When I was a kid, my stay-at-home mom used to constantly remind us that having children was a job. It seemed ridiculous. She wasn’t very good at this job, this job didn’t make money, and it was her choice. They were raising me to have a “good job” – like a doctor, or an engineer.
This comment from Maybe Baby, Maybe Not struck me… if I can just think of the whole thing – marriage, children, family – as just another type of job, maybe it can be okay if it doesn’t happen? Maybe life can have meaning in many ways?
Say you have a job. And a career. It’s a good job. It has it’s ups and downs but mostly it’s great. You like your co-workers and you have some vague idea of how your career will shape up. And then someone comes along and offers you a new job. They can’t/don’t/won’t provide a job description for you which is sort of annoying. They tell you that you will work harder than you have ever worked before in your life. Ever. Most of the time it’s thankless work and you won’t get much support. It will transform you. You will have experiences and visit places you never knew existed. They tell you that people who take this job are happy they did, but sometimes they wish they hadn’t – they wish they had their old job back. The pay is crap but the reward is wealth beyond anything money can buy.
You decide, “oh what the hell” and take the new job. You miss your friends at your old job so you get together with them for lunch. They talk a lot about what’s going on at your old job but you don’t have much to add since you aren’t in that job anymore. You talk about your new job, but it’s hard to describe (see above: no job description) so the conversation sort of goes nowhere. You meet new friends at your new job and you hang out with them too because you have a lot in common. Eventually you see them more than your old job friends. You wish there was some way to have your old job friends experience your new job so they would stop agonizing over whether they should take this new job or just stay in their current job but there isn’t. Even if they come to work with you for a day. While they waffle about the decision, moving along like a freight train up a hill, your new job is like riding on a bullet train and you get farther and farther away from the old job and your old friends. But you don’t really look back, even if you had the time to do so (see above: new experiences and places).