Monday, March 10, 2014

I Believe in Flowers

Me: I’m in a good mood today, but I'm also anxious, like I forgot something important, or like something bad is going to happen.

Boyfriend: That's called Depression.

But I don't feel depressed. Coming off a winter funk, yes. Anxious about the future, yes. Not depressed. This is work-related restlessness, a sign it's time to seek out something different.

Tomorrow I have an informational interview with a former MercyWorker who works in higher education. No, interview is too strong a word--I'm getting coffee with someone to learn about a field I might be interested in. I say might because I don't know--hence the meet-up.

Even with this uncertainty, there are a few things I do know.

I miss co-workers. Besides craving professional development, this is the biggest reason to transition. I want supervision that an agency's structure provides. As much as I enjoy doing my own thing, I go too much into my own head when I'm alone. I need people who aren't teenagers or grocery store clerks, people to joke with, people to share responsibility with, people I can go to when I need advice or a restaurant recommendation.

I want training and traditional benefits and paperwork--yes, paperwork! The flexibility of a nanny job is hard to match, but it has trade-offs. People don't take you as seriously when you are "just" a nanny. (Not that anyone takes me seriously otherwise--have you seen me put an outfit together?) I'd like the security and variety of working at an agency with room for me to grow, options for me to pursue, and some basic dental coverage wouldn't hurt either.

I can make people happy. I want to fulfill while being fulfilled. I'm not sure what exactly my career will be, but I don't want to focus too much on the specifics of the job title. I'm more interested in working for an agency whose mission lines up with mine than in compromising my values for a dream job--I'm researching employers rather than searching for jobs, if you will.

I hesitated before publishing this post, my Work Manifesto. It had to be written, has been written, over and over in various pages of my journal, but I didn’t know if I wanted to share it publicly. I want to be honest, though, and I express myself better through writing than other forms of communication. If a future (or past) employer reads this, I stand by my words.

Even so, this isn't something I post lightly. I practice interview questions with myself when I can't sleep. What are my strengths? Numerous. Creativity, adaptability, an introversion that gives me a nuanced perspective of the world, and I make a mean granola. Weaknesses? Nothing that I’m not currently thinking about, reflecting on, and working through.

I walked home from work today, taking time with nothing to do but put one foot in front of the other. At one point, the skyline was mostly visible, partially blocked by the Vienna Beef factory. I stopped to take it in: my adopted city. While my walk was puddle-filled, smelled of stinky-sweet rotting vegetation from fall, and the view wasn't perfect, it was still comforting. I love living here. I love having work that allows me to live here.

Now is a time for growth, a time for believing that seeds buried in dirt will sprout and flower. This isn't Depression: it’s Dormancy. Sometimes our location doesn't provide us with the best view, but that doesn't mean the view isn't there.


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