Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Does anybody know what they want to be when they grow up?

Some recent conversations with friends have prompted me to wonder how many people truly love what they do. Not like, not manage, not deal with, but are truly passionate about the work they do and look forward to going to work most days. I like my job just fine and I learn a lot, but I can’t truthfully say it’s my life’s passion.

Life wasn’t supposed to be like this. Growing up, our parents, teachers and Sesame Street told us we could be whatever we wanted when we grew up. How many of you knew exactly what you wanted to be when you grew up? If you were like me, you always had a clear idea. It might have changed as often the weather, but if someone asked you, you knew you wanted to be a chef, or a dancer, or a nurse or whatever.  Where did that confidence go? Is it lost in the responsibility of needing to pay bills and keep a roof over our heads? Is our imagination and passion slowly being whittled down by the pressures of being an adult? It’s sad to me. I was always sure that I would never be one of those people who just tolerated their job because it paid the bills. I would be one of the ones leaping out of bed in the morning, eager to get to work and make a contribution to my chosen field. I don’t mind my work; it’s fine and given this economic climate, I’m grateful I have a job.  But I have to wonder on when I comprised on finding true happiness in my job. Maybe it’s just part of growing up.

Fortunately, I’m young yet and we live in an era where it’s expected that people make multiple career jumps. I have a great education and I’m gaining good skills that could be useful in almost any field. I have no plans on leaving my current job; like I said, I like it just fine. But I’m still hopeful that one day I’ll find a job that I’m truly passionate about, whatever that might be. In the meantime, I think I’ll go back to daydreaming and imagining my ideal job. That way, when it comes along, I’ll be ready for it.

I’m interested, kind readers, if any of you love your job. Are you doing what you thought you’d be doing when you were younger? If not, what’s your dream job?

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Murphy, I Shake my Fist at You…and Your Dumb Law!

What a week. Let me start by explaining that the end goal is for Darren and I to get down to North Carolina to do our first real dive trip. Unfortunately, the powers that be seem to be trying to conspire against my achieving that goal.

To start with, since we’ve never dove from a boat, we thought it would be a good idea to go out on Sunday and get some experience so we would be a bit more prepared. Makes sense, right? I have a tendency to get seasick so I tried a different kind of anti-seasick medicine the dive shop recommended. They suggested I take one pill the night before and one pill the morning of. I was asleep within 20 minutes of taking the first pill (which is rare for me) and slept for 11 hours. Darren practically had to coax me out of bed with the promise of a cup of coffee. Once I took the second pill I was so doped up I felt like I had been drinking all morning. We got on the boat and to our dive location but I didn’t feel safe diving because I was so out of it. There goes our great plan for getting some experience. Well, I guess I got a different kind of experience, which was useful in its own right. On Monday I called the shop and the owner recommend I get to the doctor ASAP to get a prescription for an anti-seasick patch. By some miracle, I was able to get an appointment for the following morning, but it meant I had to miss about 2.5 hours of work.

Normally, this wouldn’t be a big problem but I had a huge deadline at work this week, in addition to a lot of other projects that seemed to have been dumped on me. One of my clients was applying for a government grant and although I requested the application a week ago, I only received it on Monday afternoon for a Wednesday evening deadline. The log in process alone took me a few hours to get situated and then there were a few more hours of back and forth between myself and the client to get everything squared away. Fortunately, I was able to submit the grant application without any (major) problems by the deadline, but it was a very stressing situation. Now I’ve been trying to pick up the pieces on everything else that had to slide while I was getting that taken care of, and of course, none of these things are simple or straightforward. We’ve also had a few minor catastrophes and we’re short-staffed this week. It’s been fun.

On the home-front, I’m operating solo this week. A relative of Darren’s is ill and in the hospital in Upstate NY, so he’s been up there for a few days visiting and supporting the rest of the family. Of course I don’t begrudge him of this but when we were planning on getting ready for the trip together and all of a sudden it’s up to me to get everything ready, it throws previously made plans into a bit of a tailspin. If it was just the trip, it wouldn’t be a huge deal, but starting the day we get back we’ll be having various houseguests for the next 3 weeks, which means I have to get the house in guest-ready shape. And it’s been anything but guest-ready for the past several weeks. I know they probably wouldn’t care much walking into a bit of a mess but I do. And while I said I don’t begrudge Darren for being with family at this time, I think I can legitimately begrudge him for not doing laundry for the past 3 weeks, which means I’ve spent most of my nights doing laundry so he has something to wear in NC. Alas.

Add all this to a few other things I was hoping to take care of this week and I’m coming out to be one stressed chica. Of course one aspect of my life can’t be crazy while the others are calm. If work was lighter, I could take a lunch break and run out and take care of some of the errands I need to do when I get home, and taking time off to go to the doctor wouldn’t have been a big deal. No, no. Murphy had other plans. Stupid Murphy. Ah well. Everything will get done because there’s no option for them not to get done, and I’m sure it will all be worth it. Hopefully by next time this week I’ll be wistfully remembering my vacation of sharks and shipwrecks. I just have to get there first.

I’m stealing Christine’s tactic of adding an apropos music selection at the end of the post…..I forgot how weird this video was.

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Spring has Pounced

I have a unique view of Spring. It is a beautiful time of year. Spring bulbs and early flowering trees are blooming, birds are chirping, and me and others in my industry are working like crazy people. When you do 70% of all your business for the year in two to three months, hectic is putting it mildly. This year is a little worse than usual for me since I’m still getting in to the swing of my new job and properly honing my time management in it. As of tonight (Wednesday) I’ve worked 36 hours. Tonight being the worst.  To say I’m tired is putting it mildly. It reminds me of one my favorite Buffy Quotes from the finale of Season 3 – Graduation Day Part 2:

Giles: Are you all right?
Buffy:I’m tired.
Giles: I should imagine so. It’s been quite a couple of days.
Buffy: I haven’t processed everything yet. My brain isn’t really functioning on the higher levels. It’s pretty much: fire bad; tree pretty.
Giles: Understandable. Well, when it’s working again congratulate it on a good campaign. You did very well.

Buffy: Thank you. I will.
Giles: I ah- I managed to ferret this out of the wreckage. Now, it may not interest you, but- (reaches into his jacket and pulls out a high school diploma) I’d say you earned it. (looking around) There is a certain dramatic irony that’s attached to all this. A Synchronicity that borders on- on predestination, one might say.
Buffy: Fire bad; tree pretty.

Two more days to get through and I can relax for the weekend. Well clean, do laundry, and restock the groceries that I currently don’t have. So along the lines of “Fire bad; tree pretty” I can’t form thoughts much past “Tree pretty. Oh please get me to Friday afternoon.” Enjoy the rest of your week folks. I’ll leave you with one of the many songs that runs through my head this time of year.

Announcement: The week of April 25, Our View From Here will be holding its first virtual book club!  We will all be reading, and commenting on, the book Water for Elephantsby Sara Gruen.  Read along with us!- If in these crazy hours I’m working I can still fit in a relaxing book so can you!
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Balancing Act

My job doesn’t require that I give my whole life over, unless it does.

Confused?

When I’m home, I have a 9 to 5 job.  I don’t generally arrive to work early, and I don’t generally stay late.  Of course, there are times when I’m busy or otherwise engaged at work, and in those cases, I will happily stay to complete my work or go in early to get something done.  But, I try not to make a habit of it.

I take all of my vacation days and when I’m on vacation, I am emphatically not at work. I don’t check in or check email.  As far as I’m concerned, I’m not an employee when I’m on vacation.  Ok, there were a few times, something was going on and I checked in online, called the office, and tried to sort something out.  But again, I don’t make a habit of it.

Of course, when I’m traveling abroad, I’m working 24 hours a day.

I owe my organization and my colleagues (both at home and abroad) diligent and thorough work.  I take every opportunity to take every meeting (I visited a jail last year to meet with inmates), to speak to as many people as possible, attend as many events as possible.  I stay up late or get up early for conference calls.  I work over breakfast, over lunch and during dinner.

That’s not to say that I’m logged in, communicating with my bosses or even necessarily thinking about my job every minute of every day. But I am representing my organization, my colleagues, my field and my country every second.  And I do keep that in mind with everything I do.  When I talk to taxi drivers, order food, check into my hotel room, meet with colleagues, or get a drink at a bar at the end of the day, I am aware that what I do, what I say, and how I act sends a message to everyone around me.  It can be exhausting, but I am a guest in someone else’s country, and I owe them my thoughtfulness, positive attitude and no small amount of grace.  I try all the food put in front of me (ate turtle last year in Cambodia), I remember my pleases and thank yous (all down to mom and dad), and I start every interaction with a smile (especially helpful at customs and passport checks).

So many people who work in my field tend to forget this: As a visitor in another country, you’re not just working when you’re working.

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“They call me mellow yellow…”

We’re supposed to be talking about stress this week – how we manage it, how we experience it, etc. Since high school, I’ve been very active in a number of activities – school, theater, band, volunteering, traveling, work, hobbies. I’m usually doing something. With a schedule like mine, I’m no stranger to stress.

BUT…

I had a bunch of friends over this weekend for a little winter soiree. My house is all sparkly clean, I ate lots of good food, have a plethora of baked goods in the house, and saw some of my most favorite people in the world. Sunday, after everyone went home, I did nothing but watch movies. It was a good weekend. Today, I had a good day at work, did my Pilates, ate some dinner, and saw pictures of my husband’s cousin’s brand new baby. I am about to go have some wine and pie. Tomorrow, or I guess today as you read this, I’m working from home. I am incredibly, super, totally and completely mellow.

I tried to write about stress. I was thinking I’d talk about how I deal with stress, which I like to think I do fairly well. I started this post several times. I tried composing it on my way home from work, but all I succeeded in doing was boring myself.

So, rather than boring you (any further?) I’m going to quit while I’m ahead. Though to try to bring in some kind of poignant observation or thought of greater significance, I guess I could argue I have discovered the key to managing stress – good friends, good food, being productive at work, exercise, baby pictures and wine. And pie. I think pie is key.

Image from Google images

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