On top of all the other things, I am completely burned out at my job. I had been fairly burned out already last year, but now I am a pile of cold ash. Completely charred and burned down to nothing. I'm professional cremains.

What's burned me out at work--prior to *gestures vaguely* everything--is just the basic dysfunction of the nonprofit workspace, tiny type. And some small failures. And some stagnation. And a lack of novelty. And some complicated reflection on the path that led me here, the mistakes I made, the right choices I made, and the realization along the way that I was never ambitious. That I only ever wanted a job I was good at, at an organization I was not embarassed by, that left me emotional and mental space to be a person in my off hours.

Which I have, in spades, and am exhausted with.

So I'm frequently angry with myself for being burned out. And also because I believe in the work and the general work environment is very good: work-life balance, dominon over projects, good-for-non-profit-salary. But I am. I am tired and ready to be somewhere else, doing something else, for someone else. 

But I don't feel at all marketable. I've also known too many people my age & education level & comparable job title who just gave up trying to find new jobs, as their searches stretched from a few months to a few years. So I should just get over being burned out.

I'm less than two years away from "being eligible for public service loan forgiveness". My org has given up our office space and transitioned to a permanent "work from whereever is conveniet" model, no matter what the new year brings. This is a situation that says "ride it out. find a way to reconnect with it. be better."

However, I suspect I just don't want to work as a professional anymore. That if, through some divine intervention, I actually get my public service loan forgiveness, I'll try to get hired at the sort of hourly wage job that does not really exist any more: file clerk, receptionist, coat room clerk at the local museum. That's a total pipe dream--and I know it--a woman in her 50's with a minimal social network, getting a non-exploitaitive, non-back-breaking job for just a little pin money. 

Maybe one of the local legal aid agencies would have a part-time job that I could get hired to do and then get fired from because I wouldn't work more than my hours? 

Or maybe I could retire. Would that not be amazing?

12/1 '20

It was late in life--and even later in my career--when I realized how little people "liked" me at work. Not that I was disliked or unpleasant or unreliable or irritating, but much more than I was reserved and unknown. It was some time after that when I realized how that retards progress in my projects and how intricately that's connected with traditional metrics of success. It's probably very good I got away from the firm track early because I can't make that sort of emotional and personal committment to my professional self.

In a larger context, I've been thinking about counting wins. How "wins" are often small, frequently don't look anything like what you expect, easily discounted. Small and incomplete wins--as well as the sorts of progress that don't look like wins--are frequently critized as a defense against people thinking it's enough or that they're done or, more importantly, in order to resist pressure to compromise where compromise is not warranted. 

Progress is slow and incrementalism both insufficient and effective. Look at how the GOP got us here; that was an inch at a time. The GOP misogynist and racist rally cry that giving Them an inch means They'll take a mile has given them the federal judiciary and probably the nation as a whole. Encroachments breach walls and leave legions of bodies behind them.

Everything is hard.

8/6 '20