Lost in the Sauce

Those of you with a military background are familiar with the meaning of the title of this article: a definite lack of situational awareness caused by ignorance or incompetence. It’s used to describe a service member who simply doesn’t seem to grasp even the most basic concepts behind whatever it is the unit is supposed to be doing. They are a constant source of frustration for not only the leadership, but also their fellow service members, primarily because they usually end up causing more harm than good in their attempts to keep up with the rest of the unit. It is a term you never want to be applied to you.

Personally, I have felt “lost in the sauce” for quite a long time now. Ever since leaving military service I’ve basically drifted from thing to thing, job to job, never really finding anything that grabs my attention or motivates me to pursue anything meaningful. My natural ability to learn things quickly and my penchant for wanting to quickly get things done so I can go back to being lazy has allowed me to put on the face of being competent, but the reality is that I just don’t care enough about most of the things I’ve done over the last ten years to look back on any of it and think that I was good at anything I did.

The only real opportunity I had that I truly put any kind of serious effort into was pilot training. I certainly wasn’t an amazing pilot or anything, but I was definitely competent enough that I could have made a career out of it, and I was excited enough by the possibility to actually try very hard to learn what I needed to learn and perform to the best of my ability to meet the requirements of the program. For the half a year or so I was able to participate in that flight training program, I finally felt like I was doing something worth doing. Unfortunately, as always seems to happen, life got in the way and I was forced to abandon it.

Ever since then I’ve been struggling to find something that feels like it’s worthy putting real effort into. Office jobs haven’t really grabbed my attention, as you probably already figured. It’s difficult to get excited about sitting at a desk all day doing inane paperwork that doesn’t really mean anything, or sitting in meetings that have nothing to do with the work you actually do simply because it’s convenient for the boss to have you taking minutes because you happen to type at 90+ words per minute. It’s hard to feel useful when one of your primary functions is as a recording device.

Perhaps the least dissatisfied I’ve been when it comes to work is in the last few months doing rideshare full time. The pay really sucks, but I have no boss and what I’m doing has a direct, highly visible end result. I move people from where they are to where they need to be. I won’t say it’s super rewarding or anything, but it’s far better than the mind numbing tasks I was doing before. It’s certainly hard to be making less than half of what I was making before, but I learned a long time ago that money isn’t really all that important to me as long as I’m able to sustain a reasonable standard of living.

Still, rideshare isn’t really a sustainable career in the long term, and I can’t just sit around relying on it as a source of income. Although I like it better than most of what I’ve done the past decade, I really need to come up with something I can do that will use the skillsets I’ve developed over the course of my life and convert them into something that makes money. The last several months have taught me that I’m far happier as a person when I’m not an employee, and I really need to find something I can do that takes me down the path of entrepreneurship.

Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially when you’ve never really had to think that way before. As a Marine, I was boxed into a rigid set of rules that I wasn’t allowed to work outside of. Ten years of living in that environment has seriously deteriorating effects on your ability to be creative. Another ten years of sticking to that mindset definitely didn’t help, and I feel like I’m stuck in this place where I want to strike out on my own…but I have no idea in which direction I should go.

I’ve tried a few things over the years, like writing the first novel of a fantasy trilogy I’ve had in mind for a while, starting this blog and the corresponding YouTube channel, learning a bit of web development, and other such similar things. None of it ever really went anywhere though, and while I’m sure some of it is just a lack of effort on my part, I believe that most of it is simply that I don’t understand how to break into anything in an effective enough way to get the kind of attention I need. Maybe it’s a lack of confidence?

The honest truth is that while I am still actively looking for a job and will accept one if an acceptable opportunity presents itself, the idea of going back to work for someone else and helping them build up their dream just doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest. I can’t get motivated to put the effort into someone else’s wealth, satisfied with the scraps I get offered while they always seem to expect me to put in the same level of effort that they do while not having the opportunity to see any of the true profit potential. At the same time, I struggle with the risks associated with going all in on something; with putting up the kind of money required to have a serious chance at making any of my endeavors work out…and as any successful entrepreneur will tell you, no risk equals no reward.

It’s one thing to have a technical knowledge of what is required to be successful in the world, and quite another to have the courage to actually execute those principles. Part of my problem is simply that I don’t know what the hell I actually want to do, knowing only that I want to do something that doesn’t anchor me (or my family) to any specific location and allows me to travel full time while I do it. That’s probably the thing that limits me the most…my incessant desire to live the vagabond lifestyle. It’s hard to do that and make money at the same time.

So I remain “lost in the sauce”, struggling to come up with something that meets the rather specific checklist of things that will meet my expectations. A lack of courage to take risks combined with a strong desire to do something that doesn’t tether me to a specific location makes it all the harder to come up with something to go after. I still have a small bit of hope that I’ll think of something that’s actually viable, but until then I suppose I might as well get comfortable in the marinade.

Such is life.

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