I've been a Library Coordinator for the blind and visually impaired for over eleven years. I'm lucky to have the job, but just like any day job, it can get old after awhile. In fact, the very term "day job" usually infers a person would rather be doing something else. Waiters would rather be acting, I'm told. I would rather be writing.
It's easy to let the minutia of a nine-to-five wear on you. The emails. The phone calls. The walk-ins. The inventory maintenance. The meetings. The reports. Oh, god, the reports... So I try to shake things up. I conduct book clubs. I teach classes on creative writing. I attend conferences. I throw my volunteers pizza parties... I do what I can to keep things interesting—for myself as much as for others.
But every eight months or so, I can't help but ask: Shouldn't I have moved on, by now? Shouldn't I have that career-oriented goal of working my way up the corporate ladder, until I'm some kind of President or CEO or something?
I remind myself that a lot of this is by choice. I passed up an opportunity to apply for a promotion a few years ago, and while there was no guarantee I would have gotten it in the first place, it was a conscious decision based on my desire to keep a low-stress job that would allow me to focus on my writing during my off-hours. But still...
Last Thursday I had one of those moments when I questioned my career path. I was conducting a search for someone who wanted biographies about gameshow hosts. Any biographical search in my database is best served best by three searches per person (ugh): Once in the title field (Pat Sajak: A Life by Richard Smith), once in the author field (My Life by Pat Sajak), and once in the annotation field (Deal of Fortune by Richard Smith, the story of Pat Sajak's rise to fame). You get the idea. Triple searches for ten gameshow hosts amounted to thirty searches, amounting to plenty of time for me to ask, "What am I doing with my life?"
But the emotional response to my answer surprised me: I was looking up talking books about gameshow hosts for a blind person! I probably had the ONLY job in the country that involved looking up talking books about gameshow hosts for a blind person! How many people get to do THAT and get paid by the hour? And I found myself realizing: Holy shit, my job is fucking awesome.
It's easy to mistake familiarity for boredom, or the mundane for the pointless. Not everything we do is directly related to our big-picture desires. You might have a dream yourself, and you might be discouraged by how far away its full realization seems. The time you bide along the way may feel like a nuisance. Your day job may feel like an obstacle. But sometimes, it helps to give your brain a perspective-induced happy pill and acknowledge things really aren't that bad.
Don't quit your day job, they say. I say, take pride in it. Dreams take time to reach their destination. You may as well enjoy the journey.