So, you have probably clicked on the link to this blog sarcastically, to see what type of crap I’m shoveling; because EVERYONE KNOWS a career is the dream, and a job-- better known as the dead end job-- is the nightmare. So, what in the Sam Hill am I talking about?? Let me first tell you, you’re absolutely right. Gaining a career should be everyone’s goal (side note: entrepreneurship is also a career). But, should our FIRST paying position be a dream come true? Do we have the character, strategy, experience, and appreciation necessary to excel in our career without first kissing a few proverbial frogs; and I use the term “few” loosely??
Where’s all this coming from?
Well, your favorite Know- it - All Blogger *clears throat* recently became a City Carrier Assistant for The United States Postal Service. What’s that? CCA is an entry level position at USPS. We do what the carriers do but for less money and not-so-hot benefits because we aren’t “permanent” or “career” employees-- in hopes of eventually becoming full-time career employees; which can take anywhere from 6 months to 6 years. Disclaimer: there is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing this line of work as your permanent career. Many USPS workers have raised families and created comfortable lives for themselves in this profession. In the context of this blog, it is a mere job due to a lack of conductivity to my personal career-objectives, skills,and purpose.
Now, that I have hopefully curved a reader’s desire to send me hate mail-- without further ado I present, The Benefits of Having a Job instead of a Career : for a Season.
1. Funds to Pursue Your Career
Question: How will you finance the pursuit of your dream gig? You need seasonally appropriate interview clothes and resume copies on resume paper (perhaps professionally done). You will also require toll money, gas money, or train/bus fare-- or all three-- not just for the interview process but to travel to and from work for weeks prior to your first paycheck. The career position may have specialized upfront cost or equipment-- which you may or may not be reimbursed for. Then there’s childcare!! You incur many of these cost whether you are offered the opportunity or not. And, asking mom and dad for the millionth loan may not be an option. Your friends may not believe in lending friends money, and even if they do… you might want to opt out of becoming the “I need a loan” friend. The solution is simple… get a job (also, you’ll take the pressure off of yourself to get into your chosen industry swiftly-- AND avoid beginning the wrong career just to have an income). Get the cash flowing and then work on doing what you really want to do. For me, seeking a full-time creative-nonfiction staff writing position that supports good causes and pays well is… tough to put it mildly. It may take some time-- in fact it has taken some time and continues to take more time. But I know it will happen!!! However, I cannot afford to be unemployed or underemployed until I get discovered ;-)
2. Heightens Appreciation When Career is Obtained
Living in shoebox apartments will make you frickin love your house! Years of window shopping create a grateful and thoughtful purchaser… well maybe not; but you see where I’m going with this. Dessert is sweeter when you had to eat Lima beans or worse, okra!!! to get it. Depending on what you want to do with your life, you may be in for one heck of a journey; face those days with gladness knowing the victory will be even better. When I’m climbing a million stairs, tripping over cracks, carrying 3 bundles of mail in my arms and a bag full of parcels while practically running to get back to the office on time-- in between being lost; I get the vision of myself. I see myself writing, coming up with innovative marketing ideas, promoting good causes, and changing the world :-)
3. Challenges You in an Untraditional Way
In actuality, it’s easy to work hard at your dream. When you love something-- it never feels like work. It’s no big deal to wake up early and go to bed late to make it happen. But spending 40 hours a week doing what you don’t like, care about, or have any interest in-- that’s a challenge. It requires discipline-- an attribute this generation is seriously lacking. It challenges you to be responsible even when it’s not enjoyable. Which I personally needed...because us artsy types are so fickle.
4. Teaches You Certain Things About Yourself
You don’t know what you don’t know-- that’s one of my favorite quotes. Until you are in a certain situation, there are certain aspects of yourself that you will never be knowledgeable about. Being a mail carrier showed me just how geographically dumb I was/am. When you need GPS to walk around the corner-- you are directionally challenged. Oh, and of course-- I can’t read a map. That’s a deficiency I didn’t know I had, but am now working to conquer. God forbid there is ever an issue with my phone; my 4G, or the satellites - or whatever. I should know how to follow a map or at least how to go back the way I came. Sheesh.
5. Memories, Connections, Compassion, Diverse Experiences
Carrier Academy was a riot. We had the optimal blend of class clown disruptions and informative yet fun instructors. This may sound lame, but we bonded. We ate lunch together, learned about each other’s families, old jobs, and dreams; Kavel is an aspiring comedian--Torrie is engaged and wants to wear Air Force Ones at her wedding--Tiffany wants to go back to school for respiratory therapy. I wouldn’t give that 4 days back for anything. I also gained an enormous respect and compassion for postal carriers. I remember asking a mail lady to stay off my lawn a few years ago. Now, I know why she nearly decapitated me with her eyes; walking back down to the street/curb doubles their steps and consequently the length of their work day. And then there’s the experience itself. I have already carried mail in pouring rain, hail, snow, and heat, I am now familiar with neighborhoods I didn’t know existed and my memory is sharper too. God willing, I have quite a bit of life to live-- who knows when this new found know-how or these connections will come in handy.
Bonus: Unexpected Benefits
My legs though :-) Full Tina Turner mode!
Taking a job is not all bad. It doesn’t mean you’re trapped. You can and should pursue your dreams. And when you “make it” you’ll bring so much to the table that only you could bring-- due to where you have been, what you have done, who you have met, and the work ethic you’ve built. And those attributes will enhance your originality, invaluability, and staying power once you reach your destination!