Saturday, November 9, 2013

That Most Meaningful of Endeavors: Work

Today, I want to talk about work.  My work autobio, more specfically.

With the exception of the months that I birthed my three children and took my subsequent maternity leave, I have been a member of the active labor force since 1999.

I graduated in 1998 with a Bachelor's degree in English and a teaching certification for grades 7-12.  My husband, who'd graduated six months before me (that scoundrel), took a software engineer job at IBM in Rochester, Minnesota...and he who gets the well-paying job first gets to call the shots.

Spencer was born in April of 1999 and I started teaching 7th and 8th grade Reading that fall.  And I taught there through the spring of 2004.  I'd also managed to get my Master's in Education just before Elliot was born in August of 2004.  My plan then was to take a year off from teaching to be with my three children, who at that time were 5, 3, and infant.  That year off lasted until December, when I decided to take a long-term English sub position at the high school (same town as the middle school I taught at).

Then, a Drama/English teaching position opened up at the high school in my hometown, which was four hours away from where we currently lived.  I applied, interviewed, and was passed over...but then I was offered a job as a freshman English teacher as well as the Yearbook/Journalism advisor.  Brent got the okay to telecommute, and in the summer of 2005, we moved back to my hometown.

I taught freshman English and advised the school publications from 2005 to 2009.  Then, an opportunity at William Penn University landed on my doorstep, and I took it.  I was an adjunct instructor there, and I also maintained my Yearbook advisor duties at the high school (no more English).  I did that for two years before leaving the high school scene all together.

During the summers of 2010 and 2011, I did some correspondent writing for my town's local paper.  Basically, I was in the books as a "travel" correspondent.  I took my children to cool, educational places in Iowa, took pictures, and wrote a weekly column about it.

Then, the 2011-2012 school year was spent solely adjuncting at William Penn.  That was the year I made the decision to return to school and enroll in the Culinary Arts program.  In July of 2012, I took a job as "Tasting Room Staff" at Tassel Ridge Winery...and from there, I became the chef on staff.

I would say I've had a lot of experiences, some different jobs.  There's been a lot of work in schools...and so I know first-hand the problems America's educational systems face today.  However, I've always had relatively decent principals as my bosses.  I've never really had a complaint in that department.

So, imagine my amazement as I work now in the private business sector (small business at that) and come across bosses of a different ilk.  Bosses who aren't really held to any ideological philosophy or legislation...bosses who are free to run their businesses how they want.  And I get it - that's the beauty of America, right?  Free enterprise!

But, I've never had to deal with a boss who philosophy I do not understand and whose decisions and words seemed contradictory.  My emotional reaction is to stand up and fight against bosses like that...or quit the job altogether.  Fight or flight, right?

Then, I remember that I've got to think about prudence and wisdom.  Because supposedly *I* am older and wiser and better.

What is the more rational, controlled response? 

And that, friends, is the hard part.  Digging down deep for the controlled, prudent part of myself.  It's hard psychoemotional work, let me tell you...and there are times when I can't help but think, What is this bullshit about?  I guess it's all about growing and learning.

So, then.  A toast.  Here's to lucidity, cogency, judiciousness, and pragmatism!  Huzzah!

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