Sunday, January 22, 2012

Career Path

Everyone imagines what their life will be like when they are older. I think the habit of doing so is ingrained in us at a young age. How many times did we get asked in school what we wanted to be when we grow up? 

I never really saw myself where I am. I always said I wanted to be a writer in some regard. I wasn't picky, though I really wanted mostly to do a combination of the odd feature article and a lot of fiction and reality based fiction writing. I suppose, if you really thing about it, I'm not that far off. I have written a few published articles, and I blog. I have written two full length novels. I suppose the only difference is that I am not getting paid for writing. I would have loved to have lived off this hobby, but sometimes it just doesn't work that way. While I used to be very frustrated with that, I'm not that upset about it anymore. I understand that a good chunk of it has to do with my own motivation and my own writers block. I also was very lucky and fell into a good and stable career path early.

Career path - not a term you hear often these days. I used to work three jobs at one point. At one of my retail part-time jobs, while talking about my lack of direction in my career path she told me that while it was normal for our parents to stay with the same job for 15, 20, 30 or more years. These days, its not so common and there is nothing at all wrong with that. She was in her mid fifties and had worked about six or seven different jobs in her life. She said the change has always kept her on her toes and kept her focused. I admired her, truly. She was fantastic at finding the positive angle in every situation. And while I'm pretty sure I'll be working with the same company I am with now for a very long time, I do understand the joy that variety can bring. 

Like I mentioned earlier, I at one point worked three jobs at one time. It was trying and I had little to no free time but the variety of work I was doing kept my mind sharp. I became quick to adapt, fast to learn and found creative and interesting ways to balance my life at that time. Skills that I still use today, everyday. 

I don't miss those days. While I learned a lot and was able to pay off some serious debt at that time, I would not recommend anyone work that much. I was exhausted most of the time and had very little free time. When I did bite bullet and go out with my friends, I would then suffer for the rest of the week. When I finally did have a day off, I really just wanted to sleep in late and do nothing at all. It was an exhausting time. Now, I seem to be at work less and less. I work a compressed work week, which means I stay and extra half our at work and get a day and a half off a month. I've signed up to try something my employer offers called Leave with Income Averaging. Basically, I sign up to take a minimum of five weeks off and work will average out my salary so I get a pay cheque doing those weeks off. On top of that, I'm still entitled to my three weeks of vacation time. 

I was over the moon the day my first term contract came through with my current job. I could quit all three jobs I was working at as my salary at the new one would be comparable to what I was making working three different places. And I would finally have regular days off - every week. What a concept. Now, I couldn't imagine life any other way. How did I deal with working 10 days in a row? How on earth did I work eight hours at one job and go right to the other and work another four or five? 

I try to think that I worked hard and deserve the break, that I wasn't just 'lucky' when I landed this job, but that it was karma's way of paying me back for all the stupid work I was doing all that time. I know that if my position ever ended that I would work three jobs again if I had to to make ends meet and I would do it with as much strength and dignity as I could. We all do what we have to in order to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. I don't ever want our son to feel that we can't do something because we are unable to afford it. I don't want him to be excluded from the simple things in life because we can't make ends met enough to budge for it.  It's my goal for him to understand that while he won't always get what he wants, I will always make sure he gets what he needs. That is my job now and I take it on will full vigor.

1 comment:

The Rain said...

I admire your aptitude. I find it hard to even keep one job. Your post has given me a huge amount of perspective. Thank you! --Kai.