Monday, June 1, 2009

Back @ work

Last Friday was “My First Day @ Work”. I hadn’t worked since mid December ’08, so – understandably- this was a big moment for me! And I can safely say that I really enjoyed it.
I had to teach 4 hours of Dutch to a little group of three: an American, a lady from Brazil, and a guy from Cameroon. The 4 hours flew by, and I left the school feeling amazingly good (and a bit tired). I felt confident that I had made the right choice, and really proud of myself. The good-luck wishes from friends on Facebook almost made it better than a birthday-party!
Then a few things happened along the weekend that crushed my party-mood.

I still don’t know what P really thinks about my decision. I think he would prefer me to have a really cool job/career of which he can proudly brag about to his friends and colleagues. Like “my girlfriend is an HR consultant at – insert cool company where you work ridiculous hours- “.

Yesterday we were invited to a BBQ, and at some point, the whole conversation turned to “work” for the rest of the evening. Imagine a table with a consultant, an investment banker and two lawyers, bragging/complaining about their working hours. I felt hugely out of place. Part of me wanted to scream “wake up you all, and start realizing what is really important in life before you all end up with a burn out”. Another part of me felt really “low”, bereaved of any self confidence. Here I was, the “language teacher”, working part time, between all these hot shots earning loads and loads of money.

I don’t know – maybe you have to be confronted with serious illness, go through a nervous breakdown, or whatever to realize that life is so much more than the company you work for. So instead of saying anything, I was at a loss for words. I didn’t know anymore whether to feel sorry for myself, or to feel sorry for them. I just felt bad. P asked what was wrong, and I found myself unable to explain how I felt and why. So I just went to bed, and luckily fell asleep pretty fast.
I know, deep down, that I’m happy with the choice I’ve made. I know this is right for me. And I’m proud that I’ve just followed my heart. But it’s always so damn important to me what others think of it...I know: it shouldn’t be. Easier said than done.


Light Fantastic said...

More power to you, sister!

Over the past 6 months or so, it has become increasingly clear to me that a job has to be first and foremost something you actually enjoy doing.

I therefore applaud anyone who manages to put their "bliss" ahead of just about anything else, from other people's expectations through financial and social constraints to their own dragons.

Follow your bliss!

"If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are -- if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time." -Joseph Campbell

Anonymous said...

I certainly admire you. I've already realised that I'd rather have a job that is meaningful rather than one that rolls in the dough because that's not what is important to me. I think P will be happier to have a wife (... am I allowed to say that ;) ?) that is happy with what she does rather than one with some fancy job title. Honestly, "HR at some fancy company" sounds yawnsville to me; teacher of a foreign language sounds way more interesting. My foreign language teachers were always an inspiration to me.