Just who is the five o-clock hero?

21 09 2010

I lost out on a job; I am so relieved.

I shouldn’t be: I should be freaking out. Yes, I’m still teaching, but that covers rent, nothing more. And I do have a bit of money in the bank, but not enough for me to be relieved instead of freaking out.

So why aren’t I freaking out?

One obvious reason is that I didn’t want the job. It’s at the same place I’ve been working, so I know people there, I like the organization well enough, and it’s an easy commute. Oh, and the job would have been fine, too.

I just didn’t want it. The pay would have been okay, and the work conditions not-onerous, and there are parts of the job I think I would have enjoyed. But I was worried—worried—that I’d be offered the position, and stuck in a sideways corporate position which was more comfortable than challenging. Yes, I could have paid for things besides rent with this job—no small thing, and why I would have felt I had to take it, had it been offered to me—but jesusmaryandjoseph did I move to New York City for. . . this?

Okay, so that’s over the top, and completely unfair to the job itself. But I did take risks to move here (some of which I’m still trying to pay off in the not-rent portion of my financial obligations), and at some point it seems a waste of that risk to settle for something merely because it’s safe.

Easy for me to say, I know: I don’t have a partner or kids or a mortgage, and safety and settling matter when there are people relying upon you. Risk calculation changes when you’re responsible for someone else.

I am responsible for no one else. Whether that’s good or bad matters less than the bare fact of it itself, which means if I am to take responsibility for myself, then I need to pay attention not just to my bank account, but to the whole of my life.

Truth be told, I’m not very good at that, and too often anxiety and fear cloud my sensibilities and make me uneasy to try—to risk—what I may actually be able to do.

This 9-5 job would have been a respectable reason for me to hold off on those risks, on those efforts, and I have no good faith that those efforts will pay off.

But Christ, all that it took to bring me here: isn’t it time to take a deep breath and go?

***

And on that point: listen to and enjoy Poi!


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5 responses

22 09 2010
dmf

a decade or more in now I have a number of friends who are still in nyc/nj adjunct limbo commuting from college to college train to train and living out of backpacks/bikebags during the day only to come home exhausted and hoping for some day, there is a story somewhere about rolling a big rock up a steep hill. the harder part is balancing out what is gained by holding out, moving on, and what might be built in terms of home/commitments/community by staying put. my friends with kids have been grounded by such comittments but they often feel buried by the compromises involved. where is our guidebook for the perplexed?

22 09 2010
geekhiker

I’ve never known which path is better myself; perhaps I never will. At least not until I can find a landlord who will accept “I’m working on pursuing my dream career!” in lieu of rent…

22 09 2010
absurdbeats

@dmf: Why don’t you become the new Maimonides?

@geekhiker: I’ve been foolish soooooooooo many times, but while my finances are shot, when I look at those who chose safety-first, it’s not always clear that I’m the one who’s made the mistakes.

Or maybe we all do, no matter what.

22 09 2010
dmf

ab, afraid that i could only offer a guide by the perplexed so you will have to lead the way for us, lions and tigers and bears oh my

22 09 2010
dmf

ps got to talk revolutionary politics with patricia mcfadden this eve, took me back to the old anti-apartheid protest days when i thought i could understand such matters, if only things were so simple…

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