Thursday, November 6, 2008

Losing My Way

Have you ever had a period of time in your life where you just don’t know what the hell is going on or what you’re doing? When you feel completely lost? Not necessarily hopeless, but lost.

It’s almost easier to weather the storm when you have something else to focus on – a goal that’s been determined for you, like finishing college or finding a job or even finding a place to live. You may be confused about where you’re going in life, but shit, you need a place to live! (or a job or a degree to get a job)

I’ve been off lately. I guess I should count myself lucky, because I don’t have anything “bigger” looming over me that I can focus on. I have a house. I have a partner. I have a job. And I have a hobby.

I kind of feel like an asshole now writing this entry, but ever since I got my promotion at work, I’ve had less and less time to do the same things I didn’t really even have time to be doing before I got the new job! Don’t get me wrong, I like my new job.

Anyone from my office who reads this blog may think me sadistic, and maybe I am, but I like a challenge. And the main reason I accepted the offer was because it built on skills I only use in derby business, and it will enable me to expand on those skills in a way I haven’t yet had the opportunity to learn to do. Not to mention that my new boss has had a wildly successful career working both for other people and working for himself.

I received the opportunity to learn a hell of a lot about business, and I took it because I knew what I will learn would be valuable at my current job, elsewhere, or in owning my own business. Additionally, let’s not forget the application it can have with the business of derby. Shit, before I got offered this job I was planning a way to do derby as my career – to work for myself – but I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity. Although I don’t plan on being in publishing for the rest of my life, I wasn’t sure an opportunity like this would ever arise again, and like I keep trying to convince you (and myself), I feel it was a smart move that will pay off in the long run, whether I use what I learn to better myself or my sport.

I knew there would have to be tradeoffs – that I couldn’t keep up my wonderwoman pace of a full-time job, being an LLC member, being Sponsorship Director for my league, being Sponsorship Manager for WFTDA and RollerCon, writing this blog, and starting other writing projects. Nonetheless, I’ve been reluctant to rebalance and give something up.

It’s like choosing which teenage child to leave at a hospital in Nebraska. How do you make that decision?

My league is at a crossroads of sorts, businesswise. We desperately need a new business plan. It rocks that we’ve grown and been so successful without a plan per se, but now we have the ability to focus our resources (and additional income) on catapulting ourselves even further ahead, but we can’t do that without a plan. This is exactly what I do in my new position – help people write business plans. I could do it, but I sure as shit can’t add one more “to do” to my ever growing list without giving something up.

It’s November, which means it’s time to be soliciting for 09 sponsorship for my league, the WFTDA, and RollerCon. In sponsorship, you have to strike while the iron’s hot. The “iron” being a company who could sponsor you and “hot” meaning they just budgeted money for marketing and promotion for the coming year (and it hasn’t yet run out). And I must do this times three, never sharing any contacts between the three, because that would be unethical.

I can’t imagine not doing sponsorship for my league. As it is, we struggle to have people help on our committee. And wouldn’t it be weird if I no longer did sponsorship for my league but continued to do it for WFTDA and RollerCon?

I love doing sponsorship for WFTDA because I know I’m helping the sport grow, and I truly love all the people I work with – from the ladies (and Hambone) on my committee who I love and respect (X-Khan, Mean, Minx) to the other WFTDA reps who I only get to see at WFTDA functions, like Crackerjack and Mercyless. I LOVE working with these people, and I accepted the promotion I was offered at work so I can apply what I learn to WFTDA, but WFTDA doesn’t pay. Not only does it not pay, but it actually costs me several hundred dollars in travel a year (outside of maximum reimbursements) to continue my job in the WFTDA.

RollerCon pays me. It’s hard to turn away a paying sponsorship gig, and Christ, you all know how much I love Vegas! I love working with Ivanna and Nottie, and they are amazing businesswomen who I’ve also learned a lot from in the past 6 months or so.

You see where I’m going with this? Everything I do has its own value and merit, and I can’t make this decision easily, so I just haven’t made it.

I do know one thing, I can’t live my life this way much longer. Today in the car I finally asked myself how I would feel in an ideal world. Relaxed. Calm. Poised to be creative, not drained by half-assing the too-many tasks I already take on.

I feel lost. I don’t know which way to turn, but I think it’s only a matter of time before I let someone down, and not because I actually quit anything but because I’m incapable of managing my responsibilities outside my 9-to-5 job. And if you know me, then you know “irresponsible” is not in my vocabulary.

Maybe there isn’t just one solution: to give something up. Maybe I can restructure how I do things or find help or set limits so I don’t get so overwhelmed like I am now. Or maybe I'm kidding myself by saying that.

I do know this: I need to get back to a place where I have enough energy at the end of the day to be creative – to write. It’s killing me that my writing has suffered because I’m overwhelmed. I’m so over stimulated that most of the time I cannot think in a way that allows me to write. I cannot quiet my mind.

Much like my predicament, I don’t know how to end this entry. In a perfect world my job would be to write what I want when I want, and I’d already have the knowledge I’m hoping to gain by taking this promotion, so I can contribute to derby in my spare time. Too bad that option’s the furthest from reality!

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