Thursday, October 28, 2010

From the Mind of Brittany Wilson

I am sitting at the front desk of the office of my current temporary position. I'm the receptionist for the week. Not a glam job by all means. Actually, it's quite boring. I'd be completely miserable if it weren't for one thing... the company I'm working for has a personal chef that makes me (and the rest of the office) FREE lunch EVERYDAY! How rad is that? I know! It really is the highlight of my day - one that consumes many of my thoughts.

Since I've had a surplus of time to do nothing (no books aloud (and surfing the web can be entertaining only for so long...)) - I've been able to allow my mind to wonder. Here are some of the things that have been occupying my brain space:

Talking About the Weather...
I am amazed at how well this works. I've taken note of the conversations I've had with people for several years now (and especially now as I find myself moving from job to job) and talking about the weather is one sure way to get a conversation moving. It's a common ground everyone can relate to. I guess it seems so odd to me because for the longest time I thought it was simply a saying:

"What'd you talk about?"

"Oh, the weather."

I think many people (including myself) use this tactic to fill the otherwise awkward silence. I think I've had at least ten conversations on the subject this week.

Interesting People
I've been pondering for the past several months about what makes a person interesting. Are they interesting because interesting things happen to them? Or are they interesting because they make interesting things happen to them? Or perhaps it's either one but it's all about the delivery? Maybe I am interesting but I lack the charisma to relay my interesting life? Yeah right. I am not interesting.

Choosing a Career
I am not one of those fortunate people that knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up. Instead, I had a million ideas floating through my brain. Then when it came time to commit, I floundered and chose something that (I thought) would open many doors of opportunity. Instead, the dual degree I received in business management and marketing is far too broad. I have some qualifications for many jobs, when in reality what I need is all the qualifications for one job. I am envious of Wyatt who in four years will come out of school without a doubt in his mind about what kind of job he will be looking for. I should've narrowed my discipline and chosen a career that would make looking for a job much easier. (i.e. an engineer, a teacher, a psychiatrist, etc.) Instead I now find myself marching through life aimlessly, with a constant internal battle, wondering what I should make of myself. It is exhausting.

Quality of Life
I can honestly say, despite the fact I am frustrated with myself for not being able to "make something of myself", I have no regrets about quiting my last job. For two-and-a-half years I was miserable. And I can honestly say that even though I am unemployed and am making peanuts as a temporary employee, I am happy. I am really happy. I didn't realize what kind of negative effect my previous job had on me. So maybe it doesn't matter what kind of career one pursues as long as they are happy with the atmosphere of their job? I've always thought company culture to be a major influence in the happiness one experiences at work. Especially now as I've had the opportunity to temp at other companies. (Especially here as I'm fed lunch each day!) So does it matter what you do as long as you like where you work, if you like your coworkers, and feel like your company values the work you do? Perhaps.

The Importance of a Degree
Yeah, all my recent thoughts are job related. Something that has been heavy on my mind is my degree. I've entertained the thought several times to submit my application to wait tables at the little French bakery just down the road. The number one thing that keeps me from doing this is that I'd be turning my back on my degree. What was the point of going to college if I'm just going to bag it anyway? I'll admit, I'm even more concerned with "What will people think?" It seems like as humans we measure each other's value based on income levels and by the title on our business cards. Why? Right now, as I sit as the fill-in receptionist, I feel like people are judging me and are making the assumption that I'm a dim-witted broad. I feel like announcing over the PA that I did go to college, I did graduate, I did hold a semi-impressive position for the past 2.5-years, and that I can do far more than answer phones. Perhaps I'm just reading into things that aren't there? I might be a bit sensitive.

The Nobility of Motherhood
I think this whole job/career thing has taken an extra toll on me lately because of my current situation in life. I'm in between "jobs". I'm wrapping-up my twenties (years associated with education, working and holding a career) and moving into my thirties... those child-bearing years. I've entertained the thought of "biding my time" until I do receive the blessing of becoming a mother. My qualms with this: 1) who knows when that will be and 2) shouldn't I aspire to something more than just looking for something to "pass the time"? And then I let society creep into my mind and wonder if I want motherhood to define my life. A noble role I sincerely believe. I'm just afraid of what I have to say for myself when I look back on life. About what I did with myself when I didn't have children, what I aspired to be, how I utilized my strengths and talents, did I come out stronger?

I just feel like I've been in Wyatt's shadow lately. That he's the one doing all the hard work to provide for our family. That my work in the background (cooking, cleaning, shopping, paying bills, etc.) is insignificant. I'm not jealous, I'm just discouraged. I think in today's society there's very little acknowledgement of the role of a mother (or wife in my case). Society is just concerned with what you do to bring home the bacon. They couldn't care less that you're the one shopping for the bacon.

Then other thoughts cross my mind, what happens if something happened to Wyatt (who we're planning on being the sole provider)? What if I need to go back to work and I don't have a "foundation" to build upon because I chose to "bide my time"? What if (I really hope this isn't the case!) Wyatt and I split up and I need to fend for myself? Perhaps there is a lack of faith on my part but I just can't shake the pressure I feel to become more successful than I am.

Am I alone in my thoughts? Does anyone else feel this way?


Abbie said...

Wow. A very thought provoking thought. So that I don't ramble on and on let me try to narrow my thoughts to two things:
1) Think of what an even more wonderful mother you will be if you do not bide your time. I obviously don't live with you nor watch your day to day actions but through your blog I see someone who follows their dreams and achieves goals. You complete marathons, triathlons, you change direction when something isn't fulfilling in life, you keep a warm and inviting home, you start family traditions, you get out in nature. Don't sell yourself short. :)
2) I understand the feeling of being in someone's shadow. I stay home every day and often have no other adult contact until Scott gets home. I was out biking with Ella yesterday and saw three men and one woman in business suits and yearned for a job that would give me adult interaction instead of my conversations about kitties, airplanes, going to the bathroom and naps. :)

I honestly feel like I could copy and paste what you wrote and put it on my own blog, that's how similar my thoughts are to yours. So you aren't alone. I think it's great that you shared and beyond that, I think it's totally normal to be feeling the way you do.

Find what is fulfilling to you, what do you want to do right now? While you can? And then do it! Live life with as few regrets as possible. :)

I could go on and on but I think I had better go attend to my daughter. LOL. :)

Andrea said...

Wow, so many internal reactions and thoughts in relation to your post. As a mother, I feel those exact things, too. It's so hard to resist "the grass is greener somewhere else" at any stage of life. But I think you're doing an awesome job of living life. Trust me. Once you're tied down to kids (and there's both wonderful positives and negatives to that career, as well), you'll think back to childless years and wonder if you had maximized your life to the fullest, and then some. But I think you're doing a pretty good job of living with no regrets and seizing opportunities.

And re: your too broad notion of education, the pendulum swings both ways. My education is so particular that unless I use it exactly what it was made for, I am also destined to be at the bottom of the totem pole. And it doesn't make it very easy as a mom to find a job that will work with my situation or that is worth giving up raising my kids for. My corporate lawyer friend can't find a job to save his life right now, because he has a specialty.

The biggest thing is to live your life happily. We got sucked into a train-wreck "Wife Swap" episode the other day. One of the dad's was Ivy-league educated, but had decided he was happiest being a clown. Sure, he got slack for it outside of his home couldn't afford a lot, but he was happy and his wife embraced his decision.

Kelsey said...

One of the best things I ever did was leave a really stable high paying job for a really low paying one that could have been cut at any time due to budget problems. I knew it was a good choice at the time, but didn't know how much happier I would be. That being said, I think if you want the bakery you should go for it. Also as far as biding time, don't waste your time. Don't don't don't waste your time waiting. Do something, anything that you like, even if just a hobby on the side. When I think back on a lot of wasted time that I will never see again... ugh. Finally, bacon is yucky so don't buy it. P.S. I really enjoyed your post. And the weather today.

Jen said...

First of all, let me say, you are extremely interesting. Otherwise, I wouldn't waste my time with you....

I love this post. You are really good at getting what's inside your head out. That is an amazing gift! You are super talented at written expression!

As for the weather, I think that it's a NorthWest obsession. It is kind of my pet peeve.

And, as for career....I am in your exact same boat. I have no idea. Ånd I have to get an idea eventually, because I will need to be a co-provider someday when all of these little people who keep calling me "Mom" are in school. If you figure this out, keep me posted.

I am so happy you are out of you "good job" that made you unhappy and are being fed daily. I can't wait to hear what you've been feasting on. I guess you will need to run pretty far tomorrow?

You are super cool, Brittany Wilson!

Josette said...

oh man, i feel like i could write a whole post of my own in response to your post. i will try to make my comment brief.
1. i try not to talk about the weather due to the fact that i know it is pretty much just a filler. but i will talk about the weather in desperate times. are interesting to me. i think some people are interesting to some and not interesting to others. kapeesh? are tough. i for one was more than happy to stop working and focus on raising chuck and so far have been MORE than happy to do so. i have no yearning to be in the workforce...well maybe a little yearn to choregraph...but that's it. oh, and a little yearn to have more money!! i think you have to find whatever works for you and makes you happy...which is hard sometimes. OH, and i also think that a lot of times it depends on who you know and the experience you have in order to get the job.

okay, i have gone on long enough. you are doing great and i love that you always follow through with everything you do. find whatever makes you happy and do that.

AJ said...

I want to talk about all these things...but in person. I suppose the phone would work as well.

Heidi Quist said...

I think we might be twins! Well, in a few ways. I've had a lot of similar thoughts and experiences.
First, about the weather-if no one talked about it, I would make more mistakes than I already do about what I wear on certain days because I don't have TV. Casually talking about the weather can be a real service to other people!
About the career thing, well, I'm well into my 30s and still on the fence, but I've been fortunate to have a few good job experiences to shape my direction. And I've done a LOT of temping, too, which has had its ups! Sometimes even if I've liked a job, I'm happy to move on to something different.
Anyway, just keep praying about it, and the Lord will direct your path!