Guest Writer: Terazi
Today I got the chance to read some passages from a fellow engineer’s article where she shared some struggles of her life. “I knew for sure that I would never work as an engineer the moment I graduated from engineering school, and I was quite determined.” she says. “All that coding toils and computer stuff had no place in my life.” she goes on.
I thought about my own life. In contrast with her I had been striving for 16 years with that computer stuff. As soon as I graduated I started working in the first company I was hired to as software engineer. I coded, ran tests, wrote documents, fixed problems, and supported the products. My potential was discovered since my first project – which caused me to stay at the office until midnight for my first six months in the company, and costed me long shifts and a lot of tears. My diligence and endurance were also proved well and I began climbing up the stairs of my career in a relatively ‘short’ time. I proceeded in various positions; engineer, expert, software architect, department manager and lastly project supervisor.
Before I give you a detailed story of my career, I think I should tell you that the company I worked for was a multinational company and worked with chiefly foreign clients, and used English as the primary language rather than Turkish almost every day. My days were occupied by meetings or ‘conference calls’. I was trying to do the follow-ups with the ‘minutes’ sent after meetings and ‘update’ the project officers on the process of projects. In short, I was reflecting the perfect image of a ‘plaza person’ and living just like one. Even though I never felt it in my soul!
I have been working for 16 years. I am a successful (!) manager in a multinational company and have only about 3 years until my retirement. Everything is great so far. “What then? What is the problem?” you could ask, believe me I don’t know what is wrong either!
I feel like I am at the finale of a tremendously enjoyable book. A long, fun and distressful, cheerful and woeful, exciting and bitter book… My job, work life and company were such a beautiful story. I was surrounded by good people. I am also grateful that I haven’t experienced unpleasant situations except minor things. I have always felt that my ideas and I are respected. I proved myself long ago and I always did my best. And I always got my reward for this somehow.
But it’s over.
I want to read new books now.
Giving 16 years of my only life has been worth it so far. But I feel that it’s not worth to give more from now on.
I’ve had moments of breaking like all of us. I’ve had questions and problems that bothered me. I am going through a long phase of contemplating. I’m questioning the life. I’m being reeducated in a wide array of areas from self-help process to my incomplete religious education. I am forgetting what I’ve learned and learning again from the beginning, and I see that I have no choice but to change my life into a different one. I have to. To achieve this I first need to change my work life and urgently get out of this ‘plaza person’ world.
Now here you see, this is the hardest part. Because, I am simply “afraid”. I don’t know if I have the courage to forget all I’ve known.
All I know so far is what I don’t want to do. :) But please don’t underestimate this; it is greatly valuable information since it took me almost thirty six years to know what I don’t want to do. I am quite sure that I don’t want to do a technical job like engineering. In fact I think I may stay away from working life for a while. As I told you I’ve had sufficient portions of job and career by now. It is sufficient for me at least. So, what am I going to do now?
Be a housewife?!?!?!
I wished to be one especially for these days of my exhausting work life. I always said “My only dream is to arrange breakfast gatherings when I grow up”. On my very rare sick leaves I see ladies gather under the pergola of our building complex making use of it to the fullest, happily chatting and eating snacks of hundreds of calories with tea. I long for that relaxation to be honest. Yet, my questioning mind would never give me a rest there either.
There are two things that make me happy in my work life; socializing and producing. I have two ways of thinking.
1- I have established very strong bonds of friendship in the company. I see them almost every day. And in the long lunch breaks or short tea breaks we can talk about absolutely anything; contemplating life, gossiping about our husbands, politics, healthy life… They are people that I understand and who understand me.
2- As for producing, even if it’s mainly technical I am in the middle of a process of production concerning my work. Besides, now I share my knowledge with other people and do trainings since I am quite experienced. I feel enormously happy for doing this.
I’m trying to figure out how these two purposes can be accomplished in a housewife’s life. You could suggest that socializing is a lot easier because I will have all the time, but it’s not that simple. First of all, presuming I will have time might be a big mistake. As my mother often says, house chores are never completely finished. Of course I could never be as good as my mother at this, but indeed days are consumed so fast by cooking, laundry, shopping, etc.
Secondly, everyone is busy. Even now meeting with friends in the weekends require a good planning and efforts. It gets even harder when our kids’ overly occupied calendars come in. So, what I want is basically an “effortless socializing” as in working life.
I presume the closest substitute of this for a house wife is neighbors. But what if your relationship with your neighbors is vexing and troublesome like mine?
And what about producing? This part seems to be more complicated. What am I supposed to produce? Cleaning, doing the laundry, washing the dishes, having more kids??? No, thank you… I particularly don’t favor house chores. Moreover, we had a cleaning lady in the house for about seven years and I have nearly forgotten how to cook even the meals I once knew. (Lucky me.) So thank you, I’ll pass. I guess I don’t like the idea of exhausting myself more than I’m currently doing. Also there isn’t any wage, performance management, premium or social right in this profession. There is simply no ‘recognition’.
You have no rival (naturally) when you are a house wife, thus no data to compare your performance. Actually I don’t think anyone even tries to compare. Chilling in your comfortable home all day is a blessing itself, so you have no reason to be ungrateful. Or do you? I don’t know. (How simple it is for us, isn’t it?!)
Can one of you tell me how this system works, what are the potential career options, and how the process of production develops? If you can tell me and make me understand, I think I am ready and content to change. Right now this is my only career goal.