Where to.... where do I go?

What should you do when you want to do everything? If you're fascinated by everything, and you've been called dabbler, dilettante, undisciplined, indecisive etc., this forum is for you.

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Where to.... where do I go?

Postby vaz.john » Mon Jul 04, 2016 2:45 am

Hi guys. I'm John, hailing from India. No I'm still yet to read the book refuse to choose, but I've watched Barbara Sher's videos about scanners. I think that I could be a scanner. I'll start with my status quo. Probably some of you may relate to it.

I'm 27, having graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Currently out of a job. Till date I have switched about 5-6 jobs which have covered various fields and various roles, but have been short term. Be it a year (the most I've stayed in one job) as a professor at the university to a 6 month internship at an automobile firm to a manager for financial services.
Now sometimes my motivations for taking up these jobs also differed. Mostly they were dictated by the fact that I studied engineering or the fact that that was the easiest available option considering the job market is down. Only once probably it was because I liked the firm actually that I took up the job.
Almost always it used to be that I was clueless at times as to what is expected of me beyond my current responsibilities, and after a while almost each job got me feeling bored. At times I even feel that I may have actually studied something that my parents wanted and never thought to discover what I wanted. I get this feeling that there's something else I should be doing, which I could do way better. But here I'm stuck trying to fit myself into society's idea of what a man should do.

the videos pointed me in the direction that I may have some characteristics of scanners. There are multiple things that interest me, if not all:
Music - I play the guitar and bass. Covers mainly
Drawing - I just love drawing comic characters, especially superheroes.
Reading and literature - genres such as Medieval fantasy, mystery, humour, comic books of course. And I just geek out on related media like movies and tv series based on these. And I mostly prefer paperbacks. Nice to carry on travels.
Languages - although didn't know it at first, but after learning two other languages and interacting with people from different countries, it always interested me how our languages can be similar and diverse at the same time. From here also springs the curiosity to know cultures.
Travel - Through some of my volunteer activities I've gotten to know friends from other countries, which I'd now like to visit.
Cooking - to an extent
Writing - one that I've been attracted to lately. I did write for sometime while covering football (soccer) in my city as it allowed me to cover my favourite sport. Though my attraction to writing didn't spring up until well after.

My reason for telling you all this is that maybe some of you'll can guide me regarding one question. How do I do what I want to do and make a career out of all this?

Thanks for every input

Any idea or suggestion
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Re: Where to.... where do I go?

Postby La Fenice » Mon Jul 04, 2016 3:37 am

Hello John,
I am in India as well. Been living here for a little over a year now, in the North.
I don't think the market is actually down for what I have seen: if you want to do a job in India (especially a technical one), you'll find that job without much problem (I have left my country because there the market was seriously down and I can tell you India is as healthy as it gets!).
So I might be wrong, but could it be that you haven't been working consistently in the field simply because it didn't interest you and essentially you didn't really want to? :)
It is important to be completely honest with ourselves because it helps us understand ourselves better!

I do suggest you to read the book Refuse to Choose because it will help you really see if you are indeed a scanner and, if you are, it will give you exercises to do to understand what you can do about it, how to use your strong points and so on.

However i will say something:
As a scanner you SHOULDN'T look for a way to earn money from everything you like to do. You should pick the one thing that you CAN do (like a skill you have) and that makes you earn money, and then do everything else on your free time. You can cook, study languages, play guitar, paint, write a book and so on, all on your free time. Then of course things could evolve and at some point you might leave that "good enough job" to pursue something else, but usually scanners are not very career oriented. The dream of a scanner tends to be "to learn" for its own sake (or almost) and it generally has very little to do with pursuing a proper career.

The good enough job: you could look for a job that gives you enough free time: it shouldn't take more than 40 hours from you every week.
And I think this is the biggest issue about being in India, since here things work very differently.
But you mentioned teaching, and usually teaching is one of the good jobs for scanners since it gives you generally more free time than any other kind of job. How did you feel about teaching? What is it that you didn't like about it?

Refuse to Choose is filled with job ideas and I do suggest you to check it out! and GOOD LUCK!! :D
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Re: Where to.... where do I go?

Postby vaz.john » Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:22 am

Oh you're in North India, nice. I hail from the south-west. A place called Goa. Ironically, I'm in the UAE for the last 2 months, looking for work, though that also is yet to yield major results. :P

Maybe there's an element of truth in what you said about me not putting in enough effort to search a job. But I really could use some guidance from people who've been there, done that as to better understand what I can do about this 'flaw'. Probably I'm willing to commit wholeheartedly only to something that I really like.

Teaching was something that I felt I could go back to in a few years after gathering relevant work ex. As far as that is concerned, it was on a contract basis as now permanent posts require a Masters in Engineering minimum. The entrance exams for Masters, I failed thrice already, that in addition to two failed entrance exams to design school too. Additionally I do not fulfill the necessary criteria academically speaking to do my Masters abroad. Even the other jobs, some were short term contracts, one I had to leave as the business didn't flourish etc. Now my varied work ex is the sticking point in most of the interviews that I answer. Stumbling block is when people ask 'what job are you looking for?' I try to answer that but then I do not know even then if it's what I really want. Besides that whatever savings are there are meagre and get spent when I'm out of a job. It doesn't sit right with me that at times my parents have to spend for me. So even when it comes to working in a different place, a job that pays enough to cover living.

Of course it's not always like this. I was fortunate to spend a year in Italy at an international youth exchange programme, through the movement that I do volunteer work for. There, living with youth from almost 30 different countries from across the world sort of broadened my mind. Learning about new cultures and how diverse and similar people can be inspite of being from different professional backgrounds, was enriching. There also I was less burdened and felt free to take up some of my interests. Was quite the extrovert too. Only on returning to India the introvert in me made a return.

As far as turning interests into cash is concerned, I'm not saying that all whatever interests me needs to be done that way. I intended to know if there's anyway I can even make a career out of doing something that atleast keeps me in close proximity to some of them. Here probably come the adverse effects of social network and all that. I got friends who are happy doing what they are doing, inspite of the troubles in their job because they like their field and love what they do. Friends who are pursuing music full time or have completed their masters or a job where they get to travel everywhere, etc.These things make me question whether I've missed out on something. Now for me the troubles in a job I can put up with if atleast the general direction that I'm working toward is one that I like. I know it's detrimental to compare our lives with others, but here the comparisons are something we've grown up with and even if I don't believe in that, there are always people to remind you. I'm sorry if I came across as rude or bitter, but six years of just bouncing around trying to find my way is taking it's toll not only on me, but those around me as well.

Bottom line is I just do not know how to fit in everything or what to do now.

Although I will follow your suggestion and see, if I can approach this from a different perspective and find a job that atleast permits me to do stuff.
Thanks for your wishes :D

sorry It's so long. I tend to just ramble ;)
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Re: Where to.... where do I go?

Postby La Fenice » Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:33 pm

That's perfectly fine.
I really believe you need to read Refuse to Choose.
I am in your same situation and reading RTC really helped me.

You don't need anybody to tell you what you should do and you really shouldn't ask for this. You should try to understand yourself better and see what you can do with what you have.

I also know what you mean when in interviews they ask "what job are you looking for" or what are you willing to do.
Once I remember they even asked me "What VALUES do you share with our company". :D what other values there are in a company other than "earn more and more and pay less and less" :D I don't share that.

For example, after many years I have finally decided I will get a Master Degree and see if I can find a job as a teacher (it is not easy at all, but I try. And if things don't work out as a teacher, they will work out as something else). I am not in love with the idea of being a teacher, but I think it is something I am quite good at doing, I don't hate it (I hated teaching Italian, but that's because Italian is something that never actually interested me the least... so I had no interest in what I was teaching. Probably if I had to teach Italian Literature I would have loved it more) and it would give me enough free time to keep all my other interests rolling as well!

It might be that you are looking for a job in areas that don't interest you at all. So maybe you should stop that.
Also, you seem to be more interested into traveling, meeting new people. Could you maybe find a job in the international relation office of some university? Or something of the sort. Something that would keep you close to learning (maybe you could even continue your studies at the same time, who knows) and would keep you in touch with international people.

About people working with their interests.
I have two cousins who are famous musicians. They started playing when they were very young, they studied and studied and little by little they became famous musicians.
Of course I have dreamt as well that "I wish I had stick to... (I studied opera singing for 5 years and clarinet as well for 5 years. Left them both because I was uninterested eventually and because I was too shy to perform in front of anybody anyway :D )". So yes, I have also been thinking that "maybe if I stick to it for long enough, it will become my life as well!". But the truth is that things are not as interesting on the inside, as they look on the outside.
A musician career sounds cool enough, but once you are forced to play songs that maybe you don't like anymore, when you are forced to travel when you don't want to travel anymore (trust me... IT HAPPENS!!! even if traveling looks like the most amazing thing in the world - at some point can become a bother)... Not everything is wonderful as it might look from the outside. And this is true for every job, every career you are looking at.
All your friends with successful careers, they might be happy, but this doesn't mean AT ALL that their job and their life would make you happy like they are.

And IF YOU ARE A SCANNER, you should understand that a scanner cannot stick to something obsessively for 20 years in order to succeed, like musicians do.
Scanners are not success oriented in this way. What usually drives a scanner is the learning process. There are many different kinds of scanners, some can even reach mastery of something, but usually once they reach a certain level of mastery they start looking for something else.

So, do not envy your friends who have made a living with one of their passions.
If you are a scanner, you cannot have just one interest all your life.
And this is not something you should hate, this is something you should wholeheartedly accept and enjoy.

Try to read Refuse to Choose and also "I could do anything if only I knew what it was".
They are nice books and will help you find your path :D

Wish you all the best!
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Re: Where to.... where do I go?

Postby La Fenice » Thu Jul 07, 2016 2:21 am

Nobody else has anything to suggest? :D
Come on!!! :)
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Re: Where to.... where do I go?

Postby SquarePeg » Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:25 am

I only just saw this thread today -- sorry I'm a bit late.

I am an engineer (electrical).

I always knew I couldn't "do" a regular job, so after I got out of high school and the 9-month tech school, I sought out small companies that offered "flex time" type of arrangement and encouraged (and reimbursed for) continuing education. I could've gotten 20% higher salary at a "normal" place, but I wouldn't have survived very long. Eventually I earned a B.S.E.E.

Small companies hire fewer employees (duh), yet they need the same work done albeit at a lower volume. So it's a fun atmosphere for someone who likes to work on diverse projects or many aspects of a single project. And usually management / supervision at these places is "thin" leaving lots of unsupervised time & freedom to do things your way. One of my first projects (as a technician) was to assemble, test and troubleshoot a lift system that needed to operate inside a high magnetic field. A few engineers designed some circuits, picked out some hardware. But then they gave it to me. It was like Christmas-time when there are many gifts that require assembly and no one else can do it! So I built it, tested it, redesigned some of it. And the drafting department was small, so I actually created the blueprints as well (drawing). Then when it went into production, I trained the test technicians. I learned so much, too, and I used spare time to teach myself how to operate the software to design printed circuit boards and to write programs.

Hopefully you can find a "low-key" place that will value your engineering skills and give you freedom to branch out a bit. And even if the job might be ordinary, maybe you can become part of a team with like-minded people. Or you might get to work on a pet project for a VP who needs someone who's into music and drawing, etc. Try to envision this as often as possible, and you will find it!

PS: While visiting fine art colleges with my daughter, I found out about a new type of program: Puppetry. Yes, what a joke, right? But when I heard the description, I was blown away. This program combines engineering, design, art and uses mechatronics to create robots that might be used in a museum display or on a movie set. What if you had the opportunity to create a dragon? Wouldn't that be cool?! The thing is that there are jobs out there that very few of us have ever imagined, and new opportunities keep getting born. So keep your eyes and ears open, talk to people about what you're passionate about.
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Re: Where to.... where do I go?

Postby La Fenice » Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:53 pm

That was a very nice reply!
I like those ideas!
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Re: Where to.... where do I go?

Postby SquarePeg » Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:07 pm

Thanks! I'm an "idea guy" :)
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Re: Where to.... where do I go?

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:27 am

I just found this thread.

I think that you find what you love to do by trying different things. If I had my life to do over, I would have taken five or six jobs in my first two years. I wish you all good things.
Elaine Glimme - author - "Temporary Address" and "The Molly Chronicles"
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