Last week, in a fit of boredom at work – boredom with my job, the “career” (if you can call it that) path and just life in general – I signed up for the GRE.
I’m going to teach! I proclaimed to everyone I told. That was the plan after college: to become a teacher. But then one thing led to another and the money for grad school just wasn’t coming. Then that job in Silicon Valley happened and with it came this thought that Yeah, I could do this for the rest of my life. I can plan meetings and order food for said meetings. I can gossip with my coworkers and snack whenever I want and leave early and come late and drink on the patio with my boss! I can do this.
Alas, life outside of Silicon Valley has been one big slap in the face. Work isn’t actually like that. Companies don’t ply you with goodies in order to keep you working all hours of the day; they don’t stock fancy coffee; they don’t buy you lunch; they certainly don’t look too nicely upon drinking on the job (not that I would call what we did up there “drinking on the job”; it was more like ending-the-day-early-to-have-a-drink-but-still-on-company-property – completely different). In short, life outside of Silicon Valley sucks pretty bad.
And it’s occurred to me that no – hell no – I cannot do this for the rest of my life. The work is mind-numbingly boring and the pay is atrocious. Coworkers are a crap shoot – sometimes you get lucky and have an awesome group of work friends; and sometimes you end up with people who, well, who suck. And when the people suck, man does it make work just about unbearable. No amount of goodies would make what I’m doing now in any way fun.
For the past couple of months I’ve been throwing out ides of things I could do – jobs that could be careers and that would be challenging. Challenging enough so that I wouldn’t have to depend on Wes for all my mental stimulation since he actually gets that at work and wants to just unwind when he gets home but instead has me, nipping at his heels like a little puppy. Play with me! Talk to me!
I toyed around with nursing school and law school and an MBA and, holy hell, what did I not think of. Yes, I even thought of an engineering degree (We’ll solve this problem of getting transferred, I’ll just do what you do!), though I never said that one out loud. I wasn’t gung ho on any of them. They were just things to do to get out of what I was already doing, and that’s hardly the way to start a new career. I let my mind drift to all the things I could do as a trophy wife, which is surely what I would become with all the moving and not having a career. But that bored me even more.
And then one night I started a new book and the main character was an English professor and I smiled to myself as I thought, I could do that. In truth, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do: teach English literature, though to high schoolers. It was the plan throughout highschool and the plan throughout college and then one day it just wasn’t the plan. And I’m not sure why. Because San Francisco didn’t pan out like it was supposed to? Because I wanted more money so my mind drifted to law school? Because I wanted job security so I looked into nursing? Because I wanted to be able to leave my job at my job so I just kept on doing what I was doing? All of the above and many more reasons.
And then, the further I got away from the year I graduated the more daunting going back to school became. So I kept on being okay with mediocrity.
So perhaps it’s a good thing that Wes got transferred down here and I started this job that I am bored to tears with. Perhaps it was the push I needed to do something with my life. Yeah, I know, teaching pays shit too. But, whatever, at least I’ll be challenged and I’ll never wonder if I could have done it.