Career goals – or lack thereof.

I sometimes dread working on my resume.  I have been goofing off the ENTIRE summer, because I know it’s my very last one I’m going to have off.  I’ve been having a blast getting out in the world a bit.

I took the girls to a few fun places in the past few weeks – to my favorite arboretum, to a suburban town’s riverwalk, and to a really cool wolf sanctuary.  And I’ve been to the local community theaters around here.  I saw the musical play Company, based on a book by George Furth; The Nightmare Room, an intense, thrilling, two-woman play, based on a story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Romeo and Juliet (a modern, Japanese Manga-style interpretation of it); Sordid Lives, a comedy about family dysfunction by Del Shores, and Hamlet, a wonderful, emotionally gripping play directed by that new storytelling friend I met a while back (and you can read a wonderful review of my friend’s play by The Manaical Rant of a Community College Professor if you are so inclined).  Turns out my new friend is also a veRy talented actor and a fantastic director in local theater (and lived 9 houses away from me in our childhoods).  I loved his brilliant take on Hamlet so much that I’d seen it 3 times – once with my oldest daughter, once with my husband, and once by myself, because my friend stepped in as Guildenstern the closing weekend.  I was really lucky enough to have been invited by one of my newer actor friends who played Laertes to stay for the cast party on closing night.

[Yes, THAT’s what I’ve been doing instead of blogging.  Apparently, there’s a whole world out there beyond my computer screen, who knew? But I promise, I’ll share pictures as soon as I can.]

But now…as the summer is winding down, I have to get my act together.  Husband and I are in dialogue about the possibility of splitting up.  I thought we could make an open marriage work, but it’s not looking that way.  I’m not terribly jealous of the woman he’d been seeing since I found out about the affair (though I’d been angry a time or two about it).  He’s jealous of my time out living my life and having fun.  It dawned on me how there were times when it was okay for him to be out til 2 am drinking (which he had done so NUMEROUS times in our marriage) but not okay for me to come home at 2:30 one time because I stayed after the play to attend the cast party.   I really don’t like the double standard going on.

At any rate, I’ve made the decision that I need to support myself and my daughters, so that we can make the changes we need to make that might lead to more fulfilling lives.

But I’m looking at my resume with some amount of frustration.

Here is my “summary of qualifications”.

  • 12 years of clinical laboratory experience in nationally-accredited laboratories with specialized training in microbiological assays and molecular DNA analysis for forensic DNA identification and medical genetics diagnostic testing.
  • 12 years active participation in and supervision of QA/QC and lab safety programs including laboratory auditing/inspecting, accreditation preparation, proficiency testing programs, new instrument and new test method validation, instrument maintenance and quality control checks with appropriate documentation, documentation control and training in GLPs and aseptic techniques.
  • 5 years of laboratory management in medical genetics, including supervising and training staff, managing laboratory functions, reviewing laboratory documentation, monitoring turnaround times and purchasing consumables.
  • Proven track record: promoted from individual microbiology laboratory QA/QC supervising technician to corporate HQ Quality Assurance department to assist with a nation-wide microbiology laboratory QA/QC program; promoted from Forensic Scientist Trainee through Forensic Scientist III in 4 years.  Promoted from senior laboratory technologist to acting laboratory manager in medical genetics laboratory.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?  But it’s BS.

I mean, it would be pretty cool if ALL this stuff wasn’t 10+ years out of date.

I’m a substitute teacher now. And a very good teacher when I do step into the classroom.  I have ONE little bit about the teaching experience:

Substitute Teacher (certified for preschool-12th grade)

  • Taught educational lesson plans as outlined by the regular classroom teacher
  • Employed appropriate instructional methods and gave additional instruction or assistance as needed, adjusted for individual learning differences of the student.
  • Created a positive and safe learning environment while adhering to policies, rules and procedures for classroom management
  • Other duties as needed

I’m updating my resume and looking at all this amazing body of work I’ve done that’s 10+ years out of date and not feeling connected to the label anymore or all the experience I’ve accumulated. Take for instance, the idea that I was qualified as a expert in forensic DNA analysis 25 times when I had to testify on court cases. Even with a 15 year hiatus from forensics (I went into medical genetics after that), I could probably back up to speed in about a week, if I had to.

The point is, no, I don’t identify as a scientist anymore, and am not drawn to that. I have an allergy to the idea of going to work in a laboratory again.  But it’s GOOD money.  But I’m no longer qualified.  But it’s steady work.  But I’m no longer qualified.  But they have decent benefits.  But I’m no longer qualified.  Get my drift?

Aside from being a stay at home mother, and a substitute teacher (k-12),

I am an amateur writer, poet, mixed media artist and photographer. Even though I had, for a while, a pretty awesome science blog where I posted the experiments my daughters and I have done when they were younger, I have completely shifted my perspective from analysis to synthesis.

I’d say I’m a creative now. And I think I always was one, too, but that part of me had been largely eclipsed when I was active in the biotech field. So, getting back to the resume thing. I’m staring at my resume with this wealth of biotech experience that’s pretty much useless for being more than a decade (A DECADE!) out of date (said 2 recruiters I spoke with about two years ago), and the small snippet about being a substitute teacher. And I’m thinking, holy moly – what kind of job could I possibly aim for now that I’m not qualified or INTERESTED in to picking up a pipette anymore or becoming a lab rat extradinaire again?

Interestingly enough, “lab rat extraordinaire” made me think of another post I wrote a while back.  So I looked it up on this blog.  I wanted to share something interesting I just read.

Reprinted from November 25, 2008 blog journal entry:


I really should probably listen to my former self.

I came across this email I wrote to a colleague/mentor/friend of mine when I was working in forensics. It was dated 11/9/99. I was 29 years old, married for 1.5 years, without children. I’m 38 [44 now], still married, with three children, and a stay-at-home mom after 12 years in the field of biotechnology.

A year after I originally wrote this email, I quit forensics to work in medical genetics for 3.5 years. I also had 2 kids in 2.5 years before I quit to be a SAHM. That was in 2004. After being home for 4.5 years, I’ve had varying degrees of restlessness and now it’s time to do something about that. It’s not a job that I necessarily need at this moment in time, but I have a need to learn and express my thoughts and share my knowledge.  That really makes me thrive.

It’s time to start paying attention to my former self. She had a burning desire to learn, to explore new ideas, to dialogue with others and enrich her own experience of the world.

So, here is the email:

Dear D –

Well, here I am again, lab rat extraordinaire. I wonder why I’m still here. This is not the healthiest career I can think of. I am beginning to think that this is all my life will be. An endless stretch of writing labels on microfuge tubes and taking notes and making freakin’ dilutions. First you pick it up, then you put it in, bump, bump, bump (that’s from a Disney cartoon).

I wonder where my mind has gone. Where is all the curiosity I once had and the love of learning something new. I can’t tell, but I think I hate biology now. Of course, I’m really tired, too, so maybe I’m feeling the effects of that. But I really do feel my brain cells are sapped of all their knowledge. Okay, not all, just the science stuff. I can still handle basic bodily functions.

I have a few questions to ask you.

Of all the things you once wished you could accomplish in your lifetime, how many of them have you actually accomplished?

I always wanted to be a writer. Except that I never had the firm belief that anyone would read what I had to say. Or that whatever I did have to say has already been said a million times over. Isn’t that the saddest thing you’ve heard of in the last five minutes?

What would you say is your best God-given gifts, talents, whatever you want to call them?

Can you say you have developed them to their fullest potential? Would you want to?

Being married is kind of distracting to the endeavors of the mind and soul, isn’t it? I think you know what I mean. If you didn’t have anyone else to support or have to upkeep the house that much or run around, just think of all the things you could do just for the pure joy of it.

I think you and I should attempt to get back to that place within us that is creative and imaginative and soulful. In the poisoning society that we have to live in, I believe we should make a point of it. Think of some ideas that we could do to actually accomplish this.

Like, for instance, even if we can’t get together for whatever reason, we should pick out one piece of art, or one story or one poem, etc, that we can study for a while, then have a brief discussion about it, even via email.

What do you think?

Unfortunately, I don’t have his reply. My esteemed colleague, D, was 17 years older than me and much, much wiser and it would have been nice to see what he said (he may have replied via email and I lost it…or maybe he replied in person.)

But as I sit here reading this email, I realize that I have a different world-view than I had back then. 5 pregnancies, two job changes (still in biology), two miscarriages, three children and 9 years later, I am a bit of a different person than the young woman who wrote the above passage. And yet, I realize, I still have a lot of that young woman still inside me. Perhaps its been lying dormant, but she’s still very much a part of who I am and how I perceive the world.


I stand here, 15 years later, not making much money at the moment, but in a better place emotionally.  I do live a more creative, imaginative, and soulful life.  I have been networking and have more creative people as friends in my life, for which I’m grateful.  I am glad I have my own online home so that I can have discussions about my latest interests.  Some do dialogue with me, some don’t.  But I enjoy the process of writing a lot.  I really enjoy being able to come back to my own earlier thoughts, too, and revisit them with the wisdom I’d gained in the interim.

And…as I move forward in my life, it’s with these thoughts in mind.  I’m out for now.  School supply shopping in a bit.



About Casey

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ ~ Jack Kerouac, On The Road Again
This entry was posted in career, Creating a Life, Creativity, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Career goals – or lack thereof.

  1. scottguffey says:

    I’m so impressed by your ability to self-analyze through writing…even more impressed by the level of self-affirmation you achieve. Congratulations on a summer of epiphany and managing to remove yourself from the computer screen! (I’m about to embark on a week-long computer hiatus…and weirdly, I’m a little scared.) Thanks for including me in your return to blog-writing, and I wish you the best luck for your future ventures…also looking forward to reading about them!

    • Casey says:

      Good luck to you with the blogging fast. It IS kinda scary and quite honestly, I love my writing time. I love it because I love the meditative aspects of it. I’ve missed it so. But at the same time…I’ve loved the new connections I’ve made. I hope to make more.

      Are you doing anything exciting on your time off? How will you fill your days? I hope you go out into the sunshine and breathe deep. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and wonder what adventures are waiting for you. I hope you find a few treasures along the way.

      You know, if you find yourself with nothing to do…if you are as close as I think you are (within an hour and a half drive, I think) and you needed something to do, look up Taltree Arboretum in Valpo, Indiana. I encourage you to visit there, if you have the time. Many of the best photos on this blog come from that place (including the one that’s the wallpaper) I’m using on this blog. It’s where I go for grounding and finding inner peace. I think you’d like it. It’s hard NOT to like the place.

      Thank you for the kind words, Scott. It means a lot that you recognize these things. I have come to know myself and my inner contradictions better through the process of writing. And, I love making sense of my experience of the world and have learned to resolve some of the inner contradictions through the process of writing. It’s good for my meditation and mindfulness practice, too.

      You know, the way I treat this particular blog? It’s a long love letter. Sometimes that love is directed toward a particular idea. Sometimes that love is directed towards a person or persons – out there somewhere in the ether. Sometimes that love is directed towards Nature – my little homage to the world I love so much. But a lot of that love is directed back towards me, too, either directly or indirectly, through my writing. Sound a little weird? Maybe so. But it’s true.

      Have a wonderful walk in the world, where ever you wander.

Would you like to share your thoughts? I'd love to hear them.

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