Heigh-ho. Heigh-ho.

Sometimes when I drag myself to work in the mornings, I stop and wonder how I ever ended up working in a federal government office. It’s by no means a horrible career — good job security; the people are okay and the pay and benefits aren’t too bad.  But it’s boring and pointless and I keep thinking there must be a more productive, more meaningful way to spend 8 hours of my life every day.

Federal public servant never once came up in any of the dreams and aspirations I had as a child.  I had a lot of other crazy career goals as a youngster:  farmer, boss, detective, scuba diver, psychiatrist, undertaker, meteorologist, rich person, chef, crossing-guard….The list is endless because I wanted to be something different every week.

I envy and admire people who’ve known what they wanted to be since they were infants and pursued that goal/passion with single-minded determination. I’ve always been all over the map.  However:

Some careers I think maybe I should have pursued:

  • TV writer
  • Lawyer
  • Barber
  • Stand-up Comic
  • Journalist

 And, some careers I’m really glad I didn’t end up with:

  • Mall washroom maintenance person
  • Prostitute
  • Oprah’s PA
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Crab fisherman

15 responses to “Heigh-ho. Heigh-ho.

  1. I wonder every day how the hell I ended up in my job too.

    Andyeah, I’m with you on the dental hygenist thing. At least the dentist gets whacks of money though why you would choose to play in people’s mouths for a living is beyond me. But the hygenist? Scraping gunk off people’s theeth for what is propably a pretty measly salary… Ugh.

  2. I totally identify with that sense of “This isn’t what I want to do… but I don’t know what I want to do… so I might as well do this because it pays well and offers job security” – such a temptation to settle.

    …That’s partly why I’m trying to get the heck outta Dodge – terrified of falling into the public servant trap.

    *No offense to public servants – my Mom and several friends are currently, and I once was when I worked as a student – if what you do satisfies you either directly through the work itself or indirectly through financing your aspirations… it just seems like “public servant” is the default occupation in this city … one that just isn’t for me.

  3. Don’t get me started.

    Too late.
    Started with big dreams. Played professionally in a rock band, didn’t succeed, and am now working in an industry where I play successful musicians’ music continuously through the day.
    That’s some kind of Instant Kharma, isn’t it?

    By the way, you left ‘bike courier’ off the list of jobs you’re glad you didn’t end up with.

    …and (being an East Coaster) what’s wrong with being a crab fisherman? Noble gig, I would think. A little smelly on a hot day, maybe…

  4. Ya, what’s wrong with crab fisherman? I wouldn’t mind being a bike courier either. About 30 years ago. (I wouldn’t ride on the sidewalk XUP, I promise.)

  5. Jazz – I was torn between dental hygienist and WalMart cashier. On the one hand WalMart makes me crazy with their every 15 second announcements and crappy stuff, but on the other hand there are some really, really gross mouths out there. Sometimes my dental hygienist tells me stories.

    Tania – Oh lordy, I have a default job. Yes, get out while the gettin’s good. We’ll all still be here if nothing else works out for you. Go – do it for all of us!!

    JB – Crab fishermen work like 22 hours a day in the cold yankin’ big nets full of creepy sea life stuff. And then there’s that whole spending your day on a crabbing boat. Man, I hate those things. I don’t like crabs much either.

    Robin – Bike courier was actually one of the jobs that once crossed my mind when I was young. I liked the outfits.

  6. Don’t you think that after a time the barber begins to see cutting hair on the same head over and over as pointless and boring?

  7. After lengthy consideration, I have decided the job I would least want would be janitor for a peep show.

    That really makes working in a travel agency seem not so bad after all.

  8. Work.
    1/The crap part of your life that you perform in order to be able to do what you want with the rest of your life.
    2/ The crap par of anything someone else hires you to do because they don’t want to do it themselves.
    3/ The place you can go and earn money while making great fun of the gal/ guy, that hired you to do the crap they don’t want to do themselves.

    Never let the bastards get you down. It isn’t what you are it’s what you do to earn money. If it is relatively clean and safe you have about 3/4 of the world beat all to hell.

  9. I am rather surprised how much I enjoy each of my three jobs. Could be the fact that none of them last more than 3-4 hours at a time. Yes, it is definitely that time factor. That must be my tolerance level, then it’s time for a change.

  10. Dr. John – Probably almost everybody grows weary of their job at some point, but at least a barber sees the fruits of his labour immediately. Someone comes in shaggy and leaves kempt. If you’re sick for a week, people notice. They’re either happy or not happy with the cut. Where I am, I work at some tiny bit of something that supposedly is a fraction of a cog in a big giant wheel somewhere. I never know where what I do ends up, though I have good reason to suspect that 99% never goes anywhere. That’s very demoralizing. I could leave for a month and there would be no ripple.

    Dr. Monkey (2 docs in a row!!). Sorry, I know. My abruptness pisses a lot of people off.

    Stella – Ya, that would be ultra-yucky.Travel agent is something I thought about for a while, but then everyone started making their own arrangements online. And then I also heard that you don’t really get to travel much yourself — just send other people on fabulous vacations. Still, it must have gratifying moments when people are all excited about their trip or come back and tell you how much fun they had??

    Bandobras – Oh ya, I know how grateful I should be that I have this job, which somehow makes it even worse. A lot of people don’t like public servants because they think we get paid a lot to do nothing and we whine too much. And I can understand that. But we don’t really get paid that much.

    Violetsky – It breaks up your day nicely and you get to switch to something completely different. And it sounds like you’re kind of your own boss for at least one of your jobs??

  11. Yes. Being your own boss definitely has advantages. If I don’t feel like working that particular time, well, suddenly I am really busy and you’ll just have to see me at my convenience. I’ve not lost any clients through that. The other one gives me about 5-6 hours leeway. The earlier I work, the earlier I get home. Or I could be late and suffer the traffic.

  12. Heheh… sooooooooo relatable XUP, from one government employee to another. The truth is, I actually (gasp!) enjoy my work. It’s by no means my passion. No, that would be writing, but as jobs go, I actually like my IT stuff and I really really like my group, so….
    I think the way I rationalized it long ago was this:
    Your job is something you do to get money. You have to be able to respect it, and tolerate it, and you should be able to enjoy it if you’re lucky, but most of us are not going to get that noble job where we’re saving lives or changing the world for 8 hours a day, or where we’re doing something we’re really passionate about. You have to be able to get your passion from somewhere else. For me, that’s from my writing, my family, and my community. that’s where I get my fulfillment. Liking my job just gets to be a bonus. Sometimes though, it does get extremely frustrating when I don’t have enough time to spend with family or do my writing or community work because of the job. It’s like “I work for my life, not live for my work”.
    People in jobs I admire the most are nurses, teachers and firemen. The reason being they help others daily in a very tangible way, and their jobs aren’t considered prestigious, or give them power, like doctors or police officers (although I totally respect them too).
    And about dentists, I once heard they had a really high suicide rate… Maybe because everyone hates going to see them?

  13. Violetsky – Glad to see someone’s happy with their lot in life.

    Kimberly – Indeed!

    Noha – A lot of people who hate their jobs adopt that philosophy and I try to tell myself that over and over, too, but it’s 8-9 hours of my day, 5 days a week, 360 weeks a year. That’s a lot of time in my life that I have to spend doing something totally pointless that makes me unhappy. How healthy is that? It’s terrible. Once upon a time people spent their entire day with their families and neighbours and friends, working on their own land to produce food and other goods to help them live. You were completely and constantly in touch with all the important things in your life. Your food, for instance was right there at your feet — you planted, nurtured, harvested and cooked it yourself. Now we spend hours at some place we hate to get money to buy some unidentifiable food product that comes from who-knows-where. It all seems wrong somehow.