It’s eight in the morning, in a cubical in the middle of the row, in the middle of the building, in a building full of cubicles in rows, on a campus full of buildings full of cubicles, full of rows full of people. This campus happens to be in a county full of farms, which is besides the point because now it only grows cubes and phone lines. It’s a Monday.
I sit down in my swivel chair, armed by the power of my eighth cup of coffee, with all the daring of a skydiver I press the power button on my computer and begin to check my voicemail from the weekend. “You have 43 unheard messages, to listen press one.” I gulp and press one. Thirty minutes later I check my to do list for the day. It reads a whooping 123 things to do in the next eight or nine hours. I can only pray to the office gods there is some overlap between the things to do and the calls I have yet to make. Several very angry return calls. Two lines on my phone start ringing simultaneously. I am already shaking, overwhelmed, and angry.
This is not the dream job. This is not even a job where I can learn skills for the dream job. This job doesn’t even provide the opportunity to find out if the dream job is the dream job. This is a job that pays rent. In reality it pays a lot more than rent. It affords the comfort food at the diner I go to when I come home and collapse without energy to cook. It also covers the gin and tonics I kick back while I kick up on feet on my fellas front porch. It takes care of going out for pizza and long island ice tea with the girls. On a really good weekend the cash flocks to local plays, concerts, stand-up comedy, and used bookstores. It isn’t what I want though. I want to trade money for real experience. I’d like to cover rent and use the library. Concerts in the park, playing Frisbee at the beach, bike rides, practicing art, it’s all free. Also, I’d get less fat.
Somewhere in that job I melted down. I think grad school was the final straw. After putting more money into higher education than some people do toward their first house I was pretty disillusioned with where life was taking me. Hours spent nights and weekends volunteering while working 40 hours a week and full time class loads. It only resulted in more volunteering. Networking events, meeting with people within my company who have jobs that might align better with what I’ve studied. After meeting the same person four over six months at various events and individual meetings she still didn’t remember my name. So I took a big step back.
Three years prior I was doing work I loved. Selling books is not a glamorous job nor does it pay well. It won’t keep the lights on, the water running, a roof above you, and food in the fridge all at the same time. I recommend picking your favorite two and going from there. I loved it though. I loved the way books smell, cliche, I know. Stacking, re-stacking, and finding hidden books in another corner to re-stack again. I was enamored with books as child. With flashlight in hand and blankets over my head trying to escape to magical worlds I could stay up all night. I also love people, like customers. Which most of my coworkers and very dear friends see as an act of lunacy. Talking books may actually surpass reading them because it becomes more personal and real when someone is relating their story to fiction (or non-fiction). After six years of working two or more jobs to stay financially independent I called it quits. Enter Cube World.
So after the meltdown of office life I went to my sanctuary The Public Library. Normally I’m not much of a self-help reader, in fact any non-fiction stretches me a bit. If anything could help right my life though, it had to be a book. I searched through the stacks and came out with four. Most recently I finished Roadmap by the folks at Roadtrip Nation. I didn’t know it was a television show, I didn’t know there was a group out there taking trips to help define themselves and their place in the world, I didn’t know a thing about the interviews. Still, it seemed better than the books on how to survive a bad work environment. So I went with it.
This is project number 1. Write a blog about your Core Interests.
The love of my life has been a paperback fiction. So that’s what I’ll write about, books, the places they take me, the ways I push past what I’ve always read, the community I’ve built around them. There are other Core Interests I’m sure I’ll write about. I like physical activity like kayaking, bicycling, and running. I’m an intermittent knitter, sewer, and crafter. I enjoy cooking internationally with a group of girlfriends. Acrylics, watercolors, and oils make marvelous messes. There are still free cultural events out there, I’m sure they will turn up here too. All of it revolves around the story though, making my life a more interesting story for me to live and tell.
Welcome to page one of my story.
(For more information on Roadtrip Nation go to: Roadtrip Nation)