Real Adult Life

a diligent over-analysis of "adultolescence"

A Labor of Love November 29, 2010

Filed under: Musings — jamiej527 @ 6:29 PM
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I grew up being told that I should pursue a “dream job.”  Don’t stop, I was told, until you find a workplace you can’t wait to arrive at each morning.  Don’t settle.  Find a job that stimulates, fulfills, and enriches your life.  One that makes you want to hop out of bed and run to the office each morning.  This ideal was painted in contrast to a created evil: taking the best job you could get, punching the clock, and biding time.  Laboring for years without much reward or satisfaction.

Now, however, I think the paradigm is a bunch of hooey.

The best job, in my opinion, is the one that adds the most value to life.  But the Dream Job paradigm fails when it ignores how a job affects the rest of a person’s life.

My mom worked 34 years at a regional drugstore chain until the company folded earlier this year.  The work didn’t have her skipping through the store doors with an eager, bursting heart each morning, but it was still her dream job.  It allowed her to coach and manage her children’s sports teams, to volunteer in our classrooms, to take extended vacations each summer.  It wasn’t mentally challenging, but it left her mentally fresh enough to give our family her attention.

I know plenty of people who stick out jobs they hate, and are miserable because of it.  But I know a greater number of people who agonize over achieving a Dream Job and are missing out on life in the process.

Loving your life is a better goal than loving your job.  I’ll take a job I tolerate with a life I love over the converse any day.


Gender June 15, 2010

Filed under: Musings — jamiej527 @ 9:02 PM
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I loved my gender studies classes.  I’m fascinated by gender differences in the media.  I love and embrace my both my femininity and andgrogyny.

I’m all about gender theory, I love it.  But gender reality sometimes sucks.

Blatant sexual harrassment isn’t part of my workplace.  But I definitely feel the pangs of working in a male-dominated environment.  I’m gonna shatter these obstacles, have no doubt, but I find myself working without a roadmap.

The worst part?  It’s all cliche.  I’m working without many role models.  My tactics, effective or not, are overlooked because they aren’t traditional.  My (mostly male) superiors promote miniature versions of themselves (ie: not me).  I spend extra time fending off advances from customers.  Wah, wah, wah….

Cliches are cliche for a reason.  They’re passionate experiences shared by large numbers of people.

Or as my Minneapolis customers would say: “Shits real, yo!”


discerning priorities April 25, 2010

Filed under: Life,Musings — jamiej527 @ 11:05 PM
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I recently blindsided myself with the realization that my life is up to me to control.

Revolutionary, right?  Hardly. Yet the concept struck me straight in the gut.  As I watched my friends careen into suburban motherhood, I recognized that I’m not cut out for The Mommy Track.  This isn’t to say I never want to be a mom, nor do I judge my friends for their decisions.  I merely recognized that I’ve always lived my life with a different sense of balance than they do.

So I pictured my life in every circumstance, letting myself feel the weight and freedom of possibility.  Graduate school out East, chasing an MBA in finance.  Setting up new roots with my current job in Arizona.  Rooming with a grad-school bound friend in Nebraska and figuring things out from there.  Testing the strength of my network in California, New York, or Massachusetts.

I took stock of what I valued.  What I was hoping to find, what I didn’t want to lose.  And I ended up deciding that I don’t want to go anywhere.

My world is here in Minnesota.  Yes, for the right adventure I’d uproot and fly.  But not only do I love what I have here, I’m proud of it.  Not every 23 year old woman is close friends with her grandparents.  I may only have a few decades-long friendships, but some people have none at all.

I’ve been told that my life is at a point of change and growth, which is it is.  And I know moving wouldn’t mean losing touch with loved ones.  But I’ve worked hard at the relationships in my life, I simply don’t want to leave them.  And I AM at a great period of growth and change.  For example, I’m establishing independent adult relationships with relatives that I love and feel blessed to experience.

Sure, I don’t know what it feels like to Chinese takeout in New York at 3 a.m..  But I do know what it’s like to drink wine coolers by firelight with my Grandma.  Fair trade.