Most of us probably have an idea–maybe more than one idea–of what our dream job would be. Most of also don’t work our dream jobs. I have also realized that our “dream job” changes over time. I have wanted to do a lot of things in my lifetime, but right now there are probably two things that I’d consider my “dream.” Three, if I break one of the two into sub-categories.
Dream Job #1
Just last weekend, I was talking to my parents about how I’d love to be able to go back to the University of Michigan (one of my alma maters) and work there. Sometimes, I just check their job listings and see if they have anything in the one department I’d most likely end up working in. The other department is the athletic department, but I’ll probably never actually work in it. That same night, I checked their job listings…and they had listed the exact position that, at this point in my career, I’d love to have.
Right position, wrong time. I’m not at all ready to move back to Michigan right now. In fact, that’s probably a year away from now. I feel uneasy about letting that opening pass me by without pursuing it and just taking the more passive approach of hoping there will be a similar opening for me when I’m finally ready. But the thought of moving right now makes me feel uneasy, too. And I’d also feel really wrong about spending these weeks at a new job and then just bolting. I also just don’t think I’d get the job right now, and who knows–maybe I’ll try for it next year and won’t get it.
Dream Job #2 (and to the point of the post’s title)
I hated my last job. I repaired laptops and loved what I did, but I hated where I did it. I also knew that I couldn’t do repair for the rest of my life. First of all, it doesn’t pay enough. That, by itself, is not the problem. The reason it doesn’t pay enough is because it’s more of an entry level-type of job. So, to me, not moving on from that meant not progressing in terms of a career. There are people who have worked where I was working for over a decade, just repairing laptops, and I just couldn’t see that for myself. So, that was #2. Third, doing physical work is physically uncomfortable at times. My fingers were developing calluses, and sometimes my back, neck and shoulders would hurt from sitting in the same positions all the time. But I got a huge rush from repairing, and I still love working on computer problems.
What my new job has taught me is, in terms of being a tech geek, I am a hardware person at heart (which is bad because I do no hands-on work at my new job, which means I don’t like what I do the way I did before).
But more importantly…my new job has taught me that I…don’t…like…to…WORK.
I am the type of employee who comes to work early, works hard, tries my best to be the best, doesn’t like down time (detest it, actually), will accept extra work and will do very little complaining to higher-ups. I don’t spend time talking or dilly-dallying, and I won’t treat or talk to supervisors and managers as if we’re on the same level or try to be friends with them (except one time when it was invited). At work, I am focused on two things–doing my job and doing it well.–Yes, I wrote this in my last post.
Let me explain that.
You see, my mother is lazy. She will never admit that, but she is. My father is what my mother refers to as “Type A.” I would say that this dude doesn’t know how to just do nothing. He almost always has to have something to do. He does not seem to understand people who don’t like their jobs or who don’t like to work. My mother spent, what…about 30 years at a job she didn’t like most of the time she worked there, if ever. Even despite this, she is very much the type of person who tells me whenever I have any complaint about any job, “Be happy you have a job.” A lot of unemployed people love this line, as well. More on that in a minute (and we’re getting closer and closer to my explaining the post’s title).
My parents are interesting. They are opposites in most ways, so they have given me some interesting traits. One is what I would refer to as “Type A- Personality.” That is, I do believe I am a lazy person, like my mother. When I’m at work, I turn into a different person. I become a perfectionist, and I want to be better than everyone I work with at my job. At the same time, I absolutely do not want to be at work. I’d rather be at home watching TV, listening to music, out shopping, surfing the internet, traveling to another city. But when I finally get to sit at home, i.e. days off or being unemployed, I have no idea what to do with myself. I go crazy. There’s only so long I can do nothing. I kind of miss work. Honestly, even on work breaks, I don’t know what to do with myself. Work breaks irritate me because I’m spending time doing nothing when I could be working and making it so that I could leave work altogether earlier. There’s some sort of internal struggle between my being lazy and being a workaholic.
I don’t hate my new job or anything. The people with whom I work are okay. It’s a pretty well-run business. I don’t like the idea of answering phones, but when I’m actually doing it it’s not that bad. But I work more hours at this job than I did at my last job, for the most part, and there’s way too much down time at work. I hate down time because every time I look at the clock, only 5 minutes have gone by. I like to look at the clock and say, “Whoa, it’s lunch time already???” or “Whoa, it’s almost time to go home,” i.e. it’s time to get the hell away from this place.
But I hate working what’s, honestly, a relatively normal work day schedule because I feel that I’m missing life. I have hard time believing that, if you’re a woman, your life is “supposed” to be working 8 or 9 hours a day, coming home to cook for kids and a husband, helping kids with homework, disciplining kids, making sure kids get to sleep at a good hour and then attending to whatever your husband is whining about. The thing is since I don’t have kids and never will, and I’m not married and probably never will be, my life is a little more similar to what the average husband’s life is probably like–work 8-9 hours, flop down in the kitchen and eat and then go flop down in another part of the house and watch TV. Even this is not good enough for me, and I’m sure it’s not good enough for men. As I like to tell my mother, I have about 4-5 hours to fight and stay awake so that, by golly, I can have some semblance of a good time each and every weekday and then, bam…speaking in terms of your consciousness, it’s time to go to work again. Yeah…no.
This is why I say–and this is the point of my post–if you’re in school, enjoy…and if you’re unemployed, enjoy. Trust me, I have done both. My favorite is being in school. In school, you go to some classes for a few hours and then you have the rest of the day. You might have some assignments, but the majority of the day really is yours. This is one of the reasons why I prefer school to working, along with the fact that there is so much you can learn in school. Being that I am interested in almost everything, school is heaven to me. Jobs seem to almost always reach a point where you’re just not learning anything. You do the same things every day, depending on the job. And I have never had a job that actually necessitated being there for as long as a full-time job requires, hence all the dumb down time. It’s a waste of life, in my opinion. No–it’s a robbing of life.
Having been unemployed, I do understand sitting around feeling embarrassed, frustrated, rejected, inadequate, useless…not having anything to do during the day, and not having the money to do what you’d like to do or need to do. You think everyone who has a job–any job–is lucky. If you’re unemployed, I think, in some ways, you’re the lucky one. After all, the majority of Americans hate their jobs. If you were working, you’d probably just be like the rest of us–either hating your job or looking out the window at work envying the people who are moving about freely instead of stuck in some building for 8 hours when they probably could accomplish their jobs in 4 hours. There are still ways for you to enjoy life that’s hard for people who work full time.
So, I say my “dream job” would be not having a job. That’s probably not accurate, though. I think that, based on what I wrote about school, working part time would be ideal. In fact, all Americans should be able to work part time and be able to make a living off of part-time work, regardless of what the field is. But that’s not currently our system in this country. It amazes me the way companies waste money on employees who sit and do nothing half the time they’re at work just because there truly is nothing to do. The crazy thing is jobs like my previous one “lay off” workers because they don’t “need” them but keep tons of workers sitting around getting paid to do nothing half the workday.