Today I have my orientation meeting for the Radiologic Tech program. Part of me is wondering just WTF I'm doing. Why didn't I go for the MBA in business management? Hell, I'd be done by now and I could have had the day thing pay for most of it. But I've known enough MBAs to be turned off of doing that. I could have gone for a masters in design. Although I tried that route with the one university that offers it and putting up with the crap because I'm an Akron graduate just isn't worth it.
So here I am, making a good salary with a solid job, and I'm putting that all at risk to get a degree in the health sciences. Just what the hell am I doing?
Life didn't turn out quite the way we planned. I wasn't supposed to be the bread winner and provider of benefits. People whose life didn't turn out according to plans are a dime a dozen these days. I'm in a large club when it comes to that. The problem is that, career wise, I'm not near where I should be. Mostly because I didn't take the big chances. I didn't move to Houston or Chicago when offered the chance. I didn't work well in the "dream job" positions I landed. While other designers talk about their first jobs designing logos for Fortune 100 companies, packaging and marketing in the consumer market, I talk about my first job outputting film negatives.
The last job I had was an old designer job. A good paycheck, not having to be in front of the clients, valued for skill, temperament, and ability to solve problems. Instead of a business that is hyper-focused on the young (an artifact of "new technology" and what used to be the "prime market"), printing was about getting the job done. Most times between jobs I've been able to land several interviews, leverage my brand/reputation to get work. This time was very different. Designers over 40 aren't really looked at, no matter how mad their skills are. There's many reasons for that but the eventually all boil down to the fact that "this isn't my first time to the rodeo."
The end result is I think this is my last design job I'll have. There are few old man designer jobs that don't include owning your own firm (or running someone else's firm). And even though I have that talent and can do it, I'm not in the position they want to see before stepping into that level of management and I never found a partner to start up a business. And these days freelancing is going global.
The current job continues to try and convince me that I have nothing to worry about. They know how competent I am. They also want to keep me around. However, to date, I've not been offered an employment contract above "at will", or any kind of golden parachute. If they did, I might reconsider. Hell, if the parachute was big enough I'd drop the other classes faster than you can say jackrabbit. But so far no offer is forthcoming and like I said above, this isn't my first time to the rodeo.
So I have to jump before I'm pushed. I can't take three years of not earning an income to retrain if I stay where I am only to find myself out of a job in 5 or 10 years. I'm getting older, but I think I can still manage another 2 years of insane scheduling and working myself down to the nub. But I'm not sure I'd be able to do that 5 years from now. This then is my gambit. This is the roll of the die, the play of the cards, the attempt to skate faster than the ice can crack.