Saturday, 20 March 2004
Every now and then, something happens that causes a shift. I recently heard from a college friend of mine, who had taken to heart something I said last time we talked months ago. I emailed her back in October, which led to some emails back and forth and then the standard two-hour phone call. We talked about life, and everything that had happened in the almost two years since she had her daughter. I told her about work, and how much I love my job, and how I finally felt like I was doing what I was meant to do instead of just what I could in order to get by.
And my successful friend, who had worked her way to thorough knowledge and experience in the top three industries in her area (weddings, tourism, and casinos - she lives in Nevada), heard a little niggly voice inside her head. She asked herself why she wasn't doing the things she really liked to do, and why she was working past her daughter's bed time most days, and always on the weekends, for shitty pay and even shittier treatment.
This woman is smart. All of my college friends are smarter than average (and I'm not just saying that because they all have this URL, I'm saying it because it's true). But this one, who you've heard me mention before as Spaghetti Western Woman and I will now call Fanta (the orange soda girl), is the one I've always thought would become famous. She will do something, whether it's a book or a tv show or an invention or whatever, something will propel her to national or international fame. (Yes, I really mean that.) And she wrote me another email a week or so ago, telling me that what I said the last time we talked made her just the least teeny bit jealous, which led her to take stock of things and try to figure out what it was she really wanted to do.
And this openness on her part (I am convinced) led to a job offer, and now she works a new job in the town she and her husband just bought a house in. She's writing for a company that sought her out, based on the stuff she used to write in her old job. She's doing work she loves (and is really, really good at), for better money and less of a commute. And she doesn't get treated like shit, she's not dumped on like she used to be, and she's finally doing something she loves.
It's silly of me, but I'm so proud. Of my friends in their thirties, most are doing what they are because they need to work. A lot of us feel (or have felt) stuck with that. We don't generally have the option of staying home, not even those of us with kids. I do have friends who are raising their children while their husbands work, but not as many as those who work in paying jobs outside the home. And a lot of us got stuck doing something that isn't necessarily what we would choose to do. I got stuck in administrative work for over ten years, something I'm not really all that good at and never really wanted to do. But I didn't know what else I could do, I didn't know what other options there were, and I got stuck into a pigeonhole where I never really belonged. Once I found my calling, it took me over five years to get out of that box and into technical writing. Eighteen months of that was unemployed time, searching and searching for someone to hire me for something I knew I could do really well.
Despite the upheavals and alarums at my company, I love my job. Some of that is very much due to my boss, who recognizes the value of what I do and trusts me to do it. But some of that is also that there is so much scope for my work there. And I am honored and thrilled that I inspired one of my friends to find that same kind of joy in her own life.
Much joy and success and fulfillment to you, Fanta, as to all of us. It took me a long time to find my joy, but it was definitely worth the wait.
If you want to: contact