Fear of commitment. What to do?

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theanimal
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Fear of commitment. What to do?

Post by theanimal » Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:37 am

For the past few years I've largely been operating under the same cycle. I come up with an idea of something I want to do, am excited with it for about 3 weeks until I drop it..having come up with another idea that is surely better. The cycle goes on and on, often with the same ideas recycled over again. I never end up committing to any of these ideas largely due to what I (as well as others..) attribute as fear. I cant name exactly what I'm afraid of, maybe that I wont like whatever I end up with or that I'm forgoing some grand treasure. Meanwhile I am not content in my current state of seasonal work where a large amount of uncertainty arises in acquiring a source of income and long periods without meaningful work. My situation is fragile.

I know I have to commit to something. I want to obtain a skillset in demand, work with others and make more than the poverty line each year.

How do I go about choosing what to do? Any advice is kindly appreciated.

NPV
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Re: Fear of commitment. What to do?

Post by NPV » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:43 am

You don't have to commit to anything in perpetuity. But you do need to just start doing stuff. For me this became most clear through two interconnected (and obvious) facts:

1. If you don't actually take actions to test and implement the idea, there is no result from it
2. If you don't actually take actions to test and implement the idea, you don't know whether it will work and what outcome it might bring. Present value of your idea is p(success) * payoff in case of success less p(failure) * [cost of failure]. 3 out of 4 variables in this equation are highly uncertain until you start throwing stuff at a wall and see if it sticks (Bayesian statistics)

TL:DR: If you don't take action, you don't get results. Therefore ???

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BRUTE
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Re: Fear of commitment. What to do?

Post by BRUTE » Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:45 am

in face of uncertainty (of what to do), trying out many things might just be the best strategy. maybe theanimal will find something he enjoys mid to long term. and nothing lasts forever - brute very frequently loses interest in things, and it seems perfectly natural to him.

IlliniDave
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Re: Fear of commitment. What to do?

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:28 am

To second what NPV said, a commitment can be viewed as a medium-term proposition rather than a forever thing. There is some danger of over-investing in a commitment, the archetypal example being some variant on letting your lifestyle creep up to a little more than your income can afford and psyching yourself into thinking you are trapped because you need the money to keep the house of cards from falling.

Then to paraphrase a Zen Master whose name I've forgotten: when looking for your place in the world look high and low and horizon-to-horizon, and where you find yourself, that is where you are meant to be.

Another approach is to look again at your goals. You want to possess an in-demand skillset, work with others, and make a decent amount of money. Those are pretty vague and apply to an extremely broad range of occupational options. You could try making them a bit more personal and specific.

Maybe a good first step is to take a plunge and do something on the employment front during the next off season. You can even let it be the first thing you find. Worst case you'll come to the end of the off season with a little more money in your pocket and some clear, evidence-based ideas of what you don't want to do in the future. Best case you make a valuable social contact or two and maybe have some better ideas what you do want to do. Alternately, if you can swing it financially and it's appropriate for the types of skills you might want to develop, try to get enrolled in a community college/trade school for at least the spring semester. Just getting a sense of forward motion even if you don't have specific destination might be helpful.

suomalainen
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Re: Fear of commitment. What to do?

Post by suomalainen » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:50 am

I second the above - pick something that seems like you might like it and try it out. No need to "commit" to anything more than that. If what you're considering requires more "commitment" in the sense of "investment" (like the time and money of schooling), then perhaps that might be more financially and psychologically demanding. Could you be more specific about the options you have considered / are considering?
theanimal wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:37 am
I cant name exactly what I'm afraid of, maybe that I wont like whatever I end up with or that I'm forgoing some grand treasure.
As to the other end of the psychological question, is this FOMO? Choosing an option does require foreclosing other options, at least temporarily, but it's important to remember that no external situation (job) that you choose will bring you happiness. There's no magic. If you're not content (with your life), commit to being content (with it). Maybe that requires an external change, maybe not. Choose contentment. External factors are mostly secondary once basic needs are met and if there's one thing you know from ERE, it doesn't take much money to meet your basic needs. Maybe you already have all the tools you need to be happy, so you don't need to put so much stock in this one decision. It's just a decision and one that can be easily changed if the first one isn't the right, or perhaps more accurately WHEN the first one turns out to have run its course and you're ready for the next one you can just move on to the next one without regret.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Fear of commitment. What to do?

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:32 am

I agree with all of the above.

You have a interesting life you have chosen for yourself, and I don't think you really want to change it. I think you have been very efficient with your money, and lifestyle design, and this leaves you with a surplus of time, and no great surplus of security.

So I suggest you address this with keeping the best of what you have in mind. If I remember correctly, you are just north of Fairbanks in a tiny community, doing guide work. So look around at everyone in your community, and look at their sources of income, what they do for money, and to avoid spending money. See all the existing ways goods and services are provided. Don't do any of that. You are in a tiny community, and to paraphrase Guido the Pimp, don't fcuk with another man's livelihood. (If you were in a city I would give different advice.)

But look at what they are not doing. What ways could you do things differently? How does everything get to where you are? Could you do some of that, without stepping on toes? You are a guide. Is there room to expand that role? If you were close to Seattle, I would ask if you wanted to guide hipsters on their big Journey into the Woods to go berry or mushroom picking, but you are too far out for that. Maybe you could team up with a hunting guide service to provide guided tours for spouses. I know many hunters who want to go out on the expensive guided hunt, but can't justify the cost to their spouses. The justification gets easier if they are both going, and each gets to do as they like. So maybe teaming up with other guides to more efficiently tap the market?

Whatever it is, I would think of small, incremental changes that allow the freedom of choice you are used to, and don't take more commitment than you are comfortable with. Maybe it will take 10 years to develop 10 other sidelines to get the antifragility you are looking for, but each step is a potential improvement, without risking what you already have.

Good luck.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Fear of commitment. What to do?

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:29 pm

How much commitment will your ideas take? As in, are you thinking of doing something slightly different where you already are, or are you talking about a radical change like moving to Florida and enrolling in med school (to make up an example)? This information might allow people to give more specific advice.

Unfortunately I am terrible at committing to anything so I can't help much. The only advice I will give is to recommend that once you make a decision go full steam in that direction. Don't wait for the perfect opportunity or your window may close. I speak from experience.

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theanimal
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Re: Fear of commitment. What to do?

Post by theanimal » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:01 pm

Thanks for all the replies.

I have no desire to leave Alaska. I'm mostly in Fairbanks now and don't find it the most ideal but it's the best option for now. For the past few months I've been working in forestry doing field work. I enjoy it for the most part and it pays well. For ~4 months work I made roughly $20k. The job is seasonal but a long term project and I am informally guaranteed employment for the coming years. I have a huge surplus of time in the winter that I don't know what to do with. I could find something that aligns with this or a year round job and replace both. I think ideally I'd have a string of varied income streams.

The ideas I've had often require a larger commitment than just taking and trying out a job. Ideas like becoming an electrician, joining the military, doing grad school.. all requiring quite a bit ofcommitment. I do have some business ideas as well that could mesh well.

Out of time to add more. I'll write more later

trailblazer
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Re: Fear of commitment. What to do?

Post by trailblazer » Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:57 pm

I think you need to put yourself in a situation where many people can be exposed to your unique combination of strengths and weaknesses. Could be the military, some random job for an oil company, or whatever. The point is that I suspect you have a lot to offer - based on your adventures to date - but you need to have a variety of people see you in action as you do not fit a pre-fabricated mold. This exposure plus your own natural sense of adventure will quickly funnel you in a good direction. No shame in having the first step be a fairly “normal” job.

NPV
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Re: Fear of commitment. What to do?

Post by NPV » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:32 pm

theanimal wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:01 pm
Ideas like becoming an electrician, joining the military, doing grad school.. all requiring quite a bit of commitment
If that is the barrier (ideas requiring more commitment than you are willing to give), one strategy to overcome it could be to devise ways to test them in very 80/20 (Pareto) ways. It won't give you 100% of value of testing it fully, but you will be able to test if it works for you at a much lower cost of time, money and lost optionality. Then you can make your decision on whether to commit fully or not with much better information on whether it works for you. E.g.:
becoming an electrician -> working as an electrician's apprentice for a few months?
doing grad school -> taking a few courses on Coursera / Udacity etc. in your field of interest?
joining the military - this might be harder to try part time, but perhaps some tough bootcamp for a few weeks as a very light version and a reserves / national guard thing as a half way approach?

BMF1102
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Re: Fear of commitment. What to do?

Post by BMF1102 » Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:56 pm

theanimal wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:37 am
I want to obtain a skillset in demand, work with others and make more than the poverty line each year.
If your not looking to make a big commitment right off the bat, I would suggest reaching out to local Union halls Electricians, Plumbers/Fitters, Sheetmetal, Millwrights, Carpenters, Ironworkers, Pipeliners. Or if you know any trade union members question them about their trade and whether there are oppourtunities for a non union person to try it? Many trades have "pre-apprentice" programs or may hire non union people for larger short term jobs. Might be a way to see if anything sparks your interest. Trade Unions lend themselves well to seasonal work and are generally paid pretty well.

CS
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Re: Fear of commitment. What to do?

Post by CS » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:16 pm

Another way to think about it is that you can always change your mind. I mean, you talk about years having passed already. In two years you could try some of these ideas more fully, and then if not your thing, then poof, change your mind!

The years will go by no matter what. You are not going to be judged on how perfectly you make your moves.

There is no way to predict exactly what will work out. You'll cover more ground if you're willing to fail, and fail often. My advice is to make a guess of what you think is best knowing what you know now and go for it - and remind yourself it is not indentured servitude. You can always leave.

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theanimal
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Re: Fear of commitment. What to do?

Post by theanimal » Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:28 pm

I got accepted into Lambda School's full stack web developer program. I accepted their offer. Short term me wants to run around the woods and learn other things for those 6 months. Long term me thinks this is another arrow to add to my quiver and is a no lose opportunity. As CS said, the years are going to go by bo matter what so it's time for me to get busy learning if I want to live out the life I think is best.

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: Fear of commitment. What to do?

Post by Kriegsspiel » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:44 pm

I'm guessing there is a lot of survey work available up there in Alaska. You could ask around and get hired on as a poleman, learn how to work the gun/Trimble unit, CAD, become a crew chief, etc. Even if not in Alaska, surveyors are pretty in demand all over the place, maybe you relocate for a bit to learn some skills, then get your license in Alaska, buy some equipment, and start your own surveying business and go traipse around in the woods all the time.

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