Planning to get Unstuck

Hello Fuzzbutts!

One thing that has stuck out to me in some of the conversations with people I’ve met is how many of them seem to fall into a mindset that they are just stuck. They hate where they are but they can’t move from there because one of reason or another (usually it’s a job situation and they can’t move out of it because they need the job for money). Other times, it’s a weird relationship issue where they want to leave but they stay for whatever reason is most difficult for anyone else to understand.

While I can’t help so much on the relationship front, the job situation and the feeling of being stuck is something that can be dealt with. We feel helpless to the moment and the way we’ve led our lives that we’ve made mistakes along the way and don’t see any way out. We’re so busy we don’t think to take a breath and assess the situation. Yet, that’s exactly what we have to do. Take a step back and start reviewing where you are and where you want to be.

Have a lousy job and want to take on a job in a field you’re more interested in? Find what skills you’re lacking and start learning. I don’t get paid by Udemy but I love recommending their online courses. Computer skills, singing, drawing, whatever. You’ll learn more about the subject and learn if it’s something you actually want to do vs whatever you think it is. A computer job might sound lucrative and cozy but are you prepared to stare at hundreds, if not thousands of lines of code trying to fix whatever is broken with a deadline quickly approaching? Dip your toes into the water. If it’s fine, then start gaining the skills you need and make that transition. I know a couple of people who dropped out of college, got entry-level biotech jobs, and are doing great without a degree because they were determined to get their feet in the door and then picked up the skills they needed.

What if you’re stuck because you hate your job and don’t even know what to do? Well your problem is you don’t even know what you want to do. Start writing up a journal! Brainstorm like crazy on a sheet of paper about the possibilities. You don’t have to figure it out in one sitting. Every time you sit down and start popping off ideas, you might not know what you want to do but you’ll learn what you DON’T want to do. When you do figure out what you want to do, start assessing all the aspects of it and then weigh the pros and cons.

Say you want to make fursuits. Do you have the skills to make them to begin with? Can you afford all the materials to just get started? Do you have customer service skills appropriate for dealing with furries? Can you take criticism in case you get a bad review? Can you set up the boundaries necessary so you can do your job without being micromanaged by your customer while also make sure you can hold up your end of the deal? How much should you price your fursuits and accessories to be able to compete with better-known brands? How will you maintain your schedule and social media presence? Can you figure out a tracking system that won’t become a huge mess when you have a dozen orders or a long queue?

How about a non-furry related job? You want to work in electronics? What kind? Sound systems, displays, robotics, etc? Are you making things or repairing them? What companies would be interested in those skills? Are there any do-it-yourself projects you can do at home as examples to show off when you interview? Are there certifications you can acquire that would help you land work?

How about just stuck in your position at your current job? What does it take for a promotion? Is there a different career track at your company that they might even enable you to take? Are there other companies nearby that do the same sort of work but would give you new experience (and probably an increased income? Sometimes they will even if you end up with the same title)? Is it time to update the resume?

None of what I said matters until you can sit down and take the time to think about these things. You don’t need a lot of time. Take 10 minutes in the evenings or even during your break at work (just don’t show anyone at work you’re working on changing careers!). The point is you’re not stuck. You just need to settle your mind, take a breath and a step back, and review everything going on. You can come up with a plan and come up with a direction for your life. You’ll gain a sense of control almost right away as you shift gears and you’ll realize you can handle this.

Good luck fuzzbutts!

Change of Plans!

Hello fuzzbutts!

So my last post, nearly 2 weeks ago now, was about making the changes you need. I described my job situation as my example and all the stuff going through my brain. Well! Change of plans again! I got the new job, showed up, and knew instantly in the first 5 hours that this wasn’t going to work. I finally got the tour of the location I was supposed to work at. It was way worse than the place I had originally toured. I, unfortunately, thought the labs were consistent. Not so much! Even before the end of the first day, I knew this wasn’t going to be acceptable for my ambition. Stability is one thing. This place was soul-crushing. Most of the people I met at that place were already in the process of quitting because of how bad it was. I already left my last job and now I had to leave this brand new job. Disappointment all around!

So maybe it’s a cautionary tale about change, you’re thinking. “Don’t make change! You’ll end up jobless!” No. Still not what I’m saying. One thing I will say I would not have made the change if I had just asked for/put pressure on them to let me tour the lab I was going to actually work at. Lesson learned for me before accepting work ANYWHERE.

Granted, this situation is not ideal. I’d prefer to be working right now. I’m not entirely sure where I’ll find other work in a place that I won’t find soul-killing. However, I will take solace in the fact I have money saved, a good living situation, and freedom to explore more options with more time, catching up on some things I fell behind on (like this blog).

So, given this situation, I decided to explore my options. I didn’t burn my bridges (see earlier post about that) with the old company so I might be able to just ask for my job back. However, maybe this was the boost I needed to explore even more places. It’s hard to decide. So I went seeking advice.

My old mentor suggested it would be ok to ask for the old job back if I was clear about what happened with the new job. Recent former boss said the situation was already pretty precarious for the group even before I left so, assuming they take me back, I’d be in a bad spot since they might not even want people of my level. Maybe. I know the things they were working on and that I would be pretty important to get those going. Still, theĀ trust is broken.

Speaking with other friends, I feel like there’s ways to proceed. I’m reaching out to other contacts to see if they have anything going on at their locations. I know how slowly the old job hires so I don’t expect to be replaced and I feel like I left on a high note so, unless they were moving in a different direction already, I don’t expect to get turned down if I wait a little while to try my other options. Ideally, I want something new and research based. Research is never 100% stable but I think I would prefer some instability over the depressing routine that I almost volunteered for.

So what about you? Well, even if things suddenly fall apart for you, my point is to gather up as much information as possible and start weighing options again. I felt like I was having a panic attack at the new job. Usually I’m good about keeping cool but this blew me out of the furry waters. However, a good night’s sleep later, I feel much better about this uncertain situation and started gathering the data I need to make an informed decision. While I’m not happy about dumping the old job to just become temporarily unemployed, I feel like I can still make a move in the positive direction. I hope it works out and I hope you get something out of my blog.

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Change Change Change

Hi Furries!

Well I made my own leap recently and got a new job! Notified my current employer and training people to take over for me. In less than two weeks, I’ll be working in a new industry (for me). Recent post from me was avoiding Burning Bridges! So now I’m trying to make this transition as smooth as possible. They appreciate it because there’s a lot on the line if things would stop. So I’m still doing my best with less than 2 weeks to go.

I’m excited for this new job but there’s a nagging feeling at the back of my mind. Am I going to actually enjoy this new job? It’s probably really different from things I’ve done before. I know the job and I know the people I’m leaving. It’s one of those “the devil you know vs the devil you don’t” situations. I have no idea how the new situation will be and yet I know how bad the current situation is. Will the new one be worse, better? It’s hard to change! You can actually get comfortable being unhappy when you’re not sure if things will get better by taking the leap. Writing this blog and working on myself for the past almost-year now has led me to the following: Changing a lousy situation is always better than staying in the same place.

So what drove me to make this change? I knew I wasn’t pleased with my current job. After almost 5 years there, I was busted back to doing the same job I did when I was first hired. Granted the pay was better (I had been promoted twice), but this job was becoming stagnant. On top of that, I had survived 4 mass layoffs at this job and every time, the CEO or management comes out and says “This is a good thing. We’re getting more focused. You’re all safe.” After so many rounds of that, there’s a reduced sense of security. So maybe I’ll get cut eventually. So I wasn’t developing professionally and I didn’t see the place improving. Does that justify switching to a new industry and employer? Well it’s time to weigh the option to decide if change is right.

I don’t know the people I’ll be working with. They could be cool or way worse. What about the environment? It won’t be as pristine as the lab I used to run and the instrumentation might not be as fancy. Maybe not but there’s definitely a certain instrument there that is new to me and I would love to get experience with. What about money? Well it’s the same for the moment but in 6 months I’m guaranteed a significant raise so yeah the money will be better too. Commuting distance ? Well it’ll definitely be shorter and I will avoid freeways now so that could mean a lot more free time to do things! Advancement? Well it looks like maybe 2 years to become an official manager. I’ve been a mentor for years already and was recently passed over as a manager for somebody who already had official experience at my current job. I don’t see any changes coming within the next 2 years that would allow me to become a manager so I guess it’s better to change. Can I take the experience elsewhere? Yes. I’m going to be working in a place that is part of infrastructure and will allow me to move wherever I want! That’s awfully nice for somebody, like me, who plans to leave SoCal someday.

So I came to the decision that change is needed. I’m anxious, sure. I don’t feel great about it. I’m finding myself needing to do a little more meditation more often. It’s definitely uncomfortable but that’s how you move on to bigger and better things. It’s not incredibly different from changing my diet to improve my health or working out more or reading more books. I hope you can find something to improve in your own life. Pick one thing at a time and make the changes you know you need!

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

It’s Ok to Change Your Mind

Hello Fuzzbutts!

Are you struggling with a goal? You keep putting it off that you make no progress on it? Does you feel guilty for not doing it but not guilty enough that you actually do it? Is the thing on your worktable just staring at you… watching you… expecting you…

Sometimes you embark on a goal with intent! You’re going to do this thing and it’s gonna be awesome. Then you start to run into a hurdle. Maybe you pass that hurdle or your struggle to get over it. Then another one pops up for you. Then another… and another… Does the final idea even seem like somethingĀ  you still want? Here’s a test. If you accomplish the goal, will you feel a sense of pride and joy or will you feel a sense of relief? The former means you should keep working at it. The latter means you need to re-evaluate what your goals are.

I’ve gone through a lot of these kinds of things. I wanted to make furry stuff to make some cash and thought it would be a fun creative pursuit. I started making tails and making a little money from it. As time went on and I made more, I found it difficult to expand my designs and it appeared there was less interest in my tails. I exhausted the small pool of furries who wanted very basic and cheap tails. Eventually, I took the tails I couldn’t sell and gave them out at the next furry meet so at least they didn’t go to waste and some people were thankful. It never truly bothered me. I have my own career and the tails were side-money but at least I sold a few, learned quite a bit, and people were happy to have some free tails. What had bothered me was having them around for so long!

Much later, I decided pre-made partials were worth a shot. I knew about sewing and cutting fur already so I wanted to build on that. Only problem was I had no idea where to start with foam. I hung out with fursuit makers, gleaning what little advice I could. Then I started going for it. I cut up foam, tried to shape it as best I could. I spent probably 10 hours just on shaping the foam. I probably spent 15 hours on figuring out how to make handpaws. I learned a lot more about these things. However, it was starting to drag on and become even more difficult. The time invested into it was looking really bad for how much money I thought I could get from it. Even if I did finish this goal, I wasn’t going to feel great. I sure wasn’t going to put myself through this again to make another one!

Time is not a chain

Just because you’ve invested a lot of time into something doesn’t mean you should stick it out. It’s the equivalent of “throwing good money after bad.” An example is the game Paragon. They invested a lot into it but it flopped to the competition. They invested more into it to try to distinguish themselves and kept things running as long as they could. Eventually they couldn’t do it anymore and the best they could do with their 12 million dollar investment is earn some brownie points with the gaming community as they released all their assets for free to let other developers use them.

My point with that example is you’re spending your time on your goals. If your goal has lost all of its luster and no longer brings you any excitement, don’t stick it out just because you invested that time. Take what you learned and move on! You have my permission so don’t feel guilty either!

I do a lot of things and change my mind a lot!

Do you make a habit out of exploring a new thing and then you eventually decide it’s not for you? Do you hop from project to project, never finishing one? Some might say you’re undisciplined. That very well might be true but I think exploring and trying new things is incredibly important to personal growth and discovering what you want out of life. When you find what you really want to do, the hurdles won’t be obstacles. They’ll become challenges. It won’t be easy but keep thinking about that awesome goal until your eyes sparkle and stay productive!

I would much rather you be productive at something you enjoy that forcing yourself to be productive at something you hate!