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 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!

Don’t Burn Your Bridges

Hello fuzzbutts!

Work is rough. Work is tough. You’ve been slaving away at your job and having a difficult time. You’re looking for a way out, sending your info and resume out to find a new job. Finally, you find a new opportunity! You’re all set! Time to leave! Now you can give everyone a piece of your mind, flipping the bird as you make your triumphant exit.

Don’t do that. It’s not classy. Also, depending on your industry, it could easily come back to bite your tail. In Southern California, if you work in science, it’s a small world! There’s a ton of companies but turn-over is high and people scatter around quick. In my current job, I’ve seen technicians show up at our place of business where they all worked with my coworkers in my past. I’ve also heard people talk about giving references for other contacts. Sure, it might feel great to let everything boil over and spew over those jerks now that you’re leaving. Head out the door after unloading all your grievances and you can forget about references. Not only that, though. Those people will eventually move to new jobs for whatever reason and you’ll eventually leave this new job for something else. Imagine you apply for a job, have a decent interview, and then one of those people you unloaded on has a private word with the person considering to hire you. So much for the new new job.

On top of that, sometimes it’s not the job itself but your compensation for it. You’re looking for something new to earn more cash and feel a bit more appreciated. I’ve seen a lot of people where they start to slow down in their work, eventually to the point where multiple people are wondering “What do they even do anymore?” People remember the quality of your work at the end. If you’ve pretty much quit your job while still collecting a pay check, it builds a sour taste in the mouths of those around you. I had a great coworker who got tired of his job. We were friends until the last couple months when he gave up on the job and all his work went to me. Not cool, bruh.

Sometimes you know there’s a job out there where you don’t care about going back to there. I did seasonal work at the now-defunct Toys R Us and went in while sick. I eventually decided it wasn’t worth the effort. I went to the manager and let them know I wouldn’t be in tomorrow and that I was quitting. I didn’t storm in there, talk about how poorly run the place was or the crazy stressful situation of seasonal work at a toy store. I was polite, sick, and straight-forward. Granted it was still during the seasonal period so I knew there wouldn’t be a “next year” if I wanted to come back. That was a possibility I seriously considered and I still made the decision. With my career now, it’s important to keep a good, honest reputation because it turns out my contacts, especially my former director, know a lot of people around the country.

Anyway, the point is to be good to those around you, whether it’s at work or just in your daily life. You never know if you’ll meet up again and you need to weigh the short-term good feelings against the long term.

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

When Things Get Frustrating

Hello fuzzbutts!

How did it go this week for you? Pretty good? Did it drag on and on and on? Desperate for the weekend? What about your work? Has the fire gone out and you’re just rolling with the flow while being bored or just hating it? How about anything else like these drawing habits I’m trying to build? You just sit there, despising it but unable to make a change. You need that job! You need that income! Maybe it’s not even that there’s anything in particular to hate about your job but you’re just bored now.

It can be very frustrating to feel this way in your day-to-day life. The fire just… went out. Now you’re miserable and just there.

When this happens, it’s important to find meaning in what you’re doing. I work in a lab and now I handle the operations side of things. I don’t go into the lab anymore to do all the sample prep or even analyze the data. It drove me crazy for a while since now my job went from being active and walking around to just sitting at my desk and sending tons of emails to coworkers or vendors. However, that ended when I decided to focus on my new purpose and why it was important. My job is to ensure everyone else can get their jobs done. I go from my own little bubble or preparing stuff to actually helping my coworkers do better. I also get to call the shots on how to arrange things in our laboratory now. Anything that can be done to optimize somebody’s work or the space? Boom. That’s this wuff’s call now. Sure it can feel a bit slow as I wait for emails or for other people to make certain big budget decisions but it’s still fun.

Your job has a meaning to it. If not some nebulous great reason in the universe, then remember you go to that job to fund *blank* or so you can get *blank* job later. If you can’t do it, then maybe start looking around for something else.

I get that I used a job as an example but this still applies to new habits you want to cultivate. Remind yourself why you’re working on this habit and why it’s important to you. Remind yourself why you’re building new skills!

Good luck, fuzzbutts!