Giving Up the Ghost of Jobs Past

In my last year of law school, I had my dream job. I was working in DC on domestic violence prevention, my boss was brilliant and funny (and once scheduled us all to watch an episode of Oprah with brownies and ice cream in the middle of the workday). My co-workers were my best local friends. The hours were flexible, I could work from home occasionally, people brought their babies in to the office when daycare fell through. It was perfection. It was also a temporary internship.

After school, I had to get a real grown-up job with benefits and a retirement plan. I knew it wouldn’t be as much fun as my last internship, but I was hopeful that I would find a little of that spirit in my day-to-day life. As anyone who’s held a grown-up day job knows, that is much harder to find at work than I hoped.

Today’s 30 days of truth post  is “someone you need to let go.”  This isn’t so much about a person. I need to let go of that job. That perfect job. Not because I don’t have fond memories. Not because I don’t still visit my co-workers and boss every chance I get when I’m in DC (like I was all week). But because clinging to that job will always make me miserable in comparison.

My current job, like a lot of jobs, has its ups and downs. Sometimes I’m working on a project I love. And others, it’s the day-in, day-out blinding drudgery that makes me beg the end of the day to come sooner. As I tell my students when I mentor, they don’t pay you to work because it’s always fun. You get paid, in most situations, because it’s not the kind of thing anyone would do for free.

I’m very blessed with good, stable work with decent pay. I get to travel. I have enough vacation time to get away from time to time. If things are very slow, I can usually find some time to write while I wait for an email starting the next project. It’s a great gig, all things considered. It’s just not perfect. (And there’s no Oprah and brownies). It’s time to stop holding that against it.



Filed under Working for a Living

2 responses to “Giving Up the Ghost of Jobs Past

  1. A Super Girl

    I’ve been thinking about this lately as well. My boss is big on finding your passion and doing what you love and using your strengths to find what’s perfectly suited to you. And I get all that, but there’s also a part of me that believes a job is a job and there’s no such thing as a perfect one. It’s what I do in my personal life that makes up for the bad, good, and indifferent of my work life.

  2. I’ve had a few jobs, some that I hated in ways I can’t sufficiently put into words (the stock manager at a Victoria’s Secret and a nail-gun monkey building manufactured homes come to mind), and some that were pretty darn good (thank you dot-com bubble); but I’ve only had one job that I deeply deeply loved both doing and telling people that I did “for money” on purpose, and that’s write.

    I’ve never worked in an outside-the-house professional environment that was “all that plus the bag of chips and the pickle on the side” like you had at your internship; but, I have to admit the dot-com was pretty damn close.

    It might just be the tragic end of that dot-com that colors my memory and makes it less than a truly “great” job in my past.

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