My co-manager (who really needs a name here but I can’t think of anything that ‘fits’ other than his real name and I’m not putting that up here) had a personal situation pop up, unexpectedly, that has left me on my own for the week and possibly part of next week, too. It’s been.. interesting so far this week and it’s only been two days.
It’s almost comedic how difficult it is for me to manage his side of things (along with my own) – he handles specific things and I handle specific things and I’m completely paranoid about fucking up his stuff.This is also amusing for the simple fact that he’s one of the most laid-back people I know – I’m pretty sure that, as long as I didn’t actually get him fired somehow, he’d be fine with whatever I did or didn’t do this week.
None of the things I need to do in his absence are new, or challenging, specifically – but I’m walking around talking to myself and checking-rechecking-triple-checking lists that I’ve written for myself. We canceled a few things, we moved others, and we’ve postponed a few things, but there’s still a lot of stuff for me to handle. The nice thing about having a partner at work is that I don’t have to think about certain things at all. They just happen like magic. Right now, I’m responsible for both stuffing the rabbit into the hat and pulling it out on cue.
All of which is to say that I’ll be so glad when he’s back.
Relatedly, work has recently exploded in a most delightful way – a few new locations for outreach, new peers that I’m considering hiring (we’ll interview them when my co-manager returns), a group we’ve been planning has been given the green light for the location we wanted (yay!) and all sorts of similar good things. All of it has been intentional – little seeds that were planted months ago that are starting to bloom – and it’s really satisfying to see it all happen.
This, of course, means a lot of work on my part – it’s all good, but it’s stressful in the short term. I can’t handle the idea of half-assing anything that goes public, so I’m spending endless hours (or so it feels) planning and writing and making sure everything is lined up properly. My hyper-focus has kicked in and it’s a lovely, lovely thing to be able to indulge it.
This afternoon I was at my former college talking to soon-to-graduate students – and it felt like a decade ago that I was sitting in a classroom myself. It has been, of course, less than a year, but so much has happened in the past year that it feels like a lifetime.
I had joked, before going, that I had very little advice for people who were hoping to find employment in the field – but, really, there are commonalities between those of us who were quickly employed after (or even before) graduation. Every single one of us targeted what we wanted – for some people it was an agency that they targeted and for others, like me, it was a specific position that we planned toward. Then we worked toward it.
My academic advisor and I had butted heads, many times, about my career aspirations. He felt that I was ‘settling’ for outreach – that I should use some of my specific talents, and previous work experience, to do something a bit more lofty. As he pointed out – you can affect more change for people when you’re hiring up on the food chain. He is, of course, right.
(I suppose the consolation, for my advisor at least, is that I’m finishing my degree, slowly but surely.)
But.. I reminded him that my reason for changing careers was to decrease the bullshit in my life and to do something that had meaning. I’m at a point in my life where I can be a bit more picky about what I do – and where I know myself well enough to know what will make me happy. I don’t see any point in doing something if I’m not going to enjoy it.
I’m lucky, too, that I’m married to someone who is financially able to support our family and who not only agreed with my plan to change careers but actively supported me in doing so. We’re not wealthy but we’re certainly not poor. I don’t work just for the fun of it, but if my job starts to suck I have the luxury of being able to quit.
All of which is to say that I am busy as all get-out and I am still in love with my job. Sitting in that classroom today reminded me of that – how grateful I am for my life, lately. It’s a nice feeling.