Finding Flow in Changing Tides
About 4 min reading time
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About a month ago, I made the brave decision to quit my job. For the past three years, I had worked at Resnet at RIT, providing technical support for students, faculty and staff. It was a job I enjoyed, and one that opened many doors to me. In part due to some connections I made there, but mostly through the opportunity it provided to refine myself professionally. The job was an interesting mix of technical skill and customer service (and later in my career there - management and quality assurance), that I'll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. But I'd spent some time away from Resnet, and when I returned I'd come back to, what seemed to me, a very different environment.
I initially left for a few months on my first co-op with Brand Networks as a Student Software Engineer (a.k.a. a "real job" similar to what I can expect post-graduation). Directly following that, I'd returned to iD Tech Camps for my third season, but my first season as a Lead Instructor, a role in which I experienced a fascinating mixture of managing, teaching and mentorship that was new to me. Just days after that job came to its natural end, I started my third season with New Student Orientation at RIT, in a new role as a Lead Orientation Assistant - a position in which I experienced a level of direct management and team-building that taught me more about myself than I can find words for.
On returning to Resnet, I started to experience the new dynamic there. The Resnet team had combined with another division of RIT's IT services in which everyone was expected to work (at different times) in two modes of service, each offering similar but different services. This was far from a surprise to me; the change had been tossed around for a while, and I'd kept in enough contact with coworkers there to know the change had occurred. I had a lot to learn when I arrived, an entire set of services operating under a very different paradigm than what Resnet offers.
Generally, I'm not opposed to learning on a job. Indeed, I often thrive in an environment that pushes me to learn something I find interesting. But that last detail is key. In my new role at Resnet I was expected to learn a lot of information that is largely irrelevant to my future career, and thus, not terribly interesting. Combine that with mixed quality management at varying levels and a general distaste of what had become more common behavior at work, and I found myself in a position where I spent 15 hours a week generally displeased with my work.
Given that I had a decent amount of money set aside and a second job already, I wasn't relying on the income. If there's one thing I'm certain of these days, it's that I never want to work a job I dislike unless I don't have a choice.
I had a choice. I wanted out. I had never quit a job before.
When I finally decided to give my two-weeks notice, a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I was incredibly nervous sitting in my boss' office, telling him I didn't want to work there any more. Given how calmly he took the news, I almost think he expected me to quit. But when the deed was done it was time to look forward.
By the time I'd quit, I'd already applied for another job with New Student Orientation as a Student Orientation Coordinator - a position I now hold. I'd also stumbled across a job listing for Supplemental Instruction (a teaching-assistant-like position with the Academic Support Center at RIT), and already interviewed for it out of interest for a financial safety net and the new learning opportunity it presented. I didn't get the position I originally interviewed for but I was offered an office work position with SI that I later accepted.
I started both new jobs last Monday and began a brand new schedule at the midpoint of the semester. Just after I'd really dug into a routine, things changed. It's only been about a week in my new routine, so I'm not surprised that it all feels a little weird, but I didn't expect that it would be quite so disorienting. Now juggling three jobs, each with their own unique task sets, I'm feeling thoroughly scatter brained. Maybe it's time to find a new means of organizing my to-do lists, revamp my email schedule, or even create strict timeframes in which I think about / do work for each one.
In total I'm actually not spending more time each week doing work than I was before I started these new jobs, though. And in a sense I actually prefer this because each job offers its own dynamic and they vary enough that it all feels fresh. Perhaps it's the constant change of thinking each requires that has me feeling all mixed up. Or maybe I'm overthinking the whole thing and it's merely that things are different and I need to adjust to the new routine.
What ever the reason, the end result is that by the time my day ends I have little interest in doing anything that isn't a video game or Gilmore Girls on Netflix. This, obviously, doesn't bode well for my homework, but I'm somehow managing to stay comfortably on top of all my work, most of the time turning assignments in a day early. The past week has just been a bit blurry, and finding my new flow through all this change has been nothing short of dizzying.
With any luck, I won't find myself reeling come Friday evening. But if I am, I still have five and a half seasons of Gilmore Girls to watch. At least I have plenty of recovery material.