Thursday, February 19, 2004

Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Once again, I was listening to "The Tony Kornheiser Show" on ESPN Radio while I drove to get some lunch this afternoon.

The best thing about Tony's show is that it's not always about sports. I love sports, of course, but I can only take so much. I want to hear stuff about the sports and teams I like, and that's about it. When I get some local yahoo talking about the Detroit Red Wings, for instance, I switch over to my CD player. Tony talks about plenty of stuff besides sports, though, and even when he does talk about sports I don't care about, he's generally entertaining/insightful/funny enough that I enjoy listening anyway.

Today he was talking about how much he loves his job as a columnist for the Washington Post. He said he still gets a special feeling each time he walks into the building, and he can't imagine what he'll be feeling when the time comes for him to walk out of it for the last time.

This goes without saying, but I would love to have a job like that. I'd be highly surprised if it ever happens, just because I'm not the sort of person for whom a job will likely ever be the center of the universe, and it would take a lot to make me that passionate about it. Still, considering that I'm probably going to be working for the next, oh, forty years or so, it would be wonderful to find a job that made me feel so alive every day.

The job I currently have...well, let's just say that it's pretty far from being my dream job. I have pretty much no feeling when I come in here each morning. Believe it or not, that's an improvement. There was a time when I hated this place, and dreaded coming here with every ounce of my being. My current position in purchasing is definitely not related to my background, so I was way out of my comfort zone for some time after taking it on. As I've progressed, I've learned a lot, and I've even gotten to a point where I feel I'm pretty decent at what I do. I get no particular pride from it, though. This is just what I do to pay the bills. I come in each day and do my thing, and when I leave here at 5:00 I forget this place exists until I have to come in the next day. Rinse and repeat.

So far the best job I've had was when I worked as a proofreader in the Merchandising department of Spring Hill Nurseries, which is a mail-order horticulture company. I got to indulge my passion for editing (as well as utilizing my degree), as I proofread the catalogs and mailings. I also got involved in other things I ended up enjoying, such as writing planting guides, and choosing photography. There were only ten people in our department, and we had a building to ourselves. I liked almost everyone I worked with, and a couple of them I liked really well--one of whom I'm still close friends with now. We had a limited form of flextime, which came in handy. Best of all, we were a newly formed department, which meant that we were building from the ground up, and we all had a chance to really be involved with how things evolved. The pay sucked, and not every day was a good one, but I did like it quite a bit. Unfortunately, Spring Hill's parent company went out of business in June of 2001, after I had been there for only four months (SHN was later bought by another company and has resumed operations, but our department's functions were outsourced).

That's the sort of job I'm looking for now. I know that it's not going to be perfect. I just want to be in a position that I can enjoy most of the time. Preferably, I'm looking for an editing job, because that's something I love doing. I've got inquiries out now on other types of jobs, but to be honest, I don't want them. Not any more than I want the job I have now, at any rate. Like as not, I'm going to end up taking another job like that, as I'm planning to move in May.

So what's my dream job? What's the job that would get me excited to go to work every day? I don't know for sure, but I have a couple of ideas. I would love to be able to make a living as a writer of fiction. I don't know if that exactly qualifies as a day job, though. Besides that, the only thing I can think of that I would absolutely love would be working (in any capacity, really) in the BGSU Athletic Department. If they called and made an offer right now, I'd take it.

As a sidenote, walking out of Spring Hill on the last day was quite an experience. All the employees met on the main campus one morning and were informed that operations were being halted. The people in my department knew, but not everyone on the main campus did. As for myself, I was mostly indifferent, as I had been planning to quit at the end of the summer anyway (and if they hadn't gone out of business, and I had ended up leaving that job to move to BG and take this job, I would have been highly irritated with myself). A lot of the employees were devastated, though. Some of them (my boss among them) had worked there their entire adult lives, and now it was gone.

Compared to that, I'm sure my last day here will be a picnic.

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