This post has been stewing in my head lately but I’ve yet to get it out onto the proverbial paper. I’ve been incredibly busy and with VEDA completely kicking my ass, I haven’t really had the time to devote to writing this.
Today’s VEDA topic was about our dream job–something, which for me, is undefined right now. It’s there, floating out just beyond my reach and what it is, I haven’t figured out. I know it has to do with travel, but the where, what and hows of it are murky. Actually, not just murky, it’s completely black and I know I’m going to run into the corner of a piece of furniture any second now and get a nasty bruise on my hip. Hopefully instead I’ll stumble upon what it is I’m meant to be doing. Anyway.
When I was in New York, your job was who you were. You went to parties and the first thing people would ask would be “What do you do?”, followed by “What firm do you work for?” What you did for a living was bigger than all else it felt like and after years of living in this type of culture, job status also became important to me. I became…snobby about it. I wouldn’t date people based on what they did for a living. I, myself, didn’t have it perfect but I had the title. I was an Interior Designer for such and such firm and it looked pretty and shiny on paper. It didn’t matter that I hated my job. Everyone hated their job and loved to talk about how awful their work was but hey, we were important because we had that job title.
Then I quit that job. I quit that job and became unemployed for almost a year and at the end of that year, when the bank account had finally hit that dreaded zero, I did something that I thought below me. I got a job in retail.
I have had a really hard time with this, even though I no longer live in New York. People out here aren’t as concerned with status and power and everything else I’ve placed on my important scale but yet I follow up my response to “What do you do?” with “I work at a furniture store butI’manInteriorDesignerandI’mtryingtogetajobinmyfield butit’sreallyhardrightnowandOMGPLEASEDONTJUDGE. I’m starting to realize that I don’t need to justify my job. That people just don’t freaking CARE and therefore, I shouldn’t either. I am not in New York anymore! You know how when people judge others it’s usually about the things that they dislike the most about themselves? Well, this is true with me in this case. I will judge you based on your job. Even when I have no right to, am not in the position to judge. And when I become Judgey McJudgerson, I’m also judging myself. Harshly.
I have had this inner voice that will still sometimes come out and poke me on the shoulder telling me that I’m less of a person because I hold a retail job–which, to my old self, is not a real job. Two years ago if you had responded to the question “What do you do?” with “I work in retail furniture” I would give you a look that was married to the thought: You are 29 and you still work in retail? Can’t you get a real job?
I’ve come leaps and bounds since living in New York. I will still judge you a little bit based on your job, I will still judge myself BUT that humbling experience called life has taught me one major lesson: that job? IS NOT WHO I AM. Your job? ISN’T WHO YOU ARE. It’s all that other stuff, you know–the stuff you do for fun–that is who you are. It’s a whole host of many many many little spectacular things but your job? Does not define you. You can love your job, you can be passionate about what you do but it is not the entirety of who you are (especially not in this economy).
Little Miss Judgeypants over here has had to learn this lesson the hard way. Little Miss Judgeypants also realized how freaking closed minded I was before moving to Boulder. (And I considered myself pretty damn open minded!) I was a job snob though, I can admit that. Now, if I catch myself getting skeptical of someone because of their job, I stop myself. I remember that I don’t have my ideal job and maybe this isn’t their ideal job. And what gave me the right to decide what job is the “ideal” and which isn’t anyway? A job is a job is a job and while I’d really like to have a Monday through Friday schedule with weekends and nights off, at least I have a job.
It’s hard to let go of a lifestyle that was so ingrained in me, to accept that just because I work in retail, does not make me any less of a person. Sure, I’m not where I thought I would be career wise. The fact that I’m not on a career path at all is terrifying. I look around me and see all these successful entrepreneurs Boulder has, all my friends who have these great jobs and it’s fucking intimidating. The inner voice starts rambling on about how I might not be smart enough, talented enough, blahblahblah. I am my own worst criti and letting myself be ok with having a job that isn’t shiny on paper has been really hard. I need to want another job not just because I want to feel my “social status” rise, but because it will be rewarding and I will feel like I am accomplishing something with my brain other than how best I can convince someone to spend $20,000 on furniture. And for the moment, I need to feel proud of myself for knowing everything there is to know about the pieces of furniture we have on our showroom floor; that I know how it’s constructed and the stories about where each piece is from. And I need to realize that who I am is so much more than what I have been giving myself credit for.
So here’s to changing perspectives and opening myself up to whatever it is that comes next. And to not being so hard on myself in the future.