Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stranded in the land of average

I’ve always marveled at these rare people who know early on exactly what they want to do with their lives. I know maybe three of them.

One is a teacher. One is a firefighter. And right now I can’t think of the third.

At some point, the rest of us realize that we need to pay the bills so we fall into careers that sorta kinda feel comfortable then we proceed to mill about our lives vaguely dissatisfied – numbing that feeling with things like alcohol or food or TV or whathaveyou.

There are millions of people just like me – stranded in the land of average – waiting to find out what we’ll be when finally we grow up.

Don’t get me wrong, I like my job. But I don’t believe Cuddly Wuddly Christ tapped my little fresh-from-the-womb forehead and said “Hedy, You Will Be A Tech Marketer.”

Does that make sense?

Whoa, Hedy, wait a minute. It sounds to me like you’ve got a pretty fucking awesome life. You’ve got a husband who loves you in spite of your hormonally induced nut-jobbery. You live with the World’s Greatest Dog. You are blessed with family, friends, health, and more than your share of laughter. You want for nothing. It sounds to me like you need to be a little more grateful, Miss Pissy Pants.

Yep. Right.

I’ve got everything except that higher purpose and meaning driving what I do. I could be satisfied but I’m being honest here, admitting I’m not.

So here are the next questions:

1) Is it the job? Or is it that I’m simply not injecting more of myself into it?
2) Is it that I need a new career?
3) What would that look like?
4) Where do I start?
5) What do I LOVE to do?

I’m going to start with that last question because it’s the easiest one to answer. I am a writer. I love telling stories. They don’t have to be my stories – I’m happy to write stories about other people doing great things. I’m pretty goddamn good at it, too.

I also like giving massages. And I’m goddamn good at that, too. Ask Jim and Gromit.

I like traveling and learning about different people and places.

I’m passionate about the news and politics.

And I like helping people. But not in the wipe-yer-ass way. Those folks, bless their twisted little hearts, get a Do Not Pass Go Do Not Collect $100 ticket straight to Heaven.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here’s where I’m at right now: The mature thing to do is inject every part of myself more fully into my current work with the belief that my Higher Purpose (whatever the hell that is) will come.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here’s my favorite example of what it means to really put yourself into your job – and if you’re tired of hearing about Portillo’s, I’m sorry, but a lot of profoundly Good and Right things are happening there.

There’s a rather large smiley African American woman working the pick-up counter at Portillo’s at Clark and Ontario in Chicago. When your order is ready, she lets you know by shouting:

“NUMBER 1 YOUR ORDER IS DONE!”

or

“NUMBER 5 YOUR FOOD HAS ARRIVED!”

or

“NUMBER 3 YOU BETTER COME AND SEE ME!”

You get the idea. She makes it fun. You never know what she’s gonna say but it always makes people smile.

And if you need an extra fork or some mayonnaise or something, she’s all about “What can I get for you, baby?” and “You’re welcome, honey.”

Think about it. She’s handing out fast food to people. It could be categorized as one of the more mundane jobs on the planet. She doesn’t have to make it special or interesting.

But she loves it. She obviously loves people. And because of who she is and her infectious attitude, she makes the whole experience special for everyone.

That’s how I want to be with my job.

It’s powerful. Recognizing that I can make this difference. It's not that my job is changing - but my perception of it is changing.

So even if you're doing a job that you don't really love, you can do it in a way that makes a difference to other people.

Because ultimately it’s not about finding the perfect job or the perfect husband or the perfect anything, it’s about what you put into it that makes it perfect for you.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I am listening to: Breathe Me – Sia
I am reading: Doctoral papers from my coach
I am: It’s 8:09 AND I AM JUST FINE

2 comments:

CRUSTYBEEF said...

you could use your hands for $$ while you grow your gift of writing..because you have a gift with words..especially when it comes to politics..the way you write about it, reminds me of how well a Pastor can preach...get me on the stage or alter, forget about it=-same with politics..you have a gift..so use your hands and use your words and your happiness will be even more complete then it is now.

judy said...

Well said Crustybeef!