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Questions and Answers - #7

 It's One Question Wednesday, and indeed there is just one question for me to answer today.  Thank you Ken for giving me something to blog about! :-) 

Ken asked... If you could do a different job and it paid all the bills you had and gave you a comfortable lifestyle, what you choose to do?

First off let me just say, that if I would have payed more attention to that tiny voice of reason in my head back in my younger days, I would have stayed in college it would have resulted in a career that would have been far more lucrative and personally rewarding than what I have ended up doing. I completed part of a nursing degree, part of a teaching degree, and part of a social work degree. I finished none of them.  As it was, there was a commonly held belief in the cult group I was a member of at that time, that the world as we knew it was going to end or undergo a profound transformation within a few years, so there wasn't a lot of point in investing time in extended formal education.  You don't have to tell me how ridiculous this seems in retrospect, I guess it's one of those things you had to be there, to be part of the movement, to understand. Suffice it to say that I was married at 19 to a very charismatic crazy man (think along the lines of Jim Jones), and his thinking influenced me heavily.  In feeling a sense of belonging, after a lifetime (yes, all 18 years of it) of thinking I might have been dropped off by an alien spaceship, I put aside the teachings I was raised with and opted for something radically different.  I was an experience, let's just leave it at that for now.  The only other plausible explanation is temporary insanity (which is how I justify many of the not-terribly-brilliant decisions I've made in my life)!

What followed is 20 years of me trailing along after husbands as they rambled and bumbled their way thru life. I have worked in various clerical positions for nearly all of the past 30 years, one of which I held for 19 years and rose to mid-management level with a decent income and multiple weeks of annual vacation.  Then I divorced my last ex (yes, there's been three of those... another story for another day for you new folks), and a year later, in May of 2008, I was thrilled to resign from the long-term job and relocate to Texas to be with Papa Bear, the new love of my life!  I hated to give up the pay and benefits, and the freedom that position afforded, but I also had grown to hate it there, largely due to mis-management and one person who was intent on making my life hell.

When moving here, I opted not to pursue another supervisory/management position, because I was worn out to the point of mental and emotional exhaustion from the previous job and was also still recovering from the toxic and near deadly relationship with my ex. I wanted a simple answer the phones job, and that's what I got. I took the first job I applied for when it was offered.  It worked out ok, more or less, with the exception of going thru seven supervisors in three years time.  (No, it wasn't because I was that hard on them! Geesh folks, give me a little credit here!) 

I had already reached the point where I was ready to start looking for something else when the family-owned company announced it was selling out to a large corporation. I knew I didn't want to be part of that, so I stuck with them thru the transition as promised and collected the bonus offered for doing so, then turned in my resignation, packed my box of belongings, and walked out the door.  You can read about that in this post... A Leap of Faith.

I took the rest of December 2011 off, knowing it was going to be a year or more before I saw another day of earned vacation, and basically did nothing but sit on my butt and veg out. I needed that, I really did.  At the beginning of January I put out resumes and once again accepted the first job I was offered because it felt right.  And it is... for the most  part.  The people there are friendly, the work is bearable, and the hours are better.  The pay is still crappy. I'm used to crappy pay by now.  A little more than half of what I was making five years ago.  I miss those big  paychecks, but I don't miss the job that went with them, or should I say the side effects and politics of that job.

So anyway, now you have my work history in a nutshell. The reality is... I HATE CLERICAL WORK!  I am so damned sick of pushing papers and spending eight  hours a day attached to a telephone and keyboard. I am tired of being a 58 year old peon working for and with people half my age. Yet I have no one to blame for that but myself.  What I DO like about my job is talking to and working with the clients we assist.  I am good at that, I am caring and compassionate and I treat them with respect. They like me. I wish that was all I had to do, and work-wise it would be plenty. 

There seems to be a trend in today's economy to run office workers into the ground, to overload them with tasks so that they don't know their head from the ass by the end of most days, after chasing their tails for eight hours. I like to stay busy and I know how to be productive. I'm not attached to my cellphone or computer  games as some coworkers are. But I sure would love a few minutes to breathe now and then, especially as the day wraps up. By then I am feeling every bit of my 58 years and I am brain dead and tired.  I know that paperwork has to be done for any business to function, but lordy, how I wish it wasn't me doing it! If "some dumb ass" had stayed in school, she could be running the business and loading the work on other peons (just kidding, I would be a better boss than that, knowing how it feels on the bottom rung of the ladder).  When I took this job, my tentative employer asked me how I felt about accepting a position I was over-qualified for.  I answered that doing so teaches me humility... and it certainly does.  

It is hard to find jobs at 58, employers would much rather hire someone young, preferably Barbie. They don't want to take a chance on older folks, even though we are proven to be more dependable, stable, responsible employees.  Physically, I am no longer able to do what I once could and that limits my options greatly too.  I won't be able to fully retire at 65, Papa Bear and I will be lucky if we can manage to semi-retire and work 3 days a week, as many of our friends do. We fantasize about how nice that would be!  When I think of his job, I really feel guilty complaining about mine.  He has been working ON HIS FEET, six days a week, at his job for the last 31 years. He weary and worn out too.  We hope we will live long enough to enjoy being retired... someday.... maybe... God willing.

Ok, all that being said, back to Ken's question. (You thought I was never going to get there, didn't you?) If I could do any job in the world, my fantasy job would be to operate a no-kill cat sanctuary.  There are some amazing ones in various places around the country, and I can't think of anything more enjoyable or rewarding that making sure abandoned cats are safe, cared for, and loved forever!  I far prefer cats to most people, and I'm certain I could handle the supervisory/management end of the business.  I'm not as dumb as I may sometimes appear here.  Now how I expect to make that kind of job a financial reality is anyone's guess.  Maybe a rich benefactor out there somewhere who is as crazy in love with cats as I am?  Hey, don't laugh... a girl can have her dreams!

Whew, I think that's the longest answer I've ever written... aren't you glad there was only one question? :-)

17 comments:

  1. No, I am not. I completely forgot about it being Wednesday. If you're still up, my question is...

    What is the best advice you were ever given that you did not take at the time?

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    1. Thank you for the question Monkey! I was brain dead last night, so when this one popped in I decided to save it for next week. Now you're one step ahead of the game! :-) Glad this is your last day of work before you have some much-deserved time off to recharge your batteries! My gas tank is pretty much runing on empty too. TGIF tomorrow!

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  2. Lol, Josie, this was truly masterful! I was concerned that you missed answering the actual question - but was happy to find it at the bottom of the post lol... Who knows, maybe you will get to run a cat sanctuary one day... dreams are the best!

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    1. Yes Bozo, as usual as my train of thoughts headed down the track it jumped the rails and went off on it's own direction, but I eventually got it round to the destination and answered Ken's question! :-)) Anything is possible, even just fantasizing about it is fun break from the daily grind!

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  3. I also forgot about it this week I will blame it on Wednesday being Anzac Day...........This was a grea question and an even better answer.

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    1. Thank you Jo-Anne. It was a good place to share a bit more of my life story. It sure has taken some twists and turns along the way. Next week I'll send you a question to remind you it's time to play! :-)

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  4. Hey Josie, maybe i'll answer your Question here this time. You asked: What 3 words best describe your life and what 3 words would people never use to describe you?
    To describe my life: tested. in the last few years, i've dealt with a tramatic brain injury to my brother, and the loss of my father to cancer. We also lost our barn and most of our equipment to fire a few months back. Sometimes that weighs on me a bit.
    Resilient. I'm still moving forward. :)
    Loyal. i spent some time being loyal to the wrong people, now i think my family comes first and that's where my loyalties are.
    Three words people would never use to describe you:
    quick tempered. (that's two words, i know.) My dad was a bit of a hot head at times. I tried to learn from that and use reason when i can.
    unneighborly. (i'm not even sure thats a word.)i try to always take the time to chat when i see someone i know. Sometimes it can be inconvenient, but i think it pays dividends in the end.
    predictable.I think i might have surprised a few people when i started blogging a few months back. I think it was something a lot of people didn't realize i was capable of doing. (i didn't know if i was capable of doing it.) I like to keep people on their toes.
    Holy, the last three were quite a challenge for me. It's an odd thing to try to think wof words people wouldn't use to describe you! Hope those words will do. If you asked me again tomorrow, i'd probably come up with completely different ones i think. :)

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    1. Also, thanks for your answer. I never would have guessed cat-wrangler. Nice. :)

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    2. I think I could have predicted at least some of these qualities ;-)

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    3. Wow Ken, you did an amazing job on answering this one. You really should post it over on your page too... it's good reading, and I really like knowing that's the kind of person you are. The first three are great qualities to have, and I really liked the last three too. It is hard to wrap your mind around the reverse - what people don't think about you. Maybe I'll use that as a theme for Five on Friday this week! :-)

      Thank you so much for your question, and your answer! Cat-wrangler, I like that job title, I'm going to keep it! Of course we all know one cannot lead, direct, or control cats in any fashion, they do as they damned well please - or not, so that fits perfectly with my dream job, cuz it isn't likely to happen either, but it's fun to think about! :-))

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    4. And yes, Bozo, we can definitely see some of those characteristics manifested in Ken's writing. He is very neighborly on his blog, and funny, interesting, and obviously intelligent. I'm totally enjoying his posts!

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  5. Josie, you don't appear dumb at all. You are one of the smartest people I know. It doesn't surprise me at all that you would like to run a cat sanctuary - I can actually see you doing it. You have the kindest of hearts. I hope that one day you get the chance to do it....

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    1. Thanks Selma!! (But perhaps I should fear for the folks you know then, if I am the high-bar for the standard! LOL) I tell people that I am the most sane member of my family - that doesn't bode well for the rest of them either! :-) I can envision me running a cat sanctuary too, and matching up folks with the purrfect furkid to brighten both of their lives! I adore cats, have since I was very small. I like their strange mix of independence and total devotion. Who could as for more?!

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  6. Josie, for I don't know how many weeks in a row - I see another common thread: having to take a lesser job at lesser pay which is what I will have to do if I ultimately decide to leave Devin. Yes, I know, I made the big announcement - some things have changed that I haven't blogged about yet, just not ready to until I talk to my counselor..anyway...back to you - I'm not surprised that in order to be happy we sometimes have to sacrifice our careers, which means our paychecks.

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    1. So true Elsie, we've both had to make some tough decisions in our lives, and have been faced with difficult, painful, complicated situations to struggle thru. The important thing is that we come out on top... we survive, and at times we thrive! I have every confidence you'll find your way either with Devin or without, and ultimately will choose the right path for you now. I am all about finding ways to free myself from the things that make me unhappy. I keep my eyes and ears open for amazing job possibilities. Anything is possible in life, there are always new answers to be found if you don't close your mind to possibilities! The bottom line is, that we have to do what is best for us, and not be duped by our own guilt or insecurity. You know I'll be behind you whatever you decide, it's your life and you must live it, not anyone else! :-)

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  7. wow -- love your heart and beautiful spirit. You shine.

    And you need to meet my friend Dorota -- walking together last week she said ' if I could do anything it would be to have a no kill dog sanctuary'.

    You are beautiful.

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    1. This wasn't one of my most shining posts, Louise. In fact re-reading it I can see that I was in a rather unhappy place. The past few weeks have been a struggle at work. Hopefully that is going to ease up when/if we can get out equipment to stay in operating order! I will spend some time this weekend getting my head back in a peaceful place, hopefully sooner! :-)

      A no-kill dog sanctuary would be just as wonderful a place to work. The relationship you have with Ellie says it all for me, look what joy you share with each other! I believe everyone should have an animal friend in their lives, it's the best therapy/companionship to be found.

      I'm not feeling too beautiful this week, I'm feeling grumpy, old and tired. But I always manage to find my way back out of that place, the closer it gets to the weekend the lighter my spirit becomes! Thank you for being so supportive and encouraging. You are always a breath of fresh air to me!

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)