From a Facebook status a couple of weeks ago:
A partial list of jobs I have held: babysitter, typist, front desk clerk at dorm, data entry clerk (at accounting firm, at bank, at blood bank administrative location), bookkeeper at bank, member of acting troupe, customer service rep (at power tool company), associate at law firm, claims attorney at title insurance company, photographer, copywriter, stay at home mom, communications assistant (at church). My "career trajectory" is scattershot. Heh. And soon, preschool teacher will join the list!
Yesterday I started a new job, unlike any other job I've ever done before. Well, I guess that's not completely true - it's got a lot of similarities with parenting - but it's unlike any other job I've ever done for a salary. Between 8 am and 3:30 pm, I worked as a preschool teacher at Annabel's preschool, which is run by a woman who's become a friend of ours since we moved to Fort Wayne. Right now I will be working there MWF. Next fall I might start working full-time.
I had expected the start of a new job to feel much more momentous than this has felt. I have applied for some office jobs and then occasionally cried (yes, cried!) because I was very well qualified for the position and might actually get it and have to start over again with that corporate schedule: 9-5, 5 days a week, 10 or 11 paid company holidays a year, 5 sick days a year, 2 weeks of vacation. Once I was outside of that - and after I'd started over 3 times with 2 weeks of vacation and then earned more, only to be returned to the bottom rung of vacation again at a new job - it felt like some sort of prison, especially since I always imagined that whatever I was doing would be in an office with no windows, doing something I wasn't really that interested in that could be done the same way by anyone, that didn't make use of any (many?) of my specific talents or degrees or expertise. That's what I'd imagine, and I couldn't easily imagine many other alternatives. I have more clerical/legal/office experience than any other work experience. It made sense that if I became employed by someone again - rather than making a success of my own photography business, for instance - that I'd be doing that.
Preschool teaching has come as a surprise. There was no job posting, no application (no cover letter, no resume), no confirmation of application received, no interview request, no interview, no job offer negotiation. I told Geoff a few weeks ago that I had been thinking that it would be worth telling L., the preschool director, that the next time she had a job opening, I'd be interested in applying for it; a few days later, when he picked up Annabel, he and L. talked about me coming in on Friday, and L. told Geoff that she was impressed by how good I was with the kids, which prompted Geoff to say that I'd been thinking I'd be interested in working there; the next morning, when I dropped Annabel off, she said, "So, Geoff tells me you'd like to work here. I would have asked you before, but I thought you were too busy! I can give you part-time starting in January, and full time in the fall if you want it." January got changed to December, and the money is a little less than I had anticipated, but otherwise it is kind of a dream job. For now, I'll be working 3 days a week. I'll take Annabel to school with me, spend the day with her and the other kids, and arrive home before Katie gets home from school. I'll have winter vacation along with the girls (and along with Geoff's teaching schedule), and I'll have summers off, too. In addition, I'll have Tuesdays & Thursdays to do any work for the part-time church job I'm doing, and/or to work on my photography business. (Also: to do housework, because ay yi yi.)
I spent a lot of time in November thinking about what I was thankful for and posting about it on Facebook, and oh, dear reader, it is a lot. Really, it is almost everything, or almost everything that matters. I started out the month wanting to be humorous and silly and light, being thankful for peppermint mochas and chocolate chip cookies and twinkly lights at Christmas and paint from Benjamin Moore and Homeland and Dexter and Parenthood (and I am, in fact, thankful for all of those things), but as days went by on the way to Thanksgiving, I found myself posting about the big stuff, with little stuff thrown in, because basically, it came down to what I'd posted at the end of October:
Here's the thing: over the past few years, I have been sad a lot, and felt hopeless fairly often, and wished for a different life than the one I have. So if I say things that make you roll your eyes from the saccharine Pollyanna sap of them, just ignore me. I am feeling so much better, and I am moved to share it. And with that said, allow me to say: I sure do love these three amazing human beings I live with. (I have thought that a lot this weekend.)
One woman commented, "So many people wear masks, so it is difficult for us to realize who they are and what they are feeling. Thanks for removing your mask and letting your friends in." And oh, that made me cry, because it was just right. Since I lost my job, and since we moved to Fort Wayne, I have worn a mask a lot. I am pretty sure that if you'd asked just about anyone at the church how I was doing, whether I was happy, they would have said yes, that I was fine, was pleasant, was chatty, was calm. It really is a shame to wear a mask most of the time, but how do you know when to take it off? If underneath the mask you are just destroyed, what is the point of showing everyone how poorly you're really doing? Most of the people who would see it would either not want to help, would not know how to help, would be offended, or would be profoundly uncomfortable, none of which would do me any good.
These days, I hardly ever wear any kind of mask at all, and this sunlight, right here on my skin? That's good stuff.