Sunday, March 8, 2009

Around Christmas time, many of my customers gave me greeting cards with a generous tip and kind words. One customer wrote this advice in her card: “Stay out of those pesky ditches!” I know full well that she was talking about actual ditches. Her road in particular had the kind of deep ditches that if you accidentally drove into one, they may not find you till the spring thaw.
Having lots of time on my hands to think while delivering papers, I interpreted this advice to communicate a more meaningful message. I began thinking about all the “ditches” we drive into in life. The whole reason I deliver papers as a second job is because I fell into a financial ditch. I owed everybody a lot of money and did not have the means to make good on my debts. Earning a second income is what allowed me to climb out of that ditch.
I’m currently in a ditch with my career. I hate my full time job and for a long time I’ve felt that it is a ditch I’m bound to stay in, spinning my wheels and digging in even deeper. After receiving this advice I started thinking about my options. No ditch is insurmountable. You just have to get creative and find a way out, whether it means calling triple A for a tow or strapping on chains and getting yourself out. A problem like this is not the kind of ditch you can get towed out of; you have to get yourself out.
My thoughts and feelings are the first level of the ditch that I had to overcome. The reason I feel trapped in this job is because I work for the government and you really can’t beat the benefits I receive. To walk away from this job would be just plain irresponsible for the future security of my family. Once I started thinking from a different perspective I realized that there are many options when you work in civil service. I can switch agencys; I can change to a reduced work schedule or even find a different position that would allow me to work part time hours while figuring out what I really want to do with my life while keeping all of my benefits.
The second level of this ditch is to move from plan into action. I’ve taken a variety of civil service exams and have been sitting by waiting for the results. But that’s not all I can do. I’m filling out applications for the different agencies that I’ve tested for and sending them in with a letter of introduction so that when positions open, hopefully my name will pop into their heads first.
In the mean time I’m learning as much as I can about a variety of different subjects in an effort to decide what I want to be when I grow up. Actually, I already know that I’m going to be a life coach; I just need to figure out how I can make money doing it and what I area I want to specialize in.
I guess the observation I’m making here is that when you fall into a ditch, don’t just sit at the bottom and hope somebody will come along to throw you a rope and haul your sorry butt out of it. Take charge and find your own way back to terra firma.

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