Thursday, January 27, 2011

Separating Myself from my "Career"

Interesting reaction to something today - someone asked me about my archaeological work, and I found myself feeling really resentful about having to answer her question.  That made me pause and go "Hmmmm...."

There are a lot of emotions for me that are tied to my career - or past career, depending on how you look at it.  I no longer consider myself an archaeologist.  Sure, I have the Master's Degree on my wall, and I do work for another archaeologist - but it's graphic design, editing and formatting - not actually archaeology.  I do related work.  I've been working for Donald Luxton and Associates doing heritage consulting (public relations and research, mostly), and I was involved in some Traditional Knowledge work a few years ago.  Plus, I do my own research and writing.  But I don't consider myself an archaeologist any more.

And why does it matter?  Well, really, it doesn't.  But somewhere deep inside I feel like I didn't follow the career path I should have.  And that's bullshit (if you'll pardon my language).  I'm happier now than I EVER was doing archaeology.  I get to work on projects that excite me and I get to do really fun stuff.  I love research more than anything.  And graphics.  But there is a little part of me that misses being able to say with clarity "I'm an archaeologist". 

It took a long time for me to come to grips with "giving up" my career - and it was done slowly over many years.  A lot of long thought went into it.  And along the way I did feel like I was taking the easy route by not being an archaeologist anymore.  But my life is so much better now.  I get to be at home, do work I enjoy (including housework) on my own schedule.  Read the books I want to read and watch the T.V. I like.  As I've mentioned before and will continue to harp on, I am lucky because my husband "brings home the bacon" and lets me do this.  We live with one car and a small-ish house and we live within our means - which is not necessarily the way he would prefer to live, all things being equal.  But he lets me live my life this way because I feel better doing this and am a happier person because of it. 

I'm blessed.  And so, so lucky.  But I guess somewhere deep down inside, there's still a part of me that feels like I failed.  I guess I should just get over it.  I have a kick-ass life and I love it.

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