And so it comes that I actually have begun to enjoy my job.
I’m not sure what that means. Perhaps it’s just the effect of time; one can only hold on to any emotion–be it hope for an out-of-reach career, or frustration at being unable to pursue what one believes is one’s “true calling”–for so long. Eventually the human mind can come to accept any situation.
Or maybe as Mr. Random Thoughts says, I’m in a place where all the random and wildly disparate parts of my education, past employments and life experiences have come together.
Whatever the reason, I’m not only fully capable of doing what I’m now doing for a living, I’m actually feeling fairly content at doing it each day.
Which troubles me. The pessimistic part of me warns that this too shall pass. It’s foolish to believe that any state of equilibrium, even mental contentment, will last. And this job, this odd mixture of freedom as an assistant pricing coordinator and extreme responsibility as an assistant bookkeeper, is not at all what I ever envisioned doing. It’s not teaching students. It’s not secure either; this company shifts its employees about like chess pieces from position to position and store to store. When they decide to promote you, you either take the promotion no matter the attendant commute, or you resign. Mr Random Thoughts thinks I should aim for a management position. It’s been indicated to me by those above me that this is not impossible. However, I really like working seven minutes from my front door. I do not want to work in another town, likely one that requires an hour or more commute. And I do not want the responsibility of managing other people unless they are students in my care. Adults, many of whom have questionable work ethics at best? No. I never wanted to teach at the college level either for similar reasons.
Additionally, this company is growing recklessly; their sole focus is on massive expansion and their infrastructure–particularly in terms of technology–is in no way capable of coping with the growth. Even their in-store computer system is frighteningly out of date. The emails between various levels of the corporation are both funny and frightening; people at all levels are so clearly in over their heads, under staffed, not communicating properly during key processes, and yet the company president and CEO are blithely assuring everyone that All Is Wonderful! We are On Track to Opening 150 More Stores in the Next Five Years! All signs though indicate that a cascade failure is rapidly approaching. The powers that be do not care; their goal is to reach a big enough size to go public and be purchased by some other corporation. In short, they’re looking for a big profit, not handing the company over to their heirs a decade or two from now.
Well, all I need is two more years, just long enough to get Youngest Son out of high school. And then, well, then I’ll do whatever comes next to hand for a living. Because it’s really that simple now. It doesn’t matter what I do, it matters how I do it: To the best of my ability, for God, and with the intent to be gracious for His sake to anyone who crosses my path.
Meanwhile, I am grateful to have a job that is finally beginning to pay somewhat decently (though not what I’d make as a teacher, and in no way what I might have earned as an attorney). I have the healthy beginnings of a 401k to which my employer contributes (yes, two decades late but at least it’s something) and the ability to control my daily schedule rather than have it dictated to me while I stand behind a cash register. I can even go out and get a cup of coffee from the shop down the sidewalk whenever I choose.
Sometimes I can’t believe I was a cashier for over two years. Sometimes I can’t believe I’m still working in retail. Still, it has taught me a lot about humility, persistence, gratitude, and from where what strength (both physical and emotional) I have comes. I am still learning.
And maybe that’s the entire point after all.