’ll get some criticism that I interpret as harsh and will feel alienated. I have known some people who stopped engaging with philosophy partially because they wanted more of a “normal community” type feel, and I’ve been critical of that but also apparently partially agreed with the perspective of such people.
I’m not sure how CF should fit within my life, my career, or what I want out of it.
I’ve been stuck in my career for a while. I do temporary work in a professional field.
There’s a couple of different ways to frame what I do and my overall career situation. On the one hand, you can frame it as a completely dead-end, low-paying, low-status, uninteresting career graveyard. On the other hand, you could frame it as a very flexible role that allows for lots of downtime and pursuing outside interests while supporting yourself. I think there is truth to both those framings. It’s a particularly bad outcome career-wise for me cuz I went to a relatively good school so it’s quite a “fall” to wind up doing this stuff. If I was using the flexibility in some productive way (by pursuing outside interests seriously) I think that’d be okay. I don’t think I’ve done that though - like, I think that the flexibility has led me (on occasion, not on a consistent basis) to engage with FI/CF stuff more than I would compared to if I’d had some super demanding professional job, but I still haven’t done very much objectively, if that makes sense.
I’ve thought of doing something in my current field.
One option (basically trying to have my own professional office in my field, own clients etc) sounds interesting but I think I’m missing various prerequisites and I think they’d be very hard for me to get (in addition to not having substantive skills to do the actual work, I’m not very entrepreneurial and not a big social networker, and I think I’d need to be excellent at those to make this work.)
I’ve considered building on what I currently do and trying to “gain a level” in that at a standard job. I think that’d be the most straightforward thing to do for someone in my position. The issue is that I’m not sure it’d actually be better or that I’d actually enjoy it.
There’s one thing I could do in this vein - basically work full time doing the same stuff I’m doing now but with a full time job title - that I’m pretty sure I don’t want to do. The reason is that I’m not that interested in the work, and I think the tradeoffs of being a full time salaried employee would not be worth it (e.g. they expect you to work a lot without paying you extra, so the pay per hours can actually come out worse. And I actually have valued the downtime that comes with being a temporary worker somewhat).
There’s something I’ve considered in this vein that would involve getting a technical certification and working in the same field but more as a technical administrator. I think there are some jobs there - they often want people with more actual technical skills but people do hire some number of folks with my background + a certification. I think this would lead to somewhat higher pay and might be interesting for a while. And, having interacted with both some, I have tended to find the office dynamics of the places that have this type of job less annoying than the office dynamics of the places that have the type of job mentioned in the previous paragraph. OTOH, I’m not sure that it is something I want to do forever as like, my primary work, or something like that. I think I’d get bored at this too, eventually. It would just be changing the scenery for a bit and maybe getting a pay bump.
I could also try finding an entry level job in my field, especially with the government, which has more entry level jobs. Issue here is my field is very status conscious that are accessible to me. I think I’m too far removed from school, and have been doing my low status work for too long. I also don’t have much of what’s considered “substantive” experience. So now my resume looks bad. I’ve actually tried applying for jobs some (periodically) but always get rejected, though I could try in a more thorough way.
I’ve considered changing fields, like maybe doing some sort of coding school or whatever. I now think I actually could probably accomplish the educational part of this (which I was not previously confident about) and that it’d let me do more interesting work than I am now. Issue here is whether it’d actually help me achieve big picture goals, and the issue there is figuring out what those goals actually are.
Also, one concern is that I selected my current field based on earning potential and that wound up being a total disaster. I don’t think the same factors apply cuz 1) I actually have more emotional maturity and have addressed at least some of the issues that caused my career to be such a failure and 2) there wouldn’t be such a big up front financial commitment to switching fields as there was to entering current field, so that reduces the downside risk somewhat (though there’s still the opportunity cost of learning a bunch of new stuff).
This is super vague but I’m just mentioning it for completeness. I’ve vaguely considered the idea that maybe I should try to focus on economics or philosophy or something like that in a professional way. I’m not sure what I’d actually do here though (e.g. I don’t think there’s a clear path for me being an economist at my age, despite thinking that I have some actual genuine interest in the topic). So I’m not sure what exactly this would look like. At some level, it seems like it’d be a good idea to connect professional and intellectual interests rather than have them be more separate, but like I said, this point is pretty vague in my mind.
If I just arbitrarily pick some small goal, I can break it up into steps. But when I think about the big picture goal of what I want to do with my life, I just have a tree where the parent is “Goals” and a child is “Steps” and that’s as far as I get (which I guess makes me “the most depraved type of human being”.) The actual goal I seem to have acted to obtain is “avoid stress and maintain a minimal standard of living”. Well, I’ve largely succeeded at that but that’s not very ambitious…
I feel like I’m missing something important - like some actual genuine interests. I feel kind of like someone trying to make purchasing decisions without any sense of what they want or like. So my shopping cart comes out a confused jumble without rhyme or reason or coherent theme, and then I’m trying to somehow make a dinner out of marshmallow fluff and veggie burgers and horseradish.