Contingency Plan

Earlier this month I celebrated my birthday, which – despite what you may expect – is frequently anything but a happy occasion. Last year I was basically broke, and so the best I could do to celebrate turning another year older was buying myself some coffee at my favorite shop in Midtown. I often suffer from what I call “birthday depression”, and that birthday was particularly in this respect. This year ideas different though. Instead of being sad about where I am in life, I was excited about where I might be headed in the next year. I’ve been thinking hard lately about how to break out of this funk I’ve been in for so long, and for the first time ever I have more than one plan for changing my fate.

I’m not what you’d call a contingency planner. Never have been. I’ve pretty much coasted through life with only one plan in mind at any given time. And thankfully, I’ve been lucky. For instance… Before I transferred to Sac State, I was hired by the only company that I applied to, and I worked there until I graduated a few years later. That job is the only reason I got through school without any student loan debt. But in the time since then, I’ve been less fortunate. I’ve applied to countless jobs in my post-graduate years, but only one of them ever came through. After two years, I’m burnt out, spinning my wheels, and every other phrase I can think of for being professionally unfulfilled. I didn’t go to school so I could open mail for a living, and yet that’s what I’m getting paid to do five days a week.

Every job I apply for is a potential Plan A. Each one is the break I’ve been waiting for; it’s my ticket to a better tomorrow. But… That hasn’t been working out too well. I’m still just going through the motions at a job I don’t particularly enjoy, and I don’t see any evidence that I’ll be leaving anytime soon. Bad economy or not, all has not been going according to plan. You’d think there would be more opportunities for someone with my array of skills and training, but that has not been my experience. I’ve considered moving to another city of even a whole new state, but there’s no guarantee such a move would solve my ongoing employment problems. And to be quite honest, I really do enjoy living in Sacramento, so anything short of an unbeatable opportunity wouldn’t convince me to move away.

As I said earlier though, I’ve finally been toying with the idea of a Plan B or C or even D, and the more I think about some of these potential career options, the less I’m sure if I even want my Plan A to come through. I’m going to keep the details on some of these plans close to my chest for now, since (given recent events) it’s entirely possible that I may never need to actualize on any of them… But they are there, and I cannot express how comforted I am knowing that I don’t need one life plan or another to work out perfectly. I finally have options!

At the risk of sounding pretentious, I’m reminded of a line from one of my favorite poems:

“Two roads diverge in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both.”
– Robert Frost