I had an informal telephone interview with one of the departments at my old university. It went extremely well and it is definitely something that has potential. The woman I spoke to (very warm and cordial) told me at the end that she felt it went very well, sentiments that I certainly second. The position has potential, although not the overwhelming, high expectations I was given when I interviewed for my current position. Instead, I know that this will be solid, busy work. There will be grant monitoring and tracking, opportunities to do some publication work, as well as the usual administrative support duties.
It’s a small office, with the director, the assistant director, and a combination of research assistants and graduate assistants. I was told that the director is very calm and doesn’t get rattled, while the assistant director is very mellow.
At one point she told me that the office is currently on the periphery of the campus but will be moving to another location late next Spring. The new location just happens to be about 5 minutes from my home. If even that far.
I’ve tested my mind for regrets about pursuing this… and after this past week, I don’t have any. Yesterday I needed to be reached, not just about the news on the passing of Todd’s gramma, but also for some financial things I am coordinating. During the week, when I’m at my current job, it’s like I disappear. I’m not mom. I’m not a family member… I’m somehow lost, just a bit.
I have to say this: I remember the sense of hope I felt when I left campus. I remember how thrilled I was at the opportunity before me. I was ready to work hard and I’ve done that, maybe even more. I”ve given what I could and seen it absorbed like it was nothing. It’s not that I’m not appreciated or some little pity party thing. I know that I’ve done my best and I’ve proven to myself exactly how hard I can push myself. I took my weird accumulation of knowledge and experience and put it to the test.
But what I knew then was correct. My job is not good for a mother. It is high stress. It causes me to disappear when I’m there.
I wish I’d done it when I was in my 20’s, single and childless. I wish I’d done it when we were freshly married and I knew something about who I was, but not enough to know I could do this kind of work.
I like aspects of it. I like the challenge. I like the triumph that comes from solving a tough problem, on the fly, and often in the face of someone who is pressing at you to do it quicker than is realistic.
I hate aspects of it too. I hate the sense that I’m not a computer and I cannot recall every situation to perfection, leaving me vulnerable to making a ridiculous or stupid mistake at the highly expensive per minute rate my company charges. I hate the feeling of criticism that underlies what we do. I hate the lack of training and the presentation to our customers that we ARE highly trained, when, in fact, we are not.
I know I’m a control fanatic and I know I’m something of a perfectionist. I know I tend to hold my expectations up to impossible standards and my sense of disappointment can be acute.
I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever find my place in the work world. Maybe I’m one of those misfits that can’t accept reality. Perhaps my rosy glasses are dusty and have greasy fingerprints all over them. I know that I’d rather be with my children. I know that I’d rather focus on my poor pathetic home. I’d like to attack the mess without worrying about whether or not I’ll get enough sleep to make it in on someone else’s schedule the next day.
That’s not life. I’ve got obligations and I need to take care of my family. So I’m doing my best, whether it’s successful or not. Maybe this isn’t the best path for me. Then again, everything’s a pot-shoot anyway. I might not be chosen for the position that I interviewed on today. I might be second-best. Perhaps my current company will continue to be stuck with me. If that’s the case, I’ll continue to do my best for them. I make no promises. The only ones I’ll do that for are my family.
The rest is just what it is: work.
cheers on this icy-cold November evening,