A career in high-tech isn’t for me. So what if it only took 28 years to figure that out?

I mentioned in my first blog post that I am a technical writer by profession. Something happened yesterday, though, that has put that into question. Getting the news yesterday afternoon of the death of my childhood best friend’s mom, a woman I really liked, upset me.  I found my thoughts dwelling on Mrs. Gullberg, and how nice she had been, and I couldn’t really focus on work. So, I walked out of my new contract job only 3 days into it.

Now, it was 3:45 in the afternoon; I had put in most of a day.  But I’m not going back, I’ve decided. I’ve never done anything this rash or impulsive before, but somehow, as I was staring variously at my laptop screen, the gorgeous 16th-floor view of the Toronto Islands and Lake Ontario, and all of the people around me who don’t really talk to each other (the open-concept office discourages conversation), I thought: I can’t do this.  I mean, I’m capable of doing the work I was hired to do, more than. I used to really enjoy this kind of work. But the thought of spending the next 90 minutes mute, at my desk,  copying pictures of user-interface mockups from one document to another, and annotating them, was unbearable.  And the thought of doing this for another 6 months seemed unthinkable.

I can’t quite put my finger on how  news of the death of someone I haven’t seen or spoken to for at least 15 years connects to my realization that I simply cannot, at this stage of my life (I’m in my early 50s) spend my days doing something I don’t give a rat’s ass about.  Nothing about this job, I realized, excited me. It was a job, that at it’s core, involved moving electrons around in computer memory in a way that would make a profitable bank even probably even more profitable.  Not that I have an axe to grind about banks. But working on user interfaces for mobile devices, which for many, would be a really cool job just wasn’t getting me jazzed.  And as I get older, and people around me start to get sick (and die), I guess I think there’s not that much longer for me to do something I really love.  And I know that at the end of my life, I am not going to be telling myself “I wished I had used a different heading on that log-in screen.”

So.  Here I am, sitting in my pajamas at the kitchen table writing this. And my hope is that by continuing to write about something I do love … cooking, eating, having friends over, keeping a house … will lead to some vocation that I can be jazzed about.  They who do the saying always say “do what you love … the money will follow”.  We’ll see.

Copyright (C) 2015, Allan Risk. All rights reserved.

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