Monday, September 11, 2017

Work Life

Here is a weird thing about myself that is completely true: I'm a job jumper.

This may or may not be a known thing to many people, but since I started being employed I have a habit of switching to a new job in about two years. Mostly because I get bored doing the thing I was doing, sometimes because I have no choice and basically couldn't continue because there was no were left to go. Part of me wants to take credit for being career oriented, but in the beginning it was more the potential to do something new somewhere else.

Perhaps this stems from having been employed in the same work from the age of 8 to 18. Work that I did not really choose, work that I most likely should not have been doing, and work that, for the most part, I did with a certain pride no matter how bad the scars may be. It's difficult to understand how a job can be scaring until you have your father pull you out of bed at three in the morning to yell at you in a full blind rage about the work you didn't do, work someone else was supposed to do. It's hard to imagine what it's like to sit there crying as the yelling continues until your elderly grandmother, who happened to be visiting, gets between him and you and offers to do the work. This is one of a million stories I could tell about my first job. El Diablo Madre was no picnic either, and frankly often worse, but those memories are most days hidden from me. It's for the best.

In college, where I could choose my work, I bounced about every year into something else. Food, finance, until finally settling on the coffee shop which was a nice balance of the two. I liked the simplicity of that and the under-the-table work I did at the bookstore down the street twice a week.

Volunteering in Chicago for money. This is not a living. But it was work the experience.

Then came Korea.

Korea, mind you, did and did not change anything. I still bounced from place to place, though I probably would have stayed in my first job had I not been forced out. Being forced out allowed me to really dig in and decide I wanted a career in the field and, well, then I went and did that. 10 years, 5 jobs later, here I am.

In a job that I applied to during a lunch on a day when I was bored with the work I was doing. In a job that I felt almost certainly I was under-qualified for but figured what the hell. In a job that, for no human reason I can explain, I love almost more than breathing every single day I get to do it.

On Friday I got a note reminding me that I was now, indeed, three years into this job. It was a strange thing to read and be reminded of it. There was a moment of panic where I wondered if I were not doing something wrong that I wasn't even interested in looking for something else. Some days I wake up still wondering when I will be found out to be a fraud, unqualified, unfit to to do this work that defines me as an expert. There is this sense of impending doom once a year that the other shoe will drop and I will find that I'm not going to get to keep doing this after all.

I'm not afraid of change, I've never been afraid to change jobs. Perhaps, what I'm more worried about is what continued happiness looks like.

For now, I work, I love the work, I travel, I do, I become, I least today, still very good at what I do and I don't want to change it for the world.

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