Not Your Mother’s 9-to-5

OCTOBER 29, 2012

The other day as I was desperately pursuing job postings, wishing and hoping to find that perfect job that would fit all my criteria and match my experience level, I had an epiphany.  Now, I am aware that the word epiphany is used too freely, and often to define mere good ideas of getting ice cream on a hot day or realizing you should have called that “nice guy” back.  I am also aware that we do not usually use “epiphany” when talking about something like our careers.  But, on a random Monday afternoon, I had a career epiphany.

Like so many others, I am a 27-year-old who has been desperate to find the perfect job. Something where I get paid but still feel good about the work I’m doing at the end of the day.  As far as I was concerned, that position did not exist.  So, since law school ended I have been working as a consultant for a non-profit, putting in the effort to pay the bills while desperately searching for a “real job.”  When people would ask me what I do, I would sheepishly reply that I was looking for a job.

That is, until today.

Today as I perused the job postings, I realized I was so focused on finding the job I thought that I was supposed to have that I failed to realize the importance of my current job.  In a backwards way, my focus on meeting other people’s, and my own, unrealistic expectations made me miss how amazing the work that I do is.  When did I learn to undercut my own value? When did I learn to ignore the progress I have made?

It was only when I stepped back and looked at the whole picture that the pieces fell into place.  Careers are not cookie cutter anymore, and how we stumble through them isn’t either.  Many of us have given up the need to have kids by age 24 and own houses in the suburbs, but we still cling to this ideal of sitting at a desk from 9 to 5.  In the interconnected-over-accessed world we live in, we still think we need this structure.   Why is that?

Today, I realized that sitting at home on my laptop yields more success than I would have at most of the jobs in these postings.  Taking chances and leaping forward sometimes happens by just realizing the value of what you do, even if you don’t do it in an office building.

So if anyone asks, I am working to save lives every day. And on warm days, I can even do that from my patio.

 

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