Monday, September 10, 2007

I'm only doing this till my prince shows up

Is there anybody in the world who is actually doing what they thought they wanted to be doing when they grew up? Anybody at all?

And I don't mean the astronaut veterinarian superhero artist job that you thought would be pretty cool when you were five. I mean when your high school English teacher kept giving you extra books to read because he was considering using them in the curriculum next year and he wanted your opinion on them, but then that evil bastard guidance counselor told you that if you didn't go
into Sciences that you would end up living in a cardboard box under a bridge, and you believed him. And now you are wondering if it really would have been so bad to spend a few years writing haikus in ketchup on quarter pounders for a living while you crafted your skills.

It doesn't seem like anybody is doing what they wanted to do. Turns out Dale is just using his office job as a forum to think up decent blog posts, while BeckEye readily admits that her professional life is boring. A colleague that I had a discussion with at work today blames his brother for leading him into science, and realizes now that he would have been much happier as an auto mechanic.

So who's got all our dream jobs anyway, those jobs that should by all rights be ours? And what if those people are dissatisfied? What if they have always wanted to be doing our jobs instead? Don't you think we should arrange a giant job swap or something? We could all just post our job descriptions, locations and salaries on a big message board and we could all do tradesies.

There are a couple of things I would miss about my job: the fact that my salary provider lives across the Atlantic, which gives me a fair degree of autonomy, the fact that my hours can be as flexible as I need them to be, and that fact that sometimes things like this happen:

I was going downstairs to buy a cup of coffee this morning, taking the stairs as I always do. The door to the stairwell, although clearly marked as "stairs" is a solid door with no window and it opens directly onto a hallway. So I always open the door a little slowly and carefully so as not to take out anybody's face. It's a wide hallway, but still.

This morning, however, as I pushed the door open I heard a big kerfuffle on the other side and I stepped out to see coffee all over the place. Three guys were apparently walking abreast down the hallway and the guy closest to the wall was really close to the wall. He was just passing in front of the stairwell door when I opened it.

And here's the best part. He was obviously just taking a sip of his coffee when I opened the door into his face, because there was coffee dripping from his glasses!

I was all apologetic and concerned of course, but God I wish I had a camera.

And then as I was driving home tonight, I remembered the expression on that guy's face as he stood there with coffee running down his lenses and dripping off his chin. Which is not a smart thing to do when you are steering an urban assault vehicle about, because I started howling so uncontrollably that I'm pretty sure all the other drivers thought I was having a Grand Mal seizure.

Now I feel great.


Serah said...

I like that trade idea.
Not doing my dream job or living my dream life.
I would miss the shoes.

I wanted to be a writer, then later an artist. I guess I am still a bit of both but I don't make a living off it.

Todd said...

Well, as you know I am starting a new job in the morning - food related - not related to my studies which involve graphic design. And I never did anything with my Film and Sociology degree either... Perhaps the food industry is where I am meant to be - lol - hopefully not though - While I love food, I would like to make a go of the design stuff. In 5 years I will have probably changed my mind again, so don't hold me to my word. ;)

And I am laughing as I picture that man with the coffee all over his face. But why the stairwell sign leading to a hallway?

Evelyne said...

Thanks for posting this story, it really made me laugh!

Sometimes it scares me a little bit to see so many people working in a different field than the one they picked in high school... does it mean that I'll change my mind a million times? Where I worked during the summer a lot of people were working in something totally different than what they thought they would do when they were in high school. Just my subway buddy enrolled in the army, got a degree in administration, than geology, than engineering and is still thinking about changing (but he might be an extreme case). And I like your trade idea!

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

How can I not love with when you write posts like this?

Beth said...

I'd say I'm about 75 percent at what I thought I'd be doing.

What I thought I'd be doing: Writing for magazines.

What I am doing: Writing and editing newsletters, annual reports, etc., in the corporate world.

I'm relatively happy ... except that I have too much to do.

Zed said...

I am doing what I always wanted to do: editing and writing. Over the course of my career, I've met and worked with politicians, entertainers, sports figures, etc. I could not ask for more.

The only other job I ever longed for was to work as an actress who wins an Academy Award. At 12-13 y/o, I'd dream of giving my acceptance speech. It's still available if anyone wants to hear it. :)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

When you put your job up on the trading site, Serah, be sure to tell them about the shoes. I'll bet you get lots of offers

I'll bet you do make a go of the design thing, Todd. You are formulating plans and that is a hige step to making it actually happen. The food job is a stepping stone for you (and I hope it's a fun one).
Sorry I should have been more clear on the stairwell signage. That was on the side of the door leading FROM the hallway to the stairwell. But it's a kooky building with little rooms being built everywhere they can squeeze another one in.

I don't think there is anything wrong with changing your mind about your career plans, Evelyne, just when you settle for a career you don't really want. But I think you have a pretty good idea of the direction you want to take, at least generally.

Just showing you my true evilness, Dr M. I'm glad you approve!

75% is some people's dreams, Beth! It sounds like you've got a pretty great balance in your working life. Having too much to do, maybe not so good, but it beats the hell out of not having enough to do.

I think we need to hear that acceptance speech Zed. That will help us get over our jealousy that you have stolen our dream job! Wanna trade?

Karen said...

Fabulous picture Barbara! Switching places with your dream job? Sigh...that would be heaven. I think I'd still prefer to be independently wealthy so I wouldn't have to work at all but I guess that's just being greedy.

Will said...

I think there's something fundamentally wrong with the work place ... I don't think its natural to spend 40 hours a week behind a desk. That aside, I do it too. Really I feel like the problem is when one's job becomes one's life. I think everyone needs an escape and a hobby. When my work day is done, I try and shut that part of my brain off and kick into New and Used Records gear. I guess that can be challenging but work should be a means and not an end.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

The cat picture, Karen? That's what I want to be when I grow up.
I wouldn't turn my nose up at independent wealth either.

40 hours at a desk is a death sentence, Will. I guess I'm spoiled, working part-time.
Wouldn't it be great though, if your hobby WAS your job? You are approaching that. With one of your jobs anyway.

BeckEye said...

"Is there anybody in the world who is actually doing what they thought they wanted to be doing when they grew up?"

Ohhhhhh.....thanks so much for the 20 minute laughing jag.

And our "contest?" Cue the Def Leppard music....wherever you go, I'll be 3 points behiiiiind yooooo...

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Re the contest, BeckEye, that bastard Dale is threatening to pwn us. I think we need a strategy.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Now you are leading the votes, Beckeye. That was not the strategy I had in mind.

Dale said...

I think that Mike must be vote tampering. I'm excited about the negative vote I got though!

It's my own fault for not loving my job Barbara, I forgot to pick out a dream job when I was a young un.

Your post was hilarious and picturing you howling uncontrollably as your urban assault vehicle made its way must have been nearly as awesome a sight as old drippy glasses. I have a coffee story too but I'm too sleepy to post it.

phlegmfatale said...

Principal flautist for the Berlin Philharmonic?

Yeah, I'm laughing too. Actually, there was a moment when professional symphonic musician was a possibility, but I was too burned out by the time I was due to apply those scholarships. (read: hormones trumped any semblance of a future. Moron, me.)
But that was a vague dream, I was in that direction, excelling, winning competitions, but I just couldn't FEEL my future in that kind of situation.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Any regrets, Phlegmmy? Obviously there are times when you must think "what if", but I can certainly understand the burnout factor.