Tuesday, July 9, 2013

10 Things I Love About My Job

For the greater part of my life, I have taken jobs that I don't necessarily like or enjoy. Sometimes I have had unpleasant conditions, coworkers or safety challenges.  I've worked in the public school system, prison system, and in bars, hotels and offices.
Sometimes, my job wore me down. I once was a part-time, midnight to 8 waitress in a diner.  The morning shift, of 3 waitresses, never trained me but would actively look for things to criticize me over. I would come from my first job to my second, work all night waiting on drunks and fun college-age kids hanging out and having a good time, and in the morning face the barrage of insults from middle aged women who didn't like the way I cleaned the bathroom. It wasn't the physical ache, but the psychological fatigue that made me quit. As it turns out, those ladies were right- I couldn't handle it.
Sometimes, I just wasn't safe and couldn't count on anyone. On my first day teaching at a men's prison, the lieutenant warned me that if I was ever taken hostage, nobody would negotiate for me and I'd probably be raped and killed. What's more, the security officers didn't really have my back. I relied, ironically, on the inmates for protection.
Sometimes my job made me sick. I taught in a public school in a poor neighborhood. Because of known and posted dust, mold and asbestos compounded by construction during school hours, I had bronchitis for almost 10 months straight. But at least I loved the job that I did (once I was allowed to actually do that).

That pretty much brings us to today. Let's face it: any job where I'm not in any particular danger of being shot at, stabbed, physically intimidated or used in some fashion is a good job to me. I happen to think my job is pretty awesome, which leads me to

10 Things I Love About My Job
1. My co-workers.  I love the people I work with. Every single one has chosen this profession to help people and to be a good person. We all keep our eyes on the prize.  I work with vegans, chicken farmers, people of varied gender expressions and their attitudes are all the same: to build up others. I love this aspect. There are at any given time, 3-7 other women in our office and we all get along. No drama. No bullshit. No intrigue! Really cordial and professional. And they are also competent in their jobs.
2. Location. We are in the Pacific Northwest (USA).  It's less than 2 hours to Seattle, 4 to Portland, 3 to Spokane and 4 to Vancouver, BC. What more could a wanderer want?
3. I get to help people. 'Nuff said.
4. I'm using my actual education and experience to do that. This is a real luxury.
5. I get appreciation for what I do. My boss wrote me a letter telling me what a good job I'm doing. I've been a keynote speaker this last year and I get invited to neat committees.
6. I know people here.  I love that our campus (only 10k students) is a community and that I have been invited to be a part of that.
7. Safety.  It's safe enough here to leave your house unlocked. We lock ours but the only real danger is that some drunk will wander in off the street at 2 a.m. and crash on the couch.
8. Campus is beautiful and close-by. I live a mile from my office and walk to work almost every day. I stop frequently to take pictures of flowers and trees and season fruits that grow on campus. There is even a creek that's part of my morning "commute".  We save a lot of money on gas and only have one car. We really only need one car.
9. Autonomy. I get to set my own hours. I work a lot, but if I have a doctor or hair appointment, it's not a big deal. I get a lot of work done and if I need to, I can work from home. I get to think and put those thoughts into action. I'm accountable, but I have leeway.
10. My best friend is doing this with me. None of those other things would matter as much without G. He made all of this possible, really. I wake up happy in the morning and think about the life we live together. It's good. He helps me do my job too.  He proofreads stuff for me, gives me advice and helped me write a grant proposal in May. We work well together and I like the way he thinks. On Fridays we have lunch together too.

Have a great week!

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