Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Dream Realized

For the past couple years of my life, I have always clung to the philosophy that humans were made to do that which they are passionate about. If you find life working with your hands, go build houses. If you find life in children, go teach. If you find life in sports, go coach. I figured we are wired the way we are wired for a reason, so these inherent passions of ours should guide us in our search for occupation. This molded my career trajectory thinking, as I jumped from business to high school teaching to ministry to the current "year off" which I am now taking.

Yesterday, a phone call from Borders Books ended my current unemployment stint. Monday morning, I will report to my first day of work as a member of their inventory team. In short, I will stock book shelves, talk to customers about books, and drink coffee all day. A month ago, this is exactly what I wanted. Working in a bookstore is Paradise for an English major. As a friend recently told me, "Books and coffee. What else could you want?" Well. . . .

I am continuously humbled when my well-thought-out, iron-tight theories on life deflate into mush when they actually are put to the test in real life. This is a job about which I could be passionate. It fits my afore-mentioned qualifications for a life-giving job. But it pays next to squat. And let's be honest, shelving books doesn't require a college degree, so on some level, I feel like I'm wasting ability and 4 years of education. Amazing how quickly paying bills and yearning for the approval of the world can destroy grand and eloquent theoretical thinking.

I am taking the job, not because I am staying true to my desire for a desirable job but because, frankly, there are no other options right now. I'm being forced to follow the theory I have always held. Maybe that's God getting me where He wants me to be. Maybe that's God teaching me a lesson in humility that I don't have life figured out, as much as I think I do. Regardless, I'm heading to a job Monday morning that I want and should enjoy. Here's hoping that when the theoretical rubber meets the practicality of the road, the tire doesn't shred.


Em the luddite said...

From one low-wage-worker English major to another, welcome. Being poor really isn't so bad. Granted, if you hate it I'll feel guilty for encoraging you in that direction, but in thet mean time I'm excited for you.

I haven't read Prufrock yet, but I suppose I'll have to now. Thanks for giving me the next item on my to-read list.

Oakley said...

Congrats on the job with Borders! Let it be known that you CHOSE to pursue this job instead of waiting around for another to come your way, at least as a babystep towards Prufrock redemption. I think most grads I know are now in the perfect jobs; jobs that will allow them time to reflect on closed chapters in life and plan those to be written. I'm curious to hear who your Anti-Prufrock is and why.......

Tammy O said...

I love that last sentence. Can I quote that?
Since this is your blog and not mine, I won't share the various turns my life has taken since entering college. But I will say this - you are far from alone in experiencing this problem.
Sometimes God shows us at point A what we assume is point B, and we naturally try to take the shortest distance - a straight line. But what we thought was point B may really be point J and we don't find out about all the other check points till we get there. God has us taking the scenic route, but instead of snapping pictures of the breathtaking view, we're asking, "Are we there yet?".

John, the definitely not gay eskimo said...

I agree when you say "I figured we are wired the way we are wired for a reason," but perhaps it is our inherent ablities rather than should guide us in our search for occupation. You may feel passionate about changing the world in one way or another, but maybe your true passion in life can be found by reexamining your gifts. (mind you these are just the thoughts of a mere undergrad with no real world experience) Like you said, He puts everyone somewhere for a reason, so be on the look out for the hottie bookworm soon to be known as Mrs. Humphries, Princess of Antarctica and more importantly the next step toward your niche in the world.

Jeff said...

Congratulations! The sad news is that most post college jobs don't require the aforementioned college education. However, I completely am with you on the seeking and hoping to find of the job hunt. While I am currently "selling out" in order to pay the bills at Wells Fargo, my other job is giving me alot of enjoyment...teaching young people. I bemoan the moment that life becomes about the meaningless trudge of accumulating stuff and not about using our God given gifts, talents and desires. Search on!

Ben said...

Em - It's an honor to be in your low wage English major company.

Oak - I don't think an anti-Prufrock exists. We all deal with fears, insecurities, and lost opportunities. The problem isn't as acute in some, but I think doubt is part of our fallen nature. God is the anti-Prufrock, completely confident and not needing to prove himself to anyone. But that's a whole nother rant.

Tammy - That's a good word. The journey (with all God's beauty and lessons) is the primary point, not the destination.

Eskimo - Does Antartica have a royal family?

Shawn "aka Motown" said...

4 A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.

5 The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.

6 Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?

24 A man's steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?

- Proverbs 20

Next time I'll reference Master Yoda. :)

David Hebda said...

In reference to how we live life, I find myself more often than not, not even looking where I am going, but merely moving forward, knowing that God will have me where I need to be when I need to be there. I’m not saying that we should never plan anything, but I think planning can often make us miss the present. And congrats on that job, though I’m not sure it could beat working at the KOA, lol.

Jenn Pappa said...

This is such a big issue in my life right now!

When I graduated I came to the realization that I had a very plush liberal arts education that taught me how to think and have a greater passion for understanding people and the world... but didn't teach me how to work and make enough money to survive. I currently work at an office in a cubicle and I fight with myself every day about letting my life slip by me.

However, I've learned that I have to deal with these parts in my life to get to the parts that I know are going to make a difference. I'm in the pasture right now taking care of sheep and learning how to take care of everyday things before I can do the things I really care about.

We need people to think and to be passionate, but we also need people to work and make things keep going so we can all keep living. I'm learning to be happy with how I'm serving other people and to just breathe but also not just float through life bored.

A job you are passionate about would be an amazing thing to have, but it would also be a very priviledged thing. People work to survive, it's always the rich or those who can afford the luxury who chase their dreams. But luxury isn't a bad, it just means it is rare. I don't know if that's how things SHOULD be, but it's how they are.