To Job or Not to Job
Here's how I know that the Jawa feels ownership over my life: for the past few weeks I've been flirting with getting a "real" job. I saw an ad on Craigslist, answered it, and got an interview. In the end, it didn't work out - the timing, not so good, given that earlier this week I was taken to task by my brokers for "not producing" -- but the process certainly showed me plenty about my present life.
"No, Dad," stammered the panicked Jawa, when I told him it was likely I was about to get a full-time job. "Who's going to pick me up from school?"
Understand here that the Jawa is capable of producing several vehement responses to a particular topic. Often those responses are calculated and/or irritating. Not so this time. His outburst, happening as we drove home from Destination Science camp, was completely without guile. It was honest as it was unfocused, the desperate ravings of a child suddenly pushed to the edge.
Which of course made me think that much harder about the decision at hand -- assuming there would be a decision to make. What is a job worth? An instant release from the world of unpaid bills, the scythe hanging over your head 365 days a year. Perhaps a new car? We could send the Subaru to the great wannabe SUV home in the sky, or sell it to some 25-year-old just moved to the Upper Haight from Vermont.
Would it mean happiness, however? Would I spring out of bed each morning, eager to attack the day's challenges?
Every so often, and usually in a magazine about actors or writers, some guy will be talking about the importance of "the work," and how everything else is a distraction. Personally, I can't imagine what they're talking about. In fact, it's embarassing to hear some guy talking about "the work," as if it's a massive force or a noun you can actually touch. To me, "the work" has always been something to be avoided or tackled because there's no way to avoid it.
This, I admit, is not good.
So would this new job contain "the work" that I loved? Would I survive the all-important 6 month cliff, coming back to the office for month 7 without falling into an unfocused haze? So far, that has never happened. Generally, every "real" job I've gotten has ended in at least semi-disaster, with me sitting on some bench somewhere watching unemployed people walk casually around through the lenses of green-eyed envy.
And now, with the Jawa's panic, I tried to picture what this job would be like. And wondering what, exactly, it would take for me to get truly excited about a full-time job. It's looking more and more like that might have to happen eventually, given how completely I have failed to impress my real estate bosses.
When would I go to the gym? Would I quickly gain 20 lbs. thus taking years off of my already tenuous lifespan? How would the Jawa fare as a latchkey kid? No doubt there are many Brandeis parents ready to step into my volunteer shoes, but what about the juice I get from all the time I spend there?
I pictured massive loads of laundry, waiting for my attention every weekend. Rushing to BART after dropping the Jawa at school. Working late on Wednesdays so I would be able to leave early on Tuesday to coach basketball.
So when people would ask, "Well, do you think you'd like this job?" I have to wonder exactly what would it take for me to answer, "Absolutely!" This particular job sounded pretty good. Good opportunities to take the ball and run with it. Blogging, which I like. Working with writers, which I've done. Maybe some reporting.
So this one didn't work out. The Jawa breathed a sigh of relief. I watched, ambivilantly, as my new car drove quickly into the distance. And real estate, well, it may not be the answer, either. My bosses have suggested that a "change of personality" may be necessary in order for me to succeed in this increasingly difficult business world.
And you wonder why Sandra Bullock gets frustrated?