I think I chose the wrong profession.
Back in high-school, for some reason, surveying seemed like an interesting field to pursue. I liked being outdoors, enjoyed "making maps", and am generally detail oriented. So, I end up enrolling in SUNY Alfred's two-year AAS program, and continue on with their BS program.
I was a C student. I won't lie. Some of it was probably due to me not applying myself, but I believe that most of it was just that I wasn't smart enough to grasp the material. The basic stuff I get. The theory and all that noise. But when it comes to the technical aspects, like least-squares adjustment, what L1/L2 means for GPS, or even legal stuff, I just don't get it. I tried. But it's just not happening.
My first job was as an instrument man. I worked up to party chief after a year, but just couldn't seem to get ahead, no matter how hard I tried. Overtime, weekends, being at the boss's beck and call... doors just weren't opening. So I took a term job at a local particle accelerator, to get a change of scenery.
I liked that job. Lots of government "red tape", but it was enjoyable. The pay was good, and I felt like I was both learning and advancing myself. But, it was a term position, so it ended. :(
I now work for a large multi-state civil engineering firm. I worked in the field in various positions, filling in where I was needed. I didn't like it. I didn't like the hot Virginia summers, the bad weather, my apparent allergic reaction to every insect known to man, and struggling with my debilitating fear of bodies of water, at the humor of my co-workers. After about 2 years, I was offered a drafting position, which doubled as a field crew coordinator, when applicable.
I like drafting. It's the part of surveying that I guess fits me best, if it's surveying at all. But still, when it comes to things like balancing traverses and the like, I'm lost. I always have to look stuff up, and I'm physically connected to my HP-48. After reviewing a practice test for the LSIT that one of my co-workers was taking, I realized that there's simply no way I could pass that test, or be trusted with any kind of certification.
Work is slow here, as I'm sure it is everywhere, so now I fill in where necessary. I-man, party chief, backsight carrier, line-clearer, courthouse researcher, CAD operator, you name it. I do what I can, because it's work. The alternative is... well... in my opinion, not an option. I have bills and hobbies. I have a life outside of work.
But because of this, and the unpleasantness that it's brought, I'm beginning to deal with the realization that I chose the wrong profession. Outside of drafting, I really have no desire to be in this field anymore. I don't enjoy being outside, even on nice days, because I'm rarely able to enjoy what I once did when I started in the field. Budgets are tight, and it's no longer about doing a good job, but doing a cheap job. My position as field crew coordinator has been taken over by someone else from a company we merged with about 2 months ago, and on a daily basis, I feel as though I have little to no guidance in my daily routine. I mean... I'm typing this now, at 2:15, and have nothing to work on, because I'm waiting on them to give me something. And when I am given something to do, it's more often than not, something minuscule and uninteresting. I realize that not everything is fun and fireworks in this job... but I'd like to do something other than edit coordinates or change layers.
Last week, I talked with a local motorcycle shop about the possibility of taking a position there as a sales/service person. I know the pay would be less, but if it's something I enjoy doing, is it really that bad?