A change'll do me good
February 3, 2010 11:45 AM   Subscribe

What should I do next year?

Hi MeFites,

So, as I've mentioned before, I'm having a sort of quarter-life crisis. My plan is to take this coming year and apply to graduate programs, both English PhDs and (as it turns out) rabbinical school, to start in the fall of 2011.
I have been looking for other publishing-type jobs (the field I'm in now), as I think my current job (and boss) is a pretty big source of the malaise/depression I'm feeling. My goal is to be able to leave my job by the summertime. If money were no object, I'd quit tomorrow and go travelling, something I've never really had the chance to do, but money really is an object - I live almost paycheck to paycheck and am already getting help from understanding parents.

What would you do if you were me during this year? How do I make the most of it? I'm so so tired of my job/social life/normal outlets that I could scream. I have been making good smaller changes (therapy, volunteering, taking interesting evening classes) but I'm in dire need of a real, drastic change.

(Apologies if this sounds whiny or entitled. I recognize the value of having a job in a recession. But I still feel like a little bit like I'm stuck, with no end in sight.)
posted by bookgirl18 to Education (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Detach. Work your job for the money. All that 'screaming' energy is best put into a positive, self-serving end. Spend your time researching, daydreaming and planning your next years. This will get easier as time goes by and the adventure takes form.

Keep your eye on the prize...every move should more or less work towards that goal (even if you don't know what the goal actually looks like right now). Look into every detail of your PhD programs (applying can easily consume your life for 3-6 months, trust me). Find out more about cheap travel options...couchsurfing, humanitarian aid afar, wwoofing, hostels, etc. Look for ways to pare down your life right now, removing all time-sucking distraction...sell things, cancel accounts, trim all the lists. Distill it all into basic needs, so that your wants will be clear to you. Then go enjoy what you've carved out for yourself.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:02 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

If I were in your shoes, I would start looking for a service industry job, preferably one with flexible hours and a decent income. Bartending, catering, busing tables, etc. Let your friends know that you feel like you're in a rut, and encourage them to think of you when they head off to try new stuff. Then say "yes" when they ask you to come along.
posted by craven_morhead at 12:33 PM on February 3, 2010

If you aren't married to publishing (and it sounds like you aren't), find a different job. Whatever will pay the bills. Where do you live? Are you in New York? craven_morhead's suggestion of a service industry job is a good one, but you should also look at assistant positions in fields that have a lot more money than publishing. It would be gruntwork, and not that different from being an editorial assistant (which is what I'm assuming you are now) but it would pay a hell of a lot better than ed assisting does (I know; I've been one).

I've also had a toxic boss; I reached the point you're at now two years ago. Once I made the concrete decision to find a new job and gave myself a schedule to leave (saving money the whole time I was looking for a job so that, if worse came to worst, I'd still leave the job when I said I was going to and live on ramen for a while), things got better because whenever she did something awful, I could just think to myself "I'm leaving in X days." Once I did find a job and left, it was unspeakably wonderful.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:00 PM on February 3, 2010

I forget, are you in NYC? I don't mean to diss it, 'cause I love new york, but that place is a rat race. You could move to a lot of places and work part time and make it easier than in New York. A lot easier. Portland, Oregon. Asheville, NC. Can you find somewhere to live rent free for awhile? And just let yourself, kinda just float? It sounds like you have enough get up and go for a couple people, I think it sounds like you just need to do whatever the hell you want for a little bit, and you'll bounce back in no time. Working part time in a "whatever" job is a great idea, like craven suggested.
posted by Rocket26 at 3:16 PM on February 3, 2010

What about doing something like Voluntary Service Overseas? They pay for all travel-related costs, health insurance, etc. plus give you a monthly stipend that is equivalent (roughly) to whatever the people in the area you're volunteering in live on, so you know it's doable. (More or less. If your parents would be willing to give you a couple hundred additional bucks a month plus commit to bailing you out if something really serious happened, you would have no financial problems whatsoever.)

They do ask, however, for a two-year commitment. Is there anything magical about starting your PhD or rabbinical program in 2011 instead of 2012? (besides, you know, the apocalypse in which case we'll all be dead anyway so...)
posted by hapax_legomenon at 7:09 PM on February 3, 2010

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