Thursday, March 29, 2007

What I want to be when I grow up...

I have a job interview scheduled for Monday. I'm trying to be confidant and optimistic without getting my hopes up too far. I'm pretty sure I'm a strong contender for the position, but there's no telling what my competiton is. I don't want to be cocky about it no matter how perfect the match seems to me. Also, I don't want to set myself up for bitter disappointment if I am not chosen for the job. But whether I am the candidate of choice or not, I haven't entirely decided whether I will take the job if it is offered. I KNOW that I want them to pick me, so that I will have the option available to me if I choose it. Still, I do not know whether I will pick them. Most confusing of all, I'm not even entirely sure what criteria to base the decision on.

There are things about my current job that I like very much. There are things about it that I like not at all. Isn't that the way it is with most jobs?? However, no matter what the good, the bad or the job is like a container of yogurt with a set expiration date. I work for a particular grant that is going to end next year. So some time between now and then I will need to find a new position. I'm not opposed to sticking it out where I am to the very end of the grant. But I also have no sense of obligation to do so. If I find the right match with a new job that meets my needs and will be more permanent, I'd be a fool not to take it.

So I've been giving quite a bit of thought to what I want from a job and what I am willing to give. .

I've done a lot of different things in the past. PRE college I had the usual assortment of crummy jobs that I endured to pay the bills: phone solicitor, factory worker, dishwasher, clerical. I once was hired to stand outside of a health spa with a sign advertising their special promotion, waving at cars.

Since running the gauntlet of graduate school I've had different options... juvenile probation officer, HIV/AIDS intervention, crisis intervention counselor, consultant in a women's prison, adjunct college instructor, marketing director, training coordinator, survey research coordinator, executive director of a non profit where I managed a food bank, did homeless case management, protective payee services and more. So along the way I've picked up an eclectic assortment of skills and had some interesting experiences; But what next? What do I want the next chapter of my career to be?

Some days I think I'll just get some job that pays a living wage and plug away at it - believing that work is NOT my real life, it merely pays the bills so I can meet my temporal obligations as I follow my passions in other ways. But the reality is I spend more of my waking hours at my job than I do with the people I love or the projects I'm interested in. So I DO want my work to be something I can believe in and find meaningful.

I have no illusions that I'm going to go out and do grand things to change the world. But I do want to have a job that allows me to have a positive impact on the lives of the people I serve. In the end, the money is important, but is truly only a fraction of what keeps me motivated to pour my dedication into whatever work I do. I will do far more for personal loyalty to a boss I respect or commitment to a cause than I ever will for company bonuses.

So I'm praying for discernment as I go to this job interview, to be able to be sensitive to the cues people will give me that will indicate what sort of job this will be. I've had a couple friends tell me "if it is supposed to happen you will get the job, but if not then it simply wasn't meant to be." I don't buy that one bit. I don't really believe God cares what job I take. He doesn't give a rip if I am a plumber or a chicken farmer or a teacher or a circus ticket taker. I think all He cares about is how I treat people where ever I land and that I perform ethically to the best of my ability. I don't think there is any job out there that is my true destiny.

Still ... I know I am more suited to some sorts of work than I am to others. And I definitely know there are certain management styles I respond well to and some that I find abominable. I have worked for two or three remarkable people who were priceless gifts and a few fiends that taught me what to avoid. So I am considering all that as I prepare for this upcoming interview and considering my options. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.


Marie said...

Good luck. I hate hate hate the job hunting and interviewing process. I hate feeling like a piece of meat, being poked and prodded and worrying that I'll ultimately be tossed back on the pile.

I completely agree with your assessment of employment. On one hand I have little patience with people who drift from job to job, searching for the One Job that will reveal to them their True Selves and make them Blissfully Happy All the Time. At some point, especially if you have a family to support, being employed, however grueling or mindnumbing, has to be the priority. And yet I also never want to have to work at a job just for the paycheck -- if they're getting a third of my life, it had better be something I either enjoy doing or that I feel is making a difference in the world, and I'd much rather live modestly than slave away a third of my life so I can come home demoralized and collapse on my 300-threadcount sheets. I've been fortunate that each of my non-summer jobs have fallen into one of these categories. And if you can't take any pleasure in the work itself, having good coworkers can also make the job a keeper.

I hope you find something that will suit -- good luck!

booklogged said...

Good luck with the job. I think sometimes God does care what job you get, but I think if you are praying about it, you will know.

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