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Beware of Dog

I've been reading posts by my friends while I work my last week at a temp job doing extremely banal web page updates (converting PDFs to HTML pages verbatum--over 500 of them) and it got me thinking about obsolescence. I graduated with a Master of Arts in cultural anthropology almost 30 years ago--a lifetime in research. When I was in school Eric Thompson was king and Freud/Jung his mentors, per se. Symbolism, psychology, and dreams were my passions as was how religion is so conservative that original thoughts and beliefs stick around even when the culture is overwhelmed by another (ala my study people the Maya of Central America). We didn't have computers and we didn't have the other tools used today. Participant Observation was taught and became almost a religion in itself.

I got out in 1978 and found few opportunities to use my skills. And they withered as I became a writer and graphics designer (skills I used in anthropology). I'm telling this history because I've been reading posts that are about the struggle to find one's self in a profession that is difficult to enter. I keep banging my head against design and now I am back to thinking that writing is where my direction should be.

Meanwhile, I'm reading Michael Coe's "Breaking The Maya Code" again and his history of the stupidity of letting ideology master one's research and how it delayed decipherment of Maya writing for 50 years has me shaking my head. I left school at the tail end of this war of symbol vs. phonetics and it was raging very strongly. It colored my education. Science throws down old, outmoded ideas in a paradigm shift and I watch my entire MA go down in flames. Basically, the Maya wrote in Chontal in a very complex mixture of logograms (phonetic syllables) and signs to give additional contextual meaning to the words (sort of like Japanese).

So what does that have to do with my career thoughts? It is possible to find a way to convert my writing skills (15 books and articles) combined with my computing and design skills (5 web sites designed from scratch) into some sort of work that won't bore me to tears. Meanwhile, I watch my older daughter begin her years that count towards college applications and without extracurricular activities (due to an extreme sense of inadequacy) with ADHD and get very scared of her future in a world that changes so fast.

By the way, please send your senators a letter from the American Cancer Society to hault the insurance bill that is being discussed in the Senate this week. It would emasculate all cancer screenings and other state-mandated insurance coverage under the guise of helping small businesses. It is a lousy bill and panders to insurance companies.

Just ramblings on a Wednesday morning to avoid beginning more HTML cleanup. Any thoughts?

Comments

One thing I've learned over the years is you often don't end up in a profession that you thought you would. Even when I graduated high school, computers were not prolific ('91). Sure I was on the internet a couple years later, but all that was there were bbs sites, all in text! It would be 3 years after that when I would even fathom using computers to design for a living. Of course I'd always been into art throughout school, but my other passion was archaeology and anthropology. I had enough credits and classes to go that way in college and instead I went the art way (which in retrospect was totally useless, but it did get me the degree which does apply to my chosen profession in a way). The more I thought about it, the more I realized that if I did archaeology, I would most likely end up either a teacher, or in a lab spending years picking dirt off of artifacts. So to appease my curious mind, I still kept up with the world of archaeology through books and magazine subscriptions while I persued my graphic design career. I even participated in a couple volunteer digs which worked perfect because my only responsibility was to the dig - no lab work, ha!

I guess my point is that I've found ways to satisfy my interests and still make a living doing something else I (for the most part) enjoy. It sounds like maybe you should flip flop - put the writing first and design 2nd? I dunno, just a thought as that seems to have worked for me ;)
Ah, we are so flipped you and I. I wanted to major in Art in college but my father convinced me that I "didn't have the calling" whatever that meant. My folks always tried to protect me by convincing me I wasn't good enough to make a go at things such as art or music. They may have been right but I never gave myself a chance to pursue whatever they convinced me I wasn't good enough at. I had studied fine arts and won awards throughout high school, but I did get intimidated by the "artistes" at Newcomb College. So I studied anthropology. I wanted to go into archeology but I learned that I hated the dirt under my finger nails.

So, after an MA in anthropology, I went into design (desk top publishing) and then into computers. I also still keep my fingers in anthropology and archeology by reading a lot -- a dilitant now.

I struggle from our world that wants names and titles and my own feeling of inadequacy when I see what others can do. AND the fact that web design is not respected enough unless you do the type of work that you do. I also am finding that I like writing much better.

I'm just maundering around and do have many options. I am just amazed at how anthropology has moved beyond all of the theories that I studied in school into a quantitative study that I'm not sure I would be good at without quite a struggle. But then struggle is worth it to get what you want.

I'm not conflicted...
i changed careers after 15 years and have never regretted it. it's amazing how the skills and experience you have can be used in other settings. which is my way of saying, do what feels right for you, life's too short not to. although that is always easier to say than to do. it's quite a process, but i think it's worth it. *hugs*
Jen, this isn't change so much as a swerve back around to the beginning. I'm sucking my thumb again. I seem to do that a lot when I'm bored.

Thanks for the hugs. I love your otters and critters.
and maybe that swerve back will take you to a surprising and wonderful place. i'm thinking it will. and i hope that the next days are without boredom in a good way.

and thank you, i do love the otters so much. and the one by my job has made me utterly happy in every way. *more hugs*