I wondered if “employment gypsy” or “job gypsy” might be a term in use already. Upon looking around online for slang terms regarding those who move in and out of jobs the way nomadic peoples move in and out of living spaces, I found interesting facts about types of employment common among various travelling gypsy groups in the world, but also a blog for a woman who refers to herself as a “Business Gypsy.”
As with many things, I realized I am not alone.
Some days I feel the regret of not having a MS or a Ph. D. by now. I regret not having decided on medical school way back in my early twenties so that I could now in my later thirties be conducting research in a medical laboratory somewhere. I regret not having returned to school five years ago to obtain a degree and licensing for counseling. I wonder how life might be if I had settled down much longer ago into a stable, long-term career.
Yet I admit there has been some amount of exhilaration in being exposed to many different work environments, learning how to perform new tasks, operating under different styles of management, and adapting my mind to new types of information. Each time I have left a job, whether something as practical as housekeeping or as scientific as working with laboratory specimens, I take along information, ideas, and experiences that I’m able to plug into other information, ideas, and experiences in other times and places of my life. I feel enriched.
Since I’m not yet licensed in what I would like to do with my life in career terms, I have continued to indulge in the recent years in moving into new jobs when I need a change, and out when I need further experience. I look for a new environment, research its missions and values, and assess what I can learn from and offer to it.
I took an online quiz once to predict health problems I may encounter due to life stressors; each stressor added a point, and of course the more points added up, the more likely you’re looking at adverse health effects up to and including heart attacks and cancer. One of the factors you are supposed to give yourself a point for was “having left your job for new emploment within the past year.” Uh-oh. One can only imagine what adverse health effects might result from five job changes in one year. My life span should be fairly reduced.
But I enjoy the changes. I look to them to grow as a person and as a professional.
There is absolutely something to be said for developing a career early, and maintaining it and having a stable income and lifestyle as the result of a stable career. I admire those who succeed in this. I admire, also, those who take risks on new career experiences that may or may not go anywhere in terms of career, but that always lead to enrichment in their lives. Myself included.
I’ve never fully agreed with the concept “have no regrets.” If we never acknowledged regret, we would not at times have the initiative needed to improve ourselves. Given that there are many things I wish I were authorized to do already (working independently in counseling), authorized to do that I will never be authorized to do (surgery or research as a MD), authorized to do that I might seek credentialing in (involvement in neuroscience), I do have some regret. I find that I’m able to quickly move past it, though, and appreciate the decisions I have made and where they have led me now, at a time in my life when I feel more able to understand myself and others, and therefore apply skills that I do possess–after years of mindful honing, working out the shape they need for effectiveness–to be of benefit to others. I’m able to find contenment and excitement in returning to school for licensure as a clinical counselor, and in working toward certification in meditation and yoga. I’m able to be appreciative of the freedom this world gives us to find our dreams at our own paces, our personal rates of understanding, want, and need.
There are so many experiences in this world, and we are all entitled to follow whatever path or paths bring us where we want and need to be. There is nothing quite as nice as doing something with your life that brings you meaning and happiness in way that fits you, and opens your heart to the amazing presence of your life.