If my mother instilled in me any life lesson while I was growing up it was to make sure I established some form of a career so that I could maintain some form of financial stability and independence. Over and over I heard from my mother how I needed to be able to support myself and that she didn’t want to ever see me in a position where I was dependent on someone other than myself. I know that she spoke from her own experience and her own life lessons and whether I consciously or openly acknowledged her wishes, it somehow became ingrained into my work ethics and habits.
I think my mother (and father too) hoped that I would find a solid, respectable job like a teacher where I’d finish work each day at 3pm and get summers off. And initially, I probably expected the same thing. My degree in university was tailored so that I had the option to apply to the education program, but it was just as easily tailored so that I could enter architecture – I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and it took me a very long time before I finally figured it out. I graduated with a degree in English, which, in a round about way, led me down a very difficult road to what I’m doing today (communications) and, I’ve somehow ended up in a career that involves a lot of writing – speeches, letters, marketing and promotional materials, sponsorship packages and web content. My pasttime growing up was writing, and I know that in so many ways I’m fortunate that I ended up doing something that I ultimately love to do, and that I do well.
But sometimes, and especially lately, I’ve been finding myself wondering if my mother knew exactly what it was that she was wishing for me, and if financial stability and independence was really worth the stress and aggravation that it’s cost me, especially over the past couple of years. I wonder if what she really wanted was for me to work frequent 12 hour days, week after week, or lunch hours that come and go while I sit at my desk, or Saturdays when she would call me on my cell only to find me staring at my screen at work and telling her to call me on my office line because I couldn’t talk and type simultaenously on my cell phone.
Sometimes, I wish that I had gone ahead and got my BEd and found a job that let me work normal hours and get summers off. I wish I had gotten a job that didn’t wreak havoc in my personal life, that didn’t create the difficulties it’s created.
I woke up this morning and got ready for work and after getting dressed, I crawled back into bed as Taylor was waking up and as we laid there, I stared up at the ceiling and realized for the first time ever, I honestly didn’t know if I had it in me to get up and do another day. Felt like I absolutely couldn’t do it, felt so overcome with weariness that all I wanted was to pick up the phone and call to say that I wasn’t coming in. EVER.
The past two months at work have been the most difficult that I’ve experienced in my so-called career as I’ve juggled the workload of two vastly different positions with no additional compensation and no additional support as I had initially requested when I agreed to taking on a work project that was outside my field and comfort zone. In the past two months, everything that could go wrong went wrong – so much so that I sat at my desk last week and told a co-worker to stick a target on my chest because I just couldn’t catch a break.
And still can’t catch a break.
I thought about getting into here, but there’s just no point. It’s just one thing after another and each and everytime I go into my boss’s office to report that yet ANOTHER thing has gone wrong, she doesn’t seem to react as catastrophically as I expect her to and eventually she looked up at me over her glasses and finally revealed to me why she keeps not giving me the reaction I expect – because she knows I can handle it and no matter what, I always find the solution to the problem.
It’s SUPPOSED to make me feel better and, if I was less stressed, less frazzled, less at the end of my rope, it WOULD make me feel better.
But right now, those words aren’t making me feel better, and like I said to another coworker who walked in and saw me staring mutely at my desk that is BURIED in paper, and proofs, and ad copy and ticket sales and silent auction items, there is NOTHING that anyone can say to me that will make me feel better. “It’s all right” doesn’t work, because it’s NOT ALL RIGHT. “It’s all going to work out” doesn’t work either because I don’t care about how I will feel next week, I care about how I feel right now. And, “You’ll figure it out” doesn’t help at all because I am @#%$ing TIRED of figuring it out.
Give me a break already.
The last time I talked to my father on the phone was when my mother caught me one Saturday afternoon and caught me at work and she passed him the phone. We chatted briefly and as we were hanging up, my father reminded me not to forget where they lived, because it seemed that lately, I’d sure forgotten their phone number because it was a while since I’d called.
I paused for a second and then, as calmly as I could, informed my father that I was at WORK on a SATURDAY afternoon, as a result of doing the job of TWO people with no support. He didn’t have much to say after I responded and we hung up the phone.
So, yeah, this, this so-called career. Is it what my parents really wanted for me?