Wednesday, June 21, 2006

what's next

Tomorrow is the last day of school. Four years ago I put myself back into the world of campus bookstores and four-hour classes and syllabi and found out very quickly that I basically knew nothing about this thing I signed up for. During the day I worked for free at different hospitals, schools, and state-funded programs (the most random of which was waking up at the crack of dawn to test the hearing of wiggling newborns that were born overnight) and went to school at night. It wasn't the work that got to me, it was the amount of knowledge that I felt obligated to acquire, the fact that I always felt behind the eight ball, even when I really wasn't or, rather, when it was kind of okay to be; I tried to pretend that there was no learning curve and that I had to know everything immediately. Every time I started to feel like I had an idea what I was doing, it was time to go work someplace else. It's just the nature of an academic program, of course, to need to expose you to every possible part of the field you're going into. Some people thrive on bouncing around and never being in one place for too long, but I found it exhausting and I was anxious all the time and I just wanted to be settled.

Now it's been two years since I've graduated and I feel pretty good. I like being my own little department; if it goes right then I sort of own it, and if it doesn't then well, let me reconvene with myself and figure it out. Working with kids means standing on your head, literally and figuratively, and I pretty much love it. If I'm going to work hard I'm glad it's no longer about Smart Speed, which is actually the name of an e-business conference that I once sucked at developing; the first company that I worked for after college helped expose me to the most mind-numbingly pointless part of corporate America. My meetings then were just me listening to office jargon, all strategic initiatives and running the numbers and let's take this offline. I do miss working in an office sometimes, because it can be fun and interesting and, well, hardly anyone throws up on you. But I guess I just mean I'm glad to know now that it wasn't for me, because I was always bothered by the thought that it just didn't feel like I fit there. I did fit at happy hour afterwards, but alas, post-work cocktails do not a career make.

I guess I finally feel like I've got the day job somewhat under control, and now there are other things that I want to think about and pursue. It's been a long time since I've thought seriously about writing again. The sheer volume of the crap that I write here is just one indication of how much I miss it. It's also an indication of how much I like revealing my neuroses to people I've never met, but that's another issue.

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