To say it’s been a bit slow workwise the past few weeks is an understatement. If you’ve been paying attention, I write for clients big and small, do a little tech stuff, work that’s fun and I’m good at. But recently, an attempt at networking went wrong – while shopping at Walgreen’s in New Canaan (the closest outlet for Mexican Coke – shhhh!). When asked why I was shopping at mid-morning, I disclosed things were slow. “Oh, there’s work out there” I was informed. “I hear there’s an opening in the deli department at the Food Emporium!”
A higher level of this same scenario also happened this week (three times!): after updating my resume on Monster.com, I got two emails and one call asking me to apply for a sales position at three different major insurance/financial firms. Yet nothing in my past even remotely prepares me for that. Oh, the humiliation of it all….
While I’m not ready for either option, it did get me thinking about working and how much people actually enjoy their jobs or is it something that pays the bills. I look at others and wonder if they really like their work, or what it’s what they “think” they should do or feel that it’s what’s “expected” of them.
I remember a time way back when I was in junior high school. I noticed that one of the gym teachers was extremely enthusiastic about some meaningless gym class game of dodgeball. My thought at the time was “Wow, this guy has been teaching here since before I was born and he’s still into the job!” Little did I know that teaching was just a way of passing the daylight hours and his real passion was drinking and running around with a lot of the women in town, single or otherwise. Ah, the things we learn when we’re adults….
Another guy I probably got it wrong with was the maintenance guy at my college who handled the repairs on my part of campus. You would see him on a weekly basis, fixing things that carefree college students left damaged in their wake - broken windows from an indoor Frisbee game, an unhinged bathroom door ripped down during a particularly rowdy party or a burn on the carpet and wall, the result of a flammable alcoholic drink stunt that went horribly wrong. (That incident also entailed an ambulance, but that’s another story.)
My thought at the time was “Oh that poor guy – he just has to go around fixing stuff that a bunch of privileged kids broke on purpose.” Of course, today I realized that he probably liked working with his hands, didn’t want a supervisor hovering over him, wanted predictable hours so he could have dinner with his wife and kids. And I’m sure the benefits weren’t too bad either.
And there have been others – in my corporate life, I remember the woman who used to care for the plants in the office on Thursday mornings. There would always be a tense, interdepartmental meeting, and through the window I would see the woman (a real biker chick type), trimming the dead leaves off the plants, watering them and moving on – never needing (or probably wanting) to speak with anybody who worked there. Watching her tend the indoor foliage was far more interesting than anything in the meeting, usually just some motormouth droning on about service level agreements and budgets. It made me think that maybe there was an advantage to being on the other side of the glass.
But in the end, I like what I do. Some jobs are fun (Stoli flavored vodka) and some are not (web content for law firms, instructions for state-mandated drug testing, bullet points for overnight shipping services), and of course I want more of the fun jobs. Same thing with the people – some are better to work with than others. And some pay faster than others too. And there is no correlation between the groups. But I’m still looking for a bit more work.
I wonder if the Food Emporium is still hiring.