Friday, July 16, 2010

Recalibrating Perspectives

(Given my penchant towards birds in the aesthetic/allegorical senses, I felt it was a good omen that this creature found our office inviting and decided to stay.)

From Some of the nicest, most caring, and selfless people you will ever meet work for nonprofit organizations. Many of these organizations also hire very bright and well-educated individuals who contribute to an intelligent and stimulating work environment.

I don't know why, for so long, I equated a 9-5 with corporate drudgery. It's not as though that was ever instilled in me. To the contrary: my family is filled with entrepreneurs, self-starters, teachers, adventurers, artists.

The end of week 2 has brought me to this point of exhaustion, a little mental burn-out, but a general feeling of satisfied relief. As I settle into this new life, this new career, these new ideas and philosophies I wonder how it is I existed before.

Everyone I've met in this field thus far has an incredibly interesting world view. They are intellectuals, artists, and interested in the aesthetics of life. I don't know why it took me so long to find "my people," or where these people were before. Maybe I wasn't ready to step up; maybe I wasn't ready to take a seat at the table.

Regardless, I find a sense of happiness that kept eluding me all these years. I wake up the morning grateful for the day, and I drive home in the evenings with a sense of accomplishment.

Make no mistake: I'm not wholly disillusioned and wrapped up in the honeymoon phase. I am aware that I'm walking that fine line of a new relationship: where everything seems great and amazing, but both parties have been burned before and are just waiting for the red flag to fly. The freak flag, which we all have. This job wants to like me just as much as I want to like it, but we've both had our share of ill-fits and crossed connections. We're settling into this slowly, both afraid to admit how well this is working out. So far. Always with that added validation. So far lets us off the hook if something goes south.

And, of course, it's transition and it's bumpy. Just because I wake up in the morning glad to be me, glad to have my life doesn't mean I spring out of bed like some cracked-out cartoon character. Of course I still hit snooze. Who doesn't? And just because I drive home feeling accomplished doesn't mean I don't grit my teeth at traffic. My shoes still feel uncomfortable by 5pm, I still have to deal with inane bureaucratic drudgery, and I still face that 9-5 "grind." Again- who in this arena doesn't?

But it's all different now, somehow. Maybe it's the "higher purpose," aspect. Maybe it's that I had to come to this part of my life when I was ready. Maybe my priorities are different. Maybe it's because success for me now is measured in the well-being of other humans, which feels better to me. Maybe it's only two weeks into this and I have yet to reach the burn-out that's so common in the non-profit world. Who knows? All I know is that I finally have a field that, so far, seems to fit.

So far. Maybe at some point I'll lose the fear of commitment and be able to make declarative statements without addendum. Working towards this point.

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