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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Finding Contentment

I watched a comedy special with Chris Rock a few weeks ago, and in one of the bits, he talks about people who have careers vs. people who have jobs. Funny stuff, and very true. But let's face it--the VAST majority of us have jobs. Even those who claim they have careers very often just kind of "fell" into their careers and would really rather do something else, given the choice.

Dennis Leary had another bit about happiness. He said that happiness comes in small moments. It's a cigarette, a good meal, a great shit, an orgasm. You eat the meal, take a shit, have sex, smoke the cigarette, go to bed and then get up and go to work. Because that's life. Personally, I'd replace the cigarette with a pipe (yes, tobacco...I don't smoke the other), but the point stands.

I don't have a career. I've been chasing one for at least 15 years, but all I've ever had were jobs. I'm not intending to complain because in this day and age, people who have jobs are lucky to have them. There's a lot of people out there who just can't make ends meet and would be glad to have a job of any kind. Most of us never get to have careers, and there's a lot of people out there who are perfectly happy, or at least content, with a job that pays their bills and lets them enjoy the rest of their life.

So why can I never get content or comfortable in a job? And when I do, I always seem to be looking at the other side of the mirror, where the grass always looks greener. I grasp at straws, trying to find the magic button. A Master's degree? Will that do the trick? Maybe. Pittsburgh is a BAD town in which to try and become an information professional.

But then, maybe I should've had the balls to go for it whole hog as a musician when I was 17. They say you're never too old, but let's face it: kids don't want to buy albums by a 35-year-old rock musician unless they've been around since they were 18 or 20. So that particular door is well and truly shut. Because I was too afraid to take the risk.

My writing--in that case it's true, you're never too old. And I think I'm pretty good. But I don't seem to have the schmoozing skills necessary to get big in that arena. Still, we'll see what happens.

Running my own cafe or gaming store. That'd be amazing, and I'd be willing to make the sacrifices to put in the 24/7 effort. But I don't have the capital to get started, and no clue where to get it.

But I'm going on and on here about stuff I've talked about before. The point is, I have a day job, not a career. An administrative assistant is just a more advanced version of a secretary, so there's no reason to expect respect and admiration for what I do. Really, any administrative assistant that thinks their job is anything but a position to support laziness on the part of upper level administrators and management is deluding themselves. "He/she couldn't survive without what I do!" we like to cry, and it's true...but only because he/she is too lazy to do things themselves. I'll put you examples.

One of my bosses often walks past the fax machine to put items on my desk that he needs faxed, and writes hand-written notes explaining that he needs it faxed and where. By the time he does all of this, he could've dropped it in the fax machine.

I had a boss at an old job who used to walk past the mail room to my office to hand me letters to take back to the mail room to drop into the bag.

Another of my bosses at this job used to manage his own calendar with no problems...until he found out he could make me do it.

Don't get me wrong--I am not complaining about any of these things. I am only illustrating that what I do is absolutely NOT necessary, and the minute someone figures that out, administrative assistants will become obsolete.

My day job pays decent. Not fantastic, but together with Julie we're not exactly suffering. Generally (not always, but generally) I get to leave work at work when I come home, and generally (not always, but generally) I get to work 7:30 to 4:00 and then leave. The times when they want me to work outside of that really piss me the fuck off, because it wasn't in the job description, but they are few and far between. One of my bosses is a bit anal and overly-demanding, but whose boss isn't? I work 15-20 minutes from my house, which allows me to actually go home for lunch. I only have 20-30 minutes to scarf food down when I get there, but still. The job is demeaning at times, but not severely so, and I knew that when I first accepted a secretarial job many years ago.

Really, in the end, I don't have it bad here. There is no reason I shouldn't be perfectly content with my position. Yet, I can't seem to accept it. I keep looking for something bigger and better. I dream about getting the Hell out of a job as an administrative assistant. Why am I so concerned about doing something important and/or making some kind of indefinable "mark" on the world? Why can I not just be satisfied with what I have? So what if I'm not rich or important? Most people aren't, and never will be. I'll bet most of them don't spend all day wishing they were.

Blah. I need to find some way to find contentment with where I am, what I have, and what I do. I'm just not sure how to do that.

1 comment:

  1. Before the job I have, I was like you and simply had a "job." I'd say I now have a career. Yes, I fell into it, but I've managed to make it my own and now 9 others are reaping the benefits of my efforts (and some other folks' efforts, too).

    I guess that's just to set up my background for my comments here. *shrug*

    When I had my "job," I loved the fact that it was simply that. I clocked in, I clocked out. I collected a paycheck, and for the most part, I was good with it. Sure, there were the people that I didn't like working with and those that didn't like working with me.

    I came into that job after having a job in management. I loved the fact that I no longer had to worry about responsibilities other than to mine own world.

    Maybe that's what you need to do? Accept that it is only a job and that by having just a "job," you can do anything else in the world that you want to do. Some folks don't have the chance to live their dreams.

    I think you do, because you've got a stable job that allows you some freedom to search out those dreams, those desires, your future career. You get to go back to school and get that next degree. You have time to do research to find a way to start up that business. A chance to crank out word counts on those books that I love to heavily critique during develop and love upon print.

    You'll be okay and I'll have books to read. It's all good.


Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, and Mary Magdalene.

I'm not a mad bible thumper--Sophia, however, is my inspiration and always in my heart