Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

still thinking

It occurs to me that a decision about the proffered job should not have all that much thinking about what I might want to do.

I should either want it or not.  None of this waffling.  Sure, it makes sense to do a little comparing...I will cop to that...because when I make a commitment, I do just that.  I do not try things out and then decide.  That is disrespectful, not only to the person or organization (although it is always about the people for me), but most especially to me. 

I have always felt and believed this.  Not always successful in my choices,  but when I give my word, that is it.  Good choice, super.  Bad choice, too fucking bad.  I have been volunteering for most of my life and have accepted many unfortunate jobs.  Unfortunate acceptances might be one of the perils of volunteering, but I have done the same with paid jobs, not that I have had all that many.  My three major jobs have lasted 20 years, 28 years and nearly 20 years.  There was overlap, as they never paid well individually.

I have loved all of those jobs, as well as the temporary ones that managed to wedge themselves in over the decades.  One of the benefits of not being a quitter is that I was forced to find meaning and pleasure in every employment or volunteer thing that I have done, despite crappy managers, crappy pay, unrelenting hours and interesting customers and clients.  I believe that it is possible to transform how I feel about a job or the people associated with it from terrible to wonderful.  Within the parameters of what is/was expected of me I could do a good job, often a totally kick-ass job; I could learn to get along with anyone, even the worst boss...yes, Charlene, I mean you...or fellow know who you are, you pests.  I know that more people agree with me about this than think I am full of earwax.

There is so much more that I could say about the energy this holds for me, but it boils down to this:  All I have is my word.  That is all any of us have. 

Be unreliable, give up, cut corners, drop out and nothing you can say will restore your word, your credibility, your reputation.  Truth will out. 

So, even though I really do know where my heart is calling me, I want to respect myself, the people I might have the opportunity to serve and those already in my life, at the volunteer jobs I now have.

I think that work-wise, I am in a very good place.  My Wednesday work, the Friday drop-in lab and the groups that I sometimes co-facilitate are very satisfying.  There are times, plenty of them I guess, that I wonder how I came to do all of this.  I honor how amazing my new life has turned out to be.  I also honor that I kind of deserve this, all of it.  I feel as though I am standing still sometimes, way too often, but I know that I am healing.  I am recovering as best I can and my life truly rocks.  Big time.

When I lived in that shelter, the one that offered me a job yesterday, I was mostly in shock that first month, but I still managed to appreciate the advocates and the work they do.  Once in a while I would long for the chance to do the same thing for other women and their children, offer the support and help and the chance to make different choices, choose a new life that had absolutely no connection to neglect, abuse and possible death.  But, I knew that longing was not enough and that I lacked the skills to help anyone else.  Heck, I could barely help myself.

Except that I have helped myself.  I do help other women, and a whole bunch of men, too.  I love the work I am doing.  I like my clients, even the man this afternoon who showed up a half-hour late, intoxicated.  We had a small discussion, I tried to make it work, but he could not concentrate.  When I shared that I could smell alcohol on him he admitted that he had been drinking beer, so I further shared that I do not work with people under the influence and that we could make another appointment, but that we would not be working today.  Security and the Circulation Manager made sure that he safely left the building.  I even kind of like the other man today, second visit, who has mental health care issues beyond my ability to help and we will, hopefully, be resourcing our hearts out for him.  It is about teaming up with other community agencies, something else I also love. 

In addition, another agency has offered me the opportunity to hold art and crafting classes and workshops for the population they serve, which is those who are homeless, close to becoming so and are no longer homeless and still have many challenges.  I do not know who is more excited about this - me, the agency or their clients. 

I want them both, my current work and the new job.  I do know what I am going to choose.  I do.  I am going to draw a lot of criticism to myself because my choice is to stay where I am.  All of the work that has evolved  from a query nearly five years ago to be allowed to help library patrons with on-line job applications on one of the bank of public computers in the adult services section is exactly what I want to do. 

Given my shaky financial situation it probably seems screamingly stupid, reckless and just plain foolish to pass on a full-time paid job.  Even worse is that the job is the penultimate job for my skills, as it incorporates the certifications I earned last year.  I must be insane.

If it is crazy, maybe it is the best kind.  It feels really good.  Solid.  Responsible.  And, it maintains my commitment to the work I created for myself and, well, I guess, my word.

Once I knew this afternoon what I would do, I dropped off my keys and popped into our Director's office and told her that I had been offered that job and was just checking to see if they really wanted me at the library.  She said of course, and I pushed for honestly, that I did not want to just feel good about being there, I also needed to know if everything was still working for everyone else.  I am really just a volunteer, so that is important to me. 

She told me that I had to stay and that I had to, "Just tell her 'no'", which I had already planned to do and shared with her at the beginning of the conversation.  I was not looking for praise or anything, just needed to know that in my bliss of working there that I was not distressing or causing problems for anyone other department or persons.

I get to share all of this with my therapist tomorrow morning.  It will be interesting to find out how she feels about giving up paid employment.  I do not know, maybe I really am insane.

If I am, it makes me happy.  This is either a celebration of being able to survive into a new, safe and groovy life, or another example of reluctantly fearing taking new steps in better directions.  My guess is that I will never know for sure.  In the meantime, yay me.

1 comment:

  1. J I hope it all works out for you. You are obviously doing what you are passionate about.