I’m not sure Healthcare is an appropriate vocation for a hermit. In a typical day I find myself talking to upwards of fifty people and all of them will expect me to be not only professional but caring and enthusiastic as well. They’re not natural states for me to be perfectly honest, and most shifts I tend to leave the building frustrated and tired. I have a great circle of co-workers (who do things like read my work and buy me socks with cartoon robots on them) and for three years the safety of their network has been enough to keep me in a field I know I don’t belong in.
I have a vivid memory of sitting in a small office at Kingston University and laughing with my Journalism tutor about having to hide up in the NHS to make some money. He told me not to wait too long and I still feel a little guilty that he’s written two references for me now – both for care work organisations.
I didn’t used to be quite so insular. I’ve never been an extrovert, don’t get me wrong, but I used to have far more energy to deal with the outside world than I do now. It makes me feel old thinking about it and I wonder if my current career path is partly the cause.
“You’re in the wrong job,” my father says to me. He’s been in the NHS thirty odd years and recently retired. He knows the work we do better than most; has watched as the entire practise of nursing has become something altogether different than it was in the seventies when he started.
“I know,” I reply.
Everyone knows, from family and friends to coworkers and managers. I am good at what I do, but I’ve never claimed to enjoy it much. I have a great respect for the people I work with, because they get the kind of happiness and satisfaction from their work that I find in front of a computer with a word document loaded. The pressure of this industry is vast and constant and few people who have never done the work would understand it.
So yes, I am well aware this job isn’t for me. My problem is finding the one that is.
Luckily I have access to the wonderous world of the Internet and so researching my problem and finding an answer should be a piece of cake! Type the words ‘I think I’m in the wrong job’ into Google and you’re presented with a list of job sites. All of them are more than willing to help you apply for your dream job. Well, that’s nice – but I still don’t know what that is yet. I did find a quiz on the BBC website that looked promising though. After answering a series of questions about working scenarios I click the submit button and wait a few seconds for it to tell me what job to apply for:
Your results suggest that Artistic type work might suit your interests and preferences.
Artistic types are interested in creativity and art, preferring freedom and independence to following rules and procedures. Self-expression is very important to Artistic types and they may prefer to work alone.
…Oh. Well, that’s all very eloquently put BBC and I hate to rude but, no shit? (On a side note my second trait in the John Holland model is Investigative, so now I want to write a story about a young female detective in steam punk London who paints on the weekends, but I digress).
So I’m creative and I like my freedom and I prefer to work alone, sounds good to me. What possible job is going to let me do that though? Not many businesses are cool with employees rocking up whenever and scribbling ideas on white boards until they break for lunch and play video games before getting back to the old grind stone and jotting down a press release. Except maybe Google. Goddamnit.
The search continues! I came across this little list via Prospects, a website for graduates in the UK:
Publishing and Journalism
- Broadcast Journalist
- Commissioning Editor
- Editorial Assistant
- Magazine features editor
- Magazine journalist
- Press sub-editor
- Print production planner
- Publishing copy-editor
- Publishing rights manager
- Science writer
And there it is, right at the bottom (where to be honest, I knew it would be). My perfect job. The only one on that list that will provide me with freedom, creativity and blissful isolation. I will admit the search was a little needless, but perhaps I needed to remind myself that becoming a writer isn’t just that childish dream I’ve carried with me since I was little. And it is an excellent vocation for the hermit I’ve become.
I suppose I could try my hand at one of the others though… Failing that, do they still need Lighthouse Keepers?