Is it time to break free?

This morning has been a quiet one, which at times can be dangerous for a thinker like me. Today’s risky thinking: Now that my direct supervisor is back from maternity leave this week, should I get serious about searching for a new job in a new field?

Why is that necessarily risky thinking, you may ask. Well, I’ll tell you why: I have little to no experience in other fields. For the past almost twenty years, I’ve worked in some sort of healthcare–nine as a rehab hospital secretary, and now nine as an ophthalmic assistant. Beyond that, I’ve worked in retail. That’s pretty much it, the sum of my “careers.” And it’s not enough to get me out of the hole I’m in.

I don’t mean a financial hole, necessarily; I mean the hole of depression and stagnation. The hole of “Oh, my God, will this ever end?” The hole of knowing I have nowhere to go to get out of the job I’m in.

But does that lack of experience necessarily mean I shouldn’t try? I mean, there are plenty of people who change careers in their forties–and even though I’m nowhere near the level of “able to live off my writing,” maybe, just maybe, I can find a way to finagle that writing into a professional writing career, though it won’t be the kind of writing I really want to do.

I’ve been told that being a published author can help get a foot in the door with technical writing, but all the technical writing jobs I see posted in my area have requirements that I don’t meet, whether it be a degree in English or some such writing-related degree, experience as a technical writer, etc. I’ve also been told that I should apply anyway, that just because I don’t meet all the criteria doesn’t mean I don’t have a chance. In comes that fear of rejection, that fear of trying only to fail. I’ve got to get past that if I want to escape the life I’m currently trapped in.

Another issue is pay. I make a decent amount at the job I’m currently in, enough that I can’t just take any old job I find, especially not in the small-town area we live in. I have to find one that pays me as much as I currently make or more, because we simply can’t afford for me to take a pay cut, sanity-saving or not.

Yeah, my current job has gone way beyond the danger zone of stagnation and soul-crushing. I feel trapped, like I can’t leave because of the above hindrances on my ability to move on to something else. I had started a new job search months ago, but barely got my feet wet on it when my boss went on maternity leave, and at that point I felt obligated to stay because of us being so short-handed. Now, though? Now I want to escape as soon as I can. We’re still short-handed (another employee in my department is on maternity leave now), but I just can’t keep living like this. Dreading the weekdays. Forcing myself to drag up off the couch, away from writing and book marketing, to go take my shower, get dressed, and drive myself to work. Forcing myself to make it through the day, no matter how stressed or anxious I get, no matter how strongly I feel the need to talk to my psychiatrist or call a helpline of some sort to see if I should have myself committed or something. (I recently walked into work with zero sleep the night before and riding a high-octane anxiety attack, which lasted most of the jam-packed work day.) To be perfectly honest, the way I feel some work days I truly think I need at least a 72-hour admit to stabilize myself, but I literally can’t afford it. I can’t afford to get back into my right mind. What kind of life is that?

I want OUT of healthcare. I want OUT of the rut I’m in. I don’t even care right now if I end up straight in another rut. At least it will be a different rut. A new rut.

I don’t even care anymore how much I am or am not needed. How good I am at this job or not. I can’t keep going like this. Nothing is going to change; if anything, it’s going to get worse.

This evening, maybe, I can start looking. Start putting out resumes. Start making a change.