Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Real Jobs Series

Since I began looking for a job last July (and probably for quite a long time before that), not a day has passed that I haven't thought about what I want to do to earn money in my life.

I know I'm supposed to say, "what I want to do for a career," but the truth it it's about the moolah.  Sure, in the most perfect of perfect worlds, I want the activities I choose because they speak to my soul to be the same activities that someone wants to pay me to do, but I've become a bit wary of that fantasy.  Ultimately, what I'm coming to grips with is the fact that I am going to spend quite a lot of the remaining hours of my life engaged in activities I do mostly because I get money in exchange for doing those activities which I then exchange for things I need to stay alive.  I can work with that reality.  I have quite a lot of faith that many of those hours spent exchanging my time for money are going to be enjoyable and rewarding and relationship-building and all those good things that create a quality life.  Truthfully, part of my middle-class worldview is that work is, unto itself, a good thing, so I don't intend to cast a negative shadow on this reality that most of us share.  However, knowing I have a limited number of hours left in my life, I don't want to waste any of them.  I want to get the most bang for those hours, to be smart about what it is I'm willing to exchange those hours for.

As I've waded into this full-time-worker world, I've been shocked at how isolating it is.  We don't talk about the nitty gritty of what we do day to day and we certainly don't talk about how we're rewarded for it, whether that be financial reward or something other, and I think that lack of talking closes us off from a comprehensive understanding of what's out there, which in turn makes it very difficult to make informed choices about what we can really do.

I am almost always in favor of being more open, more honest, of talking more about the nitty gritty of our lives, no matter how mundane it might seem.  I am also selfishly and desperately wanting to better understand this work world in the hopes that, as is the theme of my life, we might not each have to independently reinvent the wheel.  Each of us has learned a lesson or found a new question or something that another person can benefit from knowing; let's share.

I've been thinking for quite awhile about compiling a series about work lives.  So this is it.  I'm putting the call out.  I will, of course, write my own, short though my history may be.  But truly. These are our lives.  If we're going to spend such a hefty chunk of them working, why not do it up right, or at least explore how we can do it better?  I think connecting with and learning from others is a critical part of that journey.

That said, if you're willing to tell us about your work (And please don't self-censor.  I want to hear from those who aren't sure they're in the right place just as much as I want to hear from those who feel they've struck gold.), please leave a comment or e-mail me at  I'll e-mail you some questions for guidance, then when it's all set and ready to go, I'll share your story here.

Please take the leap.  I think this could be a very good thing.


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