Friday, March 13, 2009

If you're scared...

(warning, this post has very little to do with Triathlon. I mention the word once, but that's it - oh, and I say, "Ironman" too...)


say you're scared. I'm scared. Not about the economy. I know that's tit's up. Foregone conclusion. I'm scared 'cause I know what I want to do, and it seems reckless. Even for the M-dot Bigun.

I want to go West. The Mountains. The Rock. The weather. Things in my own country I've never seen before. The Grand Canyon. Yosemite. Salt Lake. Deserts and high mountains. Low humidity. Ghost towns. Stuff like that.

Weirdly, at 45 (in a few days) I'm at a reset point in my life. I can go anywhere and do anything without any more (read MORE) negative effect on my career or financial standing. A big giant ditto for my wife's situation. Together, we have little to lose no matter where we go. It's sad and exciting at the same time.

At 45 you'd hope to be in cruise mode. You'd hope to be on the career path with the train having left the station, all the cars lined up in a row. Safe. Not so much. What's even worse is that in a highly specialized world (if you don't believe that it is, just try to look for a job these days) I'm a very un-specialized guy.

It's a bad habit formed from my military days. Every two years or so, sometimes less, in the Army you change jobs. I'm not talking a quick change from, say being the guy making the widgets to being the guy supervising the guy making the widgets. An Army infantry officer could one day be leading a platoon of dudes specialized at firing mortars to the next day being the head Human Resources (S1) honcho of the "Corporation". The next year you could be the maintenance HMFIC (BMO) and then spend a year managing logistics (S4). Just enough time to get good at the job they throw at you, but not long enough to become an expert.

That was cool, back then. I never got sick of a job. Since leaving the Army, my resume is splattered with varying jobs and duty descriptions. My sales career of 7 years is the longest I've ever done anything on a consistent basis - oddly, it's the least favorite job I've ever had. What a dumb ass!

I've been asked, "what do I want to do"? I struggle with that daily. The best job I ever had I gave up 12 years ago, and nothing since has come close to it's coolness. To say, "I miss the Army" is an understatement. But that's all water under the bridge.

I've tried to supplement my lack of satisfaction in my work life with challenges in my free time. Triathlon. Ironman. These things were (are) awesome and were great achievements but unfortunately do not put bread on the table. The fiddler is on the doorstep, and he's got his hand OUT! And you know what, it's not about becoming rich for me. I'm not looking for the crazy huge house or expensive cars or whatnot. I think it boils down to three things: Be challenged, make a difference, and do it honorably with honorable people around me. With that, pay me fairly for what I do.

If I keep looking, something like that will come up. I'm pretty sure of it. Just not here in Tampa. Lets face it, I don't fish. I don't lie on the beach. I don't sunbathe. I'm not a boater. I hate lawn work. Exactly - what in the heck am I doing here? Uggg. As spontaneous and as carefree as Di and I seem to be, I'm still one to have a plan. At least a fall back plan. In the past, I've been places that I was able to stay with family while we regrouped. In the past, Di's expertise was highly sought after - now, it's not. I think that Di's efforts at her career and passion for what she did made just doing the "sales thing" tolerable for me. True, there are lot's of "I's" up there, but it is not all about me. I have a feeling that Di does like it here, and that adds a dimension of suckitude to the moving equation.

Perhaps I'm over thinking all this. "Just do it", right? Can I get a big, "quit 'cher bitchin' Bigun and do something" from the crowd? Gosh, when did I become such a puss?

16 comments:

Spokane Al said...

It is good to hear that you are alive and pondering life. I know what you mean about military life (I spent 26 years in the USAF) in becoming adaptable and flexible.

I hope you find your bliss and continue to keep rocking. The good thing is that you are asking the questions - many never do. With your attitude the answers will come.

bigmike600 said...

Marc
Somewhere out there is the fit you seek. I hope you find it. Al noted that your attitude will serve you well and I agree.

good luck

J-Wim said...

Sometimes you just need a leap of faith, man.

SWTrigal said...

This may be a dumb question but if you loved the army is there a way you could be a contractor there? My neighbor retired from the military and basically does the same job only has his own company and contracts out to them..
Sounds like you are really at a crossroads which is normal anyway for our "midlife journey" My thoughts are with you guys...

momo said...

come west, big guy. there's always room for you and your girl here.

kt said...

Oh man Marc,
I can empathize with you. I feel it. Sometimes you just have to make the change. Sometimes you have to suck it up and tolerate what is happening while something new finds you. Being married is wonderful and tough all at the same time and it definitely stops being about "me" and is about "us". I really do feel your situation. I would love to go and follow a passion but my spouse likes our current location and is much more hesitant. We haven't reached an agreement either.

Seems to me like sometimes going with your gut is the way to go but what do I know.

Anonymous said...

Marc,

I read your post and I know right where you are sitting. My husband and I do triathlons (he's Clydesdale by the way), and we have two small children. In January he lost his job of 15 years. I am getting ready to graduate from college in a field that is becoming less and less respected and less payed (teaching). My husband spent 14 years in the Navy and then 15 years driving a truck (yes there is a reserve time overlap, he is not 60). Now we are doing everything we can to put food on the table. I currently have 4 jobs while he still searches. I have been working at the YMCA just to supplement until recently when I have had to double my hours. I have gotten him into the lifeguard training course in hopes of finding some kind of work. The economy has just screwed everyone and there is almost not enough heart left to recover, most people are going to have to reinvent themselves and that is the spirit of this country... you can reinvent your self and hopefully your friends will help you along the way! Keep "Tri"-ing it helps with the stress!

Ron said...

Good luck Marc. I went through similar circumstances in the mid '90's, survived, and we are much better off today for what happened then. Sometimes change is actually for the good.

Wendy said...

I really feel for what you and Di are going through right now, and will keep you both in my thoughts as you decide what comes next.

Ryan said...

Its like we are living similar lives, I specialized in something I hate...well, really don't like. If Melissa ever leaves the Navy I'm screwed, her too.

Good Luck in your search, if you need time in NC let me know, you are always welcomed.

Anonymous said...

Seems like a spiritual problem, my man. It is hard to believe a 44 year old, 250+ lb. Ironman has issues with discipline or desire. As I am 44 year old, 280+ lb. aspiring Ironman, I struggle with my place in the world as well and it sounds like you also haven't yet defined who you are.

stronger said...

Go west young man. You only get one shot at this life. When I wake up in the morning- I don't care where I am going to work- just that I'm going to work and I GET to live in this place. Find your home.

Lana said...

Same here, Bigun, except I'm only 32 not 44 and never was in the Army, but with 2 kids and husband who are firmly planted in TN, my options are limited for the time being. Yours aren't. Di will support you, no doubt. Quitcher bitch'n and pack your bags. I think it would be the coolest thing in the world.

JohnnyTri said...

Go West!! we need another Clydsdale out here!!

hope all is well..!!!

rockon'

ShirleyPerly said...

My husband HATES heat & humidity and has always talked about wanting to live in ID, MT, CO, etc. But I hate cold WORSE. I've always made it clear to him that unless we're moving to HI, I'm staying; he can work anywhere he wants, though, and I'll come visit. And I know quite a number of wives here in Orlando who do have husbands who work in DC or up north. My husband travels nearly 100% of the time for work anyway so I might as well be where I want to be.

Bottomline, though, I think a major relocation in this economy only makes sense if there's a good job waiting. Moving is usually quite expensive in itself. Good luck!

Jenny Davidson said...

Go west, young man! My brother & his family just moved to Marfa, TX on promise of only temporary work - it is v. lovely out there - Marc, I like your trio of thoughts (be challenged, make a difference, do it honorably) - are you not SLIGHTLY tempted to go and get a job as a HS math teacher somewhere in New Mexico, and do a bit of coaching after school?... Education is a rewarding field. Misty Pilgrim will help you make up the right kind of resume...