Our lives are full of choices we make consciously or unconsciously every day. One frequent expression is that if you are miserable somewhere, well, that's your choice. We envision a world where we have an unexhaustable amount of opportunities I think when we say that to others.
But, at some level, we do have options. We just might not always like what our options are. Sometimes to get whatever it is we want, we might have to do things we might not always like.
Wow, speaking of throat-clearing...
So, for the last four months or so, I have been back to work. That sounds much more than it really has been, but it has been nice to get out of the house and bringing home a paycheck. The job is ideal for me. It's part-time, pay is nice, commute isn't too bad (I've lived in Southern California and in the Washington DC area - I know traffic), dress is business casual so no uncomfortable suits.
I am, however, by most people's estimations, over-qualified for the position. My resume is top-heavy. You'd be surprised how sometimes that can be a bad thing.
So when I was being interviewed for the position, it was not surprised that the folks were asking with some disbelief about whether I'd be happy here. Whether or not I might get bored. And my answer, frankly, was that I could do just about anything for four hours a day. And if I felt any of those things, it wasn't as if I were spending all day every day doing it. I could manage boredom for four hours a day.
This from the girl who'd been sitting on the couch for eight hours every day waiting for her wife to return home. Yeah, I think I can handle the potential boredom.
But the other question, spoken by some of the folks who interviewed me, and implied in the questions of others was, "Why? You have a resume that opens a lot of doors, why would you want to do this?"
And my answer then - perfectly crafted for interviewing situations - was that I valued quality of life. That I wanted to have balance in my life. I've worked the jobs where they were careers - end all be all and all consuming. They were fun at the time. I enjoyed myself, I excelled (as they could see in my resume) and they were great. But I am now at a different stage in my life, and frankly, what I was looking for was an opportunity supplement my spouse's income.
They bought it.
The other day the Director of Finance wandered near my desk. She's relatively new to the position, I'd say "young" although I was younger than her when I did some of my management in my day. She has been hiring a lot of new people to populate her growing domain. One such person started at the beginning of August, and is already on vacation. Yes, I admit. I am jealous. I am still a contractor so I didn't even get sick pay when I was out in the hospital recently for a few days. Anyway, apparently the new guy wrote this memo and made some erroneous assumptions. She was waiting to talk to the CFO to let him know of the discrepancies so that the CFO wouldn't rely on the conclusions in the memo.
And she's asking me what she should do with her new employee? Probably a rhetorical question. So, I gave her a kind of rhetorical answer. "I don't envy you. I don't miss managing people. There is a reason I am sitting at this desk instead of yours."
She laughed with me. Except I was serious.
As a society, we are tasked with making progress. With "moving forward". "Onward and upward". Push, push, push.
And when I was younger, just starting out, I had difficulties understanding a section of the lesbian community I had been a part of that was "downwardly mobile". That rejected comfy corporate jobs for "jobs with meaning" which were also often jobs with low pay. I was young. It seemed too early to give up on the rat race and not to make the most of my potential.
And for me, at that time, that was an appropriate choice.
But it's 20 some years later. And with experience, I have come to learn that "more" is not necessarily "better". It can be. Don't get me wrong. But it is not always.
I have been very fortunate to have a lot of opportunities, experience, choices and options in my life. I have been very blessed. I recognize that. Not everyone has had the same that I have had. I will agree with those who think I am pooh-poohing myself that I created some of those opportunities and they didn't all just fall into my lap. But some did.
I am very fortunate that my wife agrees with holding quality of life as something important. For both of us. She welcomed the potential of a paycheck when I started tossing my hat out there, but was also sad about the possibility of me not being there waiting at home for her every day when she returned. There was a part of her that didn't even want me to have to work at all. Which was very sweet. Although now that she's gotten used to a little extra cashflow, I think that sentiment has passed altogether! :) But she doesn't feel that I need to be out there garnering a six figure salary. She knows that we don't *need* all of that, and that what it would take away from us in order to make that kind of salary isn't worth the changes that would come along with it to our lives.
We made our choice.