slider faces a career decision
Pro wrote in the article on reasons for/types of procrastination: "Sometimes when you procrastinate, it's your unconscious trying to tell you something important." I know that this has been a major issue for me for a long time. I nearly left the ministry two years in to it (this was 10 years ago), but out of pride or ego and fear of the unknown, I stuck it out another 5 years in that situation before things came to a head. Then, I've been where I am 5 years now, and it was only going to be for a year..but it was ok until two years ago. I started getting really turned off and demotivated then. Been hanging on for practical, family reasons, again. And that was leading me to resent my family for "pimping me out" to the church to suit their own security needs! It also has been a real strain on my marriage.
Well, I researched some other options. I could keep my nursing home chaplaincy (15 hours) and tack on a night shift as an aide. They like that idea a whole lot (it would be like having a really cheap supervisor on board), and they'd be willing to let me work only 3 nights a week instead of 5 (would be a total of 39 hours a week--but the chaplaincy side would have occasional extra hours for various things). I can hack that. I've been an aide before, and I am a serious night owl. It's not all that much work, either--rounds every 2 hours, and in-between I can write! I would come home at 6 and get to sleep by 7:30. I'd work 5 days a week, for three hours, in the afternoons as chaplain. Some days I'd be a little shortchanged on sleep, but I'd have other times when I could make up for it. I'd be able to see the kids off for school and spend time with the family in the evenings. The pay would be less than I make now, AND I'd have to find a place to move to that has a fenced yard for the dogs and start paying rent (right now we live in a parsonage). But there would be a lot less responsibility and hassle, and I wouldn't be pulled in so many different directions. The biggest bonus is lots of writing time. Obviously, that would move me to submissions for publishing quicker. Writing is the direction my soul is strongly pulling me in now.
However, after thinking about finding a new place to live and moving, I realized I am not ready. There is an opening available in 30 days, but that's too fast for me. It's true that you sometimes have to start before you are ready, but what I mean is that I couldn't possibly find someplace to live that we can afford and that would have room for all the pets in 30 days. And I feel obligated to follow through on a number of things here at the church through Christmas. So I need a little more lead time, at least. That's ok, because there is always turnover, and other opportunities will occur. By then I may have my household load lightened through decluttering and reorganizing. Then it would be simpler to move and less hassle to clean up after ourselves (never mind the part the church has not been keeping up with; even though they haven't, there is stuff we need to tend to when we move out). So this plan is my backup plan. It's still waiting there for me after I evaluate for 6 months.
Another proposal I made was to work part time in Activities. That proposal was not accepted because of management's plans regarding Activities personnel. So that option is out (for now).
Another option occurred to me tonight. I realized (finally) that a great deal of my dissatisfaction here is the result of my own attitude and seriousness. I ~could~ view my work as a kind of game. I could lighten up and go with the flow of the congregation instead of continually trying to redirect its flow because I disapprove of it. I believe that if I follow all ~their~ rules instead of trying to get them to change them for idealistic reasons, I will have the latitude to experiment, to take risks, to playfully challenge them, to take time off (that is, to make certain periods clearly off-duty and enforce those boundaries), and to work rewards into my daily plans. This will entail a total sea change in how I view things and react to various threats to my ideals. I believe those would be healthy adjustments, so I am willing to give it a go. I have explained to my husband that the whole family would have to abide by the rules--not for their reasons but for our own ends--and he agreed to do so and to make sure the kids do, too. We will all play the game. While this somewhat violates the ideals of the Office, it does not violate my private views about the ministry and my personal sense of spirituality and call (I am extremely unconventional and have to reinterpret almost everything that is traditional in my own terms, anyhow). I can still be a Vessel of Divine Delight, within myself (better than before!) and in ministering to others. It's the leadership I'll be faking, because I won't really care about things the way others do. I won't believe in and be invested in the same things they will; for me it will be a social and religious experiment to get me through the two years until my son graduates and/or my husband gets a great job (been waiting here with the PhD for 3 years now!).
I have already figured out some guidelines for how to make it a doable and fun game. Tomorrow I'll spell those out. I'll use this column to reflect on how well I am keeping the game in sight and not getting caught up in things that undermine my morale and lead to ever increasing procrastination. We'll see, too , if my family will get behind me and toe the line so this will work. It's to their benefit: they want to stay put and keep the same family income, so it ought to be worth it to them to do their share.