July 31, 2012

Lessons I Have Learned

It is Tuesday, I am here at home waiting to go into work until the very last minute. I woke up early, around 5 a.m., but didn't get moving until it was almost 6. The boys were rambunctious as usual, but even with their jumping and yaowing, something just seemed off for me today.

I cannot really put my finger on it, but something is not right (good, well). I feel OK, tired and a bit undone about the past couple days, but other than the normal woes of life, there seems to be something else that is odd today. It all started yesterday, this feeling of "can I continue on, can I take another boring day at work?" I remember sitting in my cube, looking at the clock and thinking -- "I cannot make another dial, I cannot do this work any longer." I am beat. The job, the tasks, the attitude -- I have been overcome by the powers that be and I cannot stand working in this job any longer.

I remember when I was at Macy's, and how tired I felt each day. I cringed to have to go into work, but I trudge on in there every shift I was assigned. The pain was horrible, and the work was grueling. This time, it is different. At Macy's the work was physically demanding. I walked all day long, stood long hours, and lug/lifted hundreds of pounds of clothes in/out of the dressing room. I worked my little fanny off, and I struggled with the pain of arthritis in my hips. It was awful, day in and day out, but the work was work, and I did my best at it.

I laughed when I was "coached" on how to open sales accounts. I laughed when I was "observed." I didn't care about opening charge accounts, I didn't care about helping customers rack up debt. If they wanted an account, I trusted their adult judgement and opened one. If they didn't qualify, it wasn't up to me to help plunge them into debt. I just did what they asked, and I let the chips fall as they may -- approved/disproved. I had no say in the matter.

At my current work, I am struggling to do the job. I look at the cost of higher education, and I am ashamed that I am helping students get into such severe debt. Yes, they choose to go into debt, and they do receive a good education. It is the cost ratio difference that bothers me most. I am part of the problem, and I am facilitating their debt.

The debt issue is not the real problem, it is more just the way the business of higher education is conducted. The longer I am there, the more I see the "Macy's way" of selling education. We sell it, students buy it. It is a consumer mentality, when it should be something different.

My job is killing me mentally. I go to work, and I sit in a cube all day long to wait for phone calls. I sit all day long, and I cannot leave my desk. I can go to the bathroom, get a drink, etc. I just don't do anything that requires me to be up and moving all day long. I have gained 10-15 lbs since I started this job. I am miserable over that fact, and I hate having to get dressed each day. It is a constant reminder that I am fat and feeling so awful about my appearance.

I want to do something different. I want to do a different kind of work. I just don't know what kind of work I can do anymore. In years past, I was content to do helper work, to be a support assistant, to be an Administrative person. I liked the work, the nature of it, and the fact that I was always busy. I hated sitting all day long, finding work to do, but generally, when I was busy, I was content.

I have grown over the past couple years, and after working on my own, and then in church's in ministry positions, I feel that I am over-qualified to do anything anymore. I don't want to do a job, I want a passionate career. I am almost 50 and the mark of my life will be the "Odd Job" girl. I will not have had a career, I will not have had one focus for my life. I am a loser, and someone who can no longer tolerate boring, mundane work.

I know -- I should be content to WORK. God is so very good to me, and I am thankful that I can work. I am thankful for a paycheck, and for the opportunity to work. Why am I so bitter? Why am I so depressed over the job and the work available to me?

I guess it is because I had hoped that once I had my Masters degree, things would be different. I would be seen differently, and I would have other job opportunities. I thought, "Now, I can teach college classes!" I had hoped I could begin the career I was supposed to have started back when my son was born. I thought, "Now, my life is complete." Instead, I have not been able to be hired and my Masters is simply a piece of $50K paper.

I am disgusted with the way I feel, and with the attitude I possess. I know better. I know I should be grateful. After all, the Word of God says that we are to be cheerful, to have an attitude of gratitude, and a thankful heart. Yes, yes, yes, I know.

My heart is murmuring to me, it is saying "You are better than this job. You are better than these people." I don't want to think this way, and interview after interview, I get slapped in the face with the truth, "You are nothing. You have no marketable skills. You are not hirable."

I spent 18 months looking for full-time work, in which I ended up where I am now, at UOPX. In the interim, my marriage crumbled and fell apart, I lost my home of twelve years, and for the first time in my entire life, found myself on my own -- living apart from my parents and my husband. I worked at Macy's, and I went to school. I studied cello, and started to learn French. I did everything I could do to make my life better, to keep me focused on the future -- all the while -- my present was crashing to the ground.

My estranged husband may be moving to Los Angeles for work. I don't mind really, but there is a part of me that sees that departure as a bad thing, a very bad thing. I don't want to be married again, but I don't want to be single either. I am not out partying, looking for men. I stay at home, I do my work, I go to bed. I live a very boring life. I don't miss the pain and the sorrow of that old life, but I do miss my husband. I miss the person he was, and the plans we made together. I miss the life we had -- the life that said "I am a married woman, and I am content. I am safe."

I feel unsafe today. I feel as though something is about to happen that will shake my little world apart. My son is about to start his next semester in college. I know that he is content to be where he is, but I also know that he is bored to death. He needs to work, but there are no jobs for him to do either. He wants to work, but he cannot find a job. He hasn't really applied -- he knows his schedule is such that no employer will hire him. He is at school most days from 10-5 p.m. and he has no transportation for evening work.

I struggle to find meaning today, to understand what I think the Lord is asking me to do. He tells me to "go" and He tells me to "start" yet I am lost. I don't know what to do, where to go, or how to get where I need to be. I am lost. I ask the Lord for help, but the word returns to me "Listen. Trust Me." I am listening and I am trusting you, Lord. Why can I not hear what I am to do, and then just do it. I don't want to go to work today. I want to crawl back into bed and go to sleep. I want to sleep for days and not wake up until I am really refreshed, really recuperated. I don't want to get dressed, drive into work, and sit in a cube attached to a phone today. I don't want to help students go into debt. I want to stay at home. I want to wait on the Lord, and hear His voice. I want Him to deliver me from this nightmare of a life, and return to me the life I once had. I want the safe life. The secure life. I want the life where I was married and content. I don't want to live alone anymore. I want to go home.

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