Should I have turned left at Albuquerque?

Remember the scene in “Groundhog Day” when Bill Murray’s character told the groundhog, “don’t drive angry?” I probably shouldn’t post when I’m annoyed, but I really don’t have much choice.

When I first lost my job, I noticed I was having trouble getting to sleep. Anxiety, I guess. That passed, but the last couple of nights, I’ve been having problems staying asleep. It wasn’t too much of a problem Monday; I woke up bright and early at 7:30, which allowed me to get a good start on a project I’ve been working on.

It’s a problem today. Got home at 10, talked on the phone until 11, tried watching WWE Raw on the DVR (yes, I watch professional wrestling – to me, it’s the perfect reflection of the human condition), got tired and went to bed around midnight. I started tossing and turning around 4 and had to get up at 4:30. Which bites. Hard. I hadn’t done a blog post yet, so I figured I’d at least be able to get that done, so here we are… I’m driving a wildly careening car into a junk yard, being goaded by Bill Murray. It’d be much better if I were back in Punxsutawney with Andie MacDowell. Frankly, it’d be better if I were anywhere with Andie MacDowell. I think it’s her soft southern accent.

Anyway, one of the things vexing me during the job search has been trying to find something in my particular field of endeavor, which hasn’t necessarily been easy. It’s makes you think about the stories over the last few years about auto workers and other out-of-work people being retrained in new careers. There are fewer things tougher to watch than a classroom of blue-collar folks in their 50s tapping away at computer keyboards for the first time… I can’t imagine that any of those people will get tapped for an IT job.

One of the helpful (annoying?) features of the Google search bar on my web browser is the auto-complete. Start to type in a word or phrase, and it will offer you a list of popular options. Type in “recession,” and the first thing on its list is “recession-proof jobs,” which just happened to be what I was looking for.

The first article on the search list is from Forbes.com. Number one on its list? Sales Rep. That one seems paradoxical. Sure, you need to increase sales during tough times – but who wants to buy anything when times are tough?

Software design and development is second. I had at least one boss at an old job who seemed convinced that all information will eventually flow through desktop PCs. Next time you pass someone working in the service industry; filling an order, cooking your lunch or washing your car, ask them how much time they have during the workday to access their desktop. Still, I know computers are a tool whose use will only increase.

And of course, nursing is on the list. It’s always been on those lists. We’re living longer, but less healthy lives and fewer people choose that profession in the first place. I remember doing a story years ago about the nursing shortage and how one of the Memphis hospitals was importing nurses from Australia. A few weeks after doing the story, I was at Oak Court Mall and saw the videographer who shot the story out with the tallest, cutest Aussie nurse. Real operator, that guy.

Anyway, those kinds of lists make me wonder whether I should have made a different choice of career earlier in life… whether, like Bugs Bunny in all those Warners cartoons, I should have turned left at Albuquerque to avoid problems later. Even though I have no particular interest in any of those professions. I think I’ve been lucky to have been able to do something that I not only have some ability in doing, but also enjoy. Yes, I’ve had my share of soul-crushing jobs, but there’s always been the saving grace of being in the field I wanted to be in. Where’s Andie MacDowell when you need her?

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