I try not to dwell on what might have been had I done something differently in my life. BUT, there is one decision I wonder about and it takes over my brain from time to time. If I had taken the city planning/code enforcement job with the City of Westworth Village (on the west side of Fort Worth) instead of the control room operator job at Quicksilver Resources, where would I be? Quicksilver paid better, a ton better, and it was an obvious choice from a financial standpoint. I was just starting to come out of my dark hole of financial depression - I had been paying my bills in full, and on time, for the first time in MONTHS. I was starting to know what it felt like to be an adult, despite having to borrow my aunt’s car to go to the job interview because mine didn’t have air conditioning. I felt Quicksilver was the responsible choice, and I don’t think I was wrong about that, in the end.
I accepted a job, in the oil & gas industry, and essentially felt I had backed myself into a corner career wise. There are a lot of energy jobs in Texas and nationwide, but I wasn’t learning skills that would make me valuable to many companies. I sat in a control room, a data center with 12 screens, and monitored natural gas production for three years. I finally found a way out and ended up in the environmental department to learn new skills. I started to learn about environmental remediation, permitting, and plenty of other marketable skills but was laid off within about 15 months because the company had failed and filed bankruptcy. I ended up back in a control center, for another failing company, as a contract employee on a non-permanent basis. I jumped at my current role, another environmental job, but have been there for two years and haven’t had many opportunities to learn new things or see any room for advancement. I don’t hate the work, but I don’t love it either. It’s pretty normal, from the sounds of it to feel that way about work. Who knows?
I wonder what I could be doing if I had accepted the planning job, for less money. Would I be happier, more fulfilled? Would I have a solid foundation for a career in city planning? Would I be struggling with my bills the same way I am now, or worse?
Things that wouldn’t have gone away: my habits. I have bad habits when it comes to spending and saving. I don’t think any amount of money, short of six figures, would solve that problem. I feel if I had taken the road through city planning, I’d be below my current and previous pay grades, which were higher, but maybe I’d feel more challenged and have more room for growth? I don’t know, like I said, I try not to waste too much time on the whole concept.
I do know one thing going forward, I’m not going to solely follow the money - unless it’s a LOT of money. I’d like to learn new skills, get into a career that offers room to grow and challenges me along the way. I’d love to work with a city, county, or state government. Only time will tell what happens with my current job, but I know if I don’t make the positive changes it’s going to continue to just be okay enough to stay.
Instead of going over the scenarios and wondering how my life could have been different, I will focus on the HERE AND NOW. I will try to find ways to improve my current life, career path, and mindset. Instead of wasting brain power on the “what if” thoughts, I’m going to harness it into “if this, than that.” I’m not always successful at getting out of my own head, especially when I’m having a bad day, but I have worked hard to be mindful about this topic and I plan to work hard to carve the path I want instead of what I “backed myself into” or “what the industry says I should do.”