Working for a living

jobcrushingsoulI notice that I have a day off next week.

I’ll be out of the office for a couple of days that week anyway, doing professional development at a conference in Albany.

But on top of that, I’ll have an extra day for my weekend. Woohoo! Yeah, very likely you don’t get what I have to be excited about in that but what it means to me is that there is light at the end of the tunnel known as January.

This week is almost over. Next week is so short a week as to almost not be there. Week after that is the end of the month. I’m liking it!

I almost never talk about my job, have you noticed that? It’s because I don’t particularly like my job or find it interesting. Seeing as how it’s in economic development, it’s kind of a weird thing that I don’t like working here. This job gets high marks for philanthropic intent. Our modus operandi here is to help the community and its residents to prosper. By golly, I’m helping people.

That’s all very well and good but there are a number of problems for me with “helping people.”

For one thing, I had no real interest in workforce development before I got to this job and that hasn’t changed any in spite of the fact that I find myself running the workforce training programs of my employer-entity. I have developed programs and helped to secure funding to implement those programs and done the legwork in said implementation, but I’m sorry to say that I haven’t enjoyed a single minute of it. Well, maybe that’s not fair. I’m sure there has been at least one minute that I have liked. I just can’t call it to mind right this second.

Another problem I have with the job is that I’m not really a normal office geek. My favorite work environments are those with enough people in them that my silence and general disinterest in work-based socializing can go unremarked. This agency is so tiny, with so few staff members, that my lack of interest in said co-workers is impossible to mask. In some circles, this might win me brownie points for being the kind of person who minds her own business. Here, though, I end up feeling self-conscious about it and that’s uncomfortable.

And, on top of both those things, the pay is only so-so. In fact, it is significantly less than others elsewhere in the state get paid to do the same thing. Let us say that the Board of Directors is not making it worth my while to stay. Their concern over their burn rate is touching but it won’t satisfy my landlord.

All of which has accumulated into a general feeling of not wanting to be here when I’m here and of living for the all-too-short weekends. I don’t hate anybody here but I won’t miss anything about the place or anybody here when I leave.

I don’t even feel certain that I’m making any sort of lasting contribution to the community like I wanted. That kind of sucks and that’s why I know that this isn’t my life’s work. I can’t possibly devote myself to something that I don’t in any way find rewarding. I want something more than that.

The something more I want is a Ph.D. and a job teaching in a college or university. There are a number of things about it that appeal to me:

  • I’d get to be surrounded by reasonably intelligent people most of the time;
  • I’d get nice long vacations between semesters;
  • I’d get to wear jeans and other reasonably comfortable clothes to work;
  • I’d have an office where I could sit and eat my lunch if I wanted to;
  • I’d have permission to have a sense of humor;
  • I’d get paid about double what I’m making right now (if I ended up working at the right school);
  • I’d get to work on really cool and interesting research projects; and
  • I’d finally have found somebody to pay me to stay in school forever.

In my less-than-humble opinion, it doesn’t get much better.

Of course, there will still be office politics and all the drama attached to whatever version of Administration vs. Faculty happens to be playing at whatever college or university I call home. But that stuff will probably be fairly easy to ignore, as long as I manage to not play. And the bad stuff about this situation would have to be really, really bad for me to hate it like I hate where I am.

I’ll get there.

I can hardly wait!