I have managed. I have supervised. I have hired, trained, and nurtured employees. I traveled and stayed in hotels, attended company meetings and got lost in a rental car or on a subway. I did it all in the pursuit of my career, whatever that was at the time.
When we are in the fray of our careers, our days are filled with tests of our competence from one end of the clock to the other. The pressure is intense, and our personal lives and families very often suffer. We suffer. But, unless we consciously jump off the treadmill of western civilization, it happens to all of us.
Which is why I’m enjoying my last stint at a full-time job as I approach semi-retirement in about 6 weeks. As it is, I haven’t worked in an office setting, complete with a cubicle and an eye on the clock from 8-5 for….well, decades. But, life is endlessly entertaining, so here I am in front of a computer with a name badge around my neck and a wristwatch on my arm. I agreed to do this only because it is a temporary job, covering for a young woman out on maternity leave. And the paycheck, of course. I knew there would be an end and I wouldn’t have to flip too many pages on my wall calendar to reach that end. At this point, I am a little over half way through.
We seek out responsibility in the early years of a career. It proves to those above us on the ladder that we are worthy to join them up there in the corporate clouds. Today, I avoid ladders like a superstitious plague. I don’t want to be noticed and I don’t want anyone to know how much I’ve done in the past, from clerical work to teaching to becoming the VP of a company to becoming a professional mediator to writing books and owning my own company. I just want to tap on this keyboard until the new mama returns to continue her career and her own search for significance, however she defines that for herself.
This job is pressure-free because it means nothing to me, other than the source of a paycheck to fund the next stage of my life. The fun one where I will work part-time at something I love. And the rest of the time I will expand the horizons of my life into areas that interest me, like writing, reading, volunteering, checking out as many cruise ships as I can and, of course, ballroom dancing.
So, for the next six weeks I will show up, do what I’m asked to do to the best of my ability, and then leave it all behind for the next phase of my life. And not a ladder in sight.