Friday, August 16, 2013

What to Do With My Life?

Today is one of those days when I'm really tired and also depressed, and in those times I get pensive. And when I get pensive, I think too much.

And I am thinking, yet again, of what to do with my life. I thought I knew, but now I don't know for sure. 

I have spent 10 years in the workplace (give or take) and all of that has been in low-paying part-time jobs just intended to get me through college. Now that I have my B.A. (and will be THIRTY next year *gulp*) I think it's high time I move on to an actual career, something that can support a life on my own. 

I got a web design certificate in hopes of breaking into that industry. But I found the studies harder than I thought, and as far as the design side of things go, I lack artistic skill. Sure I can code a layout, but only a simple one. And I am behind on code like you would not believe (I taught myself HTML out of a kids' book about 15 years ago and didn't keep up with the learning). It was this being behind on code that has kept me from looking for a job so far. I kept feeling I wasn't ready. It's not like I couldn't have learned, though; there's Codeacademy, which provides all sorts of coding classes for free, and tons of blogs with tutorials on pretty much anything you want to learn. 

After some thought, I have decided design is not my strong suit. Content is. So I might as well play to my strengths (seeing as I'm working in a job right now which doesn't use them at all pretty much). But how to use this strength?

I have thought of web writing. This is a very vague term, obviously. But I can definitely write. And I have some web writing credits already, albeit old ones plus my more recent error guides and Kindle guide for Miss Dream. And Elly-sempai over at MD seems interested in having me continue to write for MD. In addition to this, the popular site WhatCulture is looking for Doctor Who contributors, which sounds right up my alley. (I'm going to check them out first, though, make sure they're legit and they aren't like super liberal or something). 

Also, my hosting and domain name for my web design portfolio expired a short while ago, which will give me a chance to start fresh with promoting myself. Self-promotion is something else I suck at. Well, sometimes. With Myu Corner I got lucky in that I managed to get some of the big names in Sailor Moon fansites to link to it mostly just by sending overly respectful e-mails asking them to. Every person I asked said yes, except and The Sailor Senshi Domain Group, both of whom said I didn't have enough content (which, at the time, I didn't). 

So web writing it is I think. Cause I do love to write. I realized this anew about a week or so ago when I was engaged in one of those "mock interview" fantasies (the ones where you imagine yourself becoming famous and going on talk shows and getting interviewed...maybe I'm the only one who fantasizes about this...I guess it will help me deal with IRL interviews in the future), and I happened to say, without even thinking, that writing is my passion. And it's true, it is. I love to write; it's a way to express myself, a way to keep myself sane, essentially my therapy. I use stories often times to work out issues in my own life. 

I went into the major I did for my B.A. because of writing too. Rather than go the practical route and choose a major with a clear career objective, I ventured off into English Major Land. And a major in English (or rather, Literature and Writing Studies in my case) basically qualifies you to do everything and nothing. It's not tied to a specific career (like pre-med), hence it qualifies you to do nothing specific. But the writing and critical thinking skills such a major cultivates are valuable to just about any career. Which makes it hard to choose one. My intention was to get the web design certificate that I got in order to provide a steady job for myself until my writing caught on and I was able to just live off being an author. 

But I think in doing so I lost track of what I really wanted. And what I've really wanted, from way back when I was a kid, was to be a writer, and to use my talent for God somehow, since I assumed he gave it to me for that purpose. Therefore, I had my eyes on going into Christian fiction exclusively, but now I am open to either Christian or secular writing, probably because I have read both. Obviously, they are two very different markets, with very different expectations and standards. 

At the moment, however, I need to practice, practice, practice. Hone my craft. In a way, it's like Lyra in the His Dark Materials trilogy -- while she was still an innocent child, she could read the alethiometer by instinct, but once she "grows up," she loses this ability and has to actually learn how to read it through study and practice. For me, writing seemed to come effortlessly when I was younger, and in some moments of bliss it is still like that today. But often times now I have to work hard at it, have days where I write amazing and things just flow, and days when writing is about as hard as climbing a mountain and produces writing that's not worth much. And some days I just don't feel like writing at all, and would rather play video games or watch TV or something.

So I think I need to get back to my dream, "the vision that first inspired me," as the song from Jekyll & Hyde goes. My dream, even in my junior high years when I aspired to be things like an ambassador (to be fair, I'm not sure I knew what an ambassador really was back then; my only knowledge of ambassadors came from the Olsen Twins movie Passport to Paris), has always been to be a writer. People were always telling me I was good at it too, which helped.

One way or another, I desperately need to find another job. Because my current job is driving me CRAZY. I won't say too much cause you have to be careful about that stuff online (which is why I almost never post about work on Facebook, Twitter, etc...because that stuff can be found and used against you - it happened to my coworker Amanda recently; she got in trouble for something negative about work she posted on Facebook). But lately work has become nearly unbearable. It is not a right fit for me, never was really. I just took it because I needed something, anything. Nothing had come of the jobs I applied for that I was actually qualified for. So I just had to apply anywhere I could.

But now I am ready to move on. I just need to get myself motivated to actually start. My coworker Miyuki asked me last night how my "escape plan" was working out, and I sheepishly told her nothing had come of it yet. Which is the truth. I honestly don't know where to start. I tried the Career Center at Cal State before, but the counselor there wasn't very helpful, particularly after I told her I was autistic, at which point she seemed unsure there were jobs I could get. I suppose I can put my perks from the CSUSM Alumni Association to good use; I think the perks include some database that is supposed to help you find work. I suppose there must be other resources too. Maybe ones specifically for people with autism? Although I have Asperger's, which is more higher-functioning than classic autism, and I think even for people with Asperger's I'm more higher-functioning than most, borderline neurotypical. I can hold down a job, for one, and I can function decently in society - I vote, I've been on two juries, I can handle social interaction all right. 

I still wish there was an expert that could give me direction. My mom, although she's a therapist, can't treat me because it's a conflict of interest. And the only other autism expert around here I know of is Dr. Feder, and we went to him already. We saw him three times and he wasn't that helpful. 

But I guess I have something to work towards. But how to begin? God, guide me please!

Started on Wednesday August 14th, written both on Blogger for iPhone and in the regular Blogger.

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