Saturday, January 27, 2007

Finding Your Way

I get a newsletter every month from one of my favorite websites, Changing Course, and there is a line on the home page of that site that states, "As far as I'm concerned, life is too short to spend toiling at a job that pays the bills but doesn't feed your spirit."

I am a firm believer in that statement, except I usually say something like "life is too short to do a job that sucks."

I have always been one to seek a job that I like, not just take a job to pay bills. This has led to many short lived jobs; like the one my brother got me at a carpet distributor that led me to quit by lunch time. My brother wasn't too thrilled to find out that I quit by leaving a note telling them I was never coming back, but I wasn't too thrilled to be sitting across from a woman who's voice could have cut diamonds. I knew it wasn't for me.

Same thing when I did a temp job at a lawyers office. I was relegated to a back storage room that they converted into a makeshift office area. The office smelled like stale beer, the carpet was disgusting, there were no windows and the guy who was my boss was constantly foaming at the corners of his mouth like a rabid dog. Nope. Couldn't do it. Called the temp agency and told them I was going to lunch and not coming back if they didn't find me a different position starting the next day.

I am now doing a job that I wish I found 20 years ago, as I would have been retired already. The travel, the money, the freedom and the unstructured environment couldn't be more my style. I love every minute of every day. I don't think I've ever said that about another job I've had, and I've had some pretty good jobs. But since I am now self-employed, everything is different for me. I don't have to ask anyone for a day off, I don't have to be to work at any particular time, I don't have to meet any deadlines for fear of losing my job and I don't have to deal with the lady at the next cubicle who wears perfume that would gag a goat.

The joy I feel doing what I do is far surpassed by the joy my best friend feels doing what she does. For years, she has been volunteering at her children's schools, putting in more time and effort than I have at most jobs I got paid for. She did it for free. It brought her joy.

Although a conversation didn't pass where I said she should get paid for her time, she always waved my words off with the flick of a hand, stating how she loves it and wouldn't care if she ever got a dime for it. The teachers at the school love her. The kids LOVE her. The parents love her. She looks into the little faces of five year olds who say "Miss Vicki, I love you" on a daily basis. That was enough of a paycheck for her.

But a recent development in her life now has her doing the same thing and getting paid for it. She is now employed doing the very thing she loves. And although she'd still do it for free, she isn't. She wouldn't notice if they pulled the paycheck right out from under her nose; she'd still be doing it. I am thrilled for her. The glee in her voice, the lively tone and the bursting joy I can hear in her tone makes me wish I could be there to see her glow in person.

She has found her calling. Her right livelihood. A job, that she doesn't even see as a job, tailored so precisely for her that the fit is perfection. Her work has meaning. And she doesn't for one minute do it for the money.

Christopher Morley, an American journalist, novelist and poet said, "There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way."

I believe she has found her way.


Mise en Place said...

Yes, I'm SURE I have! :)

Thank you for such a great post and your willingness to help.

Anonymous said...

Someday I hope to be as lucky as you ladies :-) Love, Ro