Skip to main content

48 Days to the Work You Love: Chapter 1 Questions

Chapter 1: What Is Work?

1. Who gave you your first job? What kind of job was it? How much money did you make? I started babysitting for children of my parent's friends as soon as I could be left alone with children. I especially liked the night time jobs with families who expected their children to go to bed early. There was this one family---I can't remember the kids' names, but they had a German shepherd called Shaka---whose kids went to bed at 8:00. After I put the kids to bed, Shaka and I would crash on the living room floor and watch The Sound of Music on VHS. This was back in the day when few of us had a VCR, cable was in its infancy, and you waited a whole year for one of the networks to air The Sound of Music (and The Wizard of Oz, and that trippy animated The Hobbit). I loved having my own money to spend on Duran Duran tapes, Bop magazine, and white lace fingerless gloves.
The summer between freshmen and sophomore years my parents moved us to Illinois, from Tucson to the small town (pop. 1800) where my dad grew up. I was 14 when we moved and turned 15 soon after, but still too young to work. Sometime during that first year my parents consented to a work permit and I took a job at the local library: shelving, checking out, organizing, and performing other clerical duties. I loved that job. I loved how quiet it was in the library; I loved reading picture books as I organized the children's section; I loved that the ladies who worked there didn't think I was a dork (in retrospect, I realize they were something of town outcasts themselves). But I didn't work there long, even though I loved it. As soon as I turned 16 I got a job waiting tables at a restaurant on the square, uptown. And I loved that, too.

2. From looking at your work life so far, what has been of the greatest value or worth? I'd say most significantly my work life has been characterized by a suppression of ego. I've always worked in the service industry: librarian, server, electronic prepress/graphic designer, teacher. In those industries the needs of the provider are always subsumed by the needs of the client. I've learned to be good at what I do and still retain a fairly positive self-image.

3. If your job changes, does your purpose change? No.

4. Do you think your current job will exist five years from now?
Yes. There will still be preschool teachers, just maybe not gigging at my current venue.
5. What would be the key characteristics of an ideal job or career? Early childhood educators are woefully undercompensated. An ideal career, for me, still involves service. Helping others reach their full potential is necessary for me to reach mine. An ideal career would compensate me adequately for the work I do, with other necessities (insurance; mental health/wellness) considered.

6. When you daydream, what do you see yourself doing? I see myself smiling and reacting warmly to others. Often I see myself alone, but I think that's in my leisure hours. I see animals and children and I'm almost always outdoors.

7. What have been the happiest, most fulfilling moments in your life? I get a real sense of satisfaction guiding trepidatious children through their first days of preschool. Some kids come in and immediately own the playground. Other kids come in and they're completely overwhelmed. I love helping those kids acknowledge their fear (acknowledge, not deny), find something they enjoy, like digging in the sand or coloring a picture or examining tiny rocks, and engaging them in that activity. I like working in partnership. That's how I approach my work with kids, even my son. That makes me happy.

8. If nothing changed in your life in the next 5 years, would that be OK? No.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

expanding my culinary horizons

After last night's culinary debacle, today's culinary surprise was particularly welcome. My dear friend Rukmi brought me lunch! Rukmi is Sri Lankan. She cooks the best food. I ate a fish and egg croquette, lentil curry, saffron rice, all with delicious chicken and what I thought might be tuna. I asked Rukmi what the meat was, and she told me it's all chicken. "The flat, triangular meat? With the spices? Is it tuna?"

She laughed lightly. "That's a wegetable," she said, in her lovely Sinhalese way.

"Oh, yeah? Like a beet?" That made sense, because it flaked like tuna steak or like beets might.

"It is jackfruit."

Jackfruit? Jackfruit! I ate jackfruit today. Rukmi told me all about it: she used canned young jackfruit she bought at G & L Market on 22nd St.; fully grown jackfruits are gigantic and if one fell on your head it could kill you. When fully ripe, jackfruit is full of big pods that each have a seed in the middle, like a po…
Jack doesn't have many "activities." I don't relish the thought of driving him to soccer, piano lessons, gymnastics, tae kwon do, KidzArt, swim team, T-ball, so on, and so forth. Not to say that I don't recognize the value of these activities, but I witness firsthand the toll a full schedule takes on little ones. On Monday nights Jack and his cousin participate in Young Champions of America Karate, which is more about learning discipline, respect, and self defense than it is about martial arts.

Recently we've picked up a new activity, which is also about learning discipline, respect, and creativity: Tucson Lego Club.


He was invited to join by Nathan and Lucas, friends from church who also attended the preschool a few years ahead of Jack. Here he sits between them, at a table surrounded by 6 other boys, each of them building a lavish Lego creation.


Members spend an hour building and fraternizing, sometimes more fraternizing than building, but at the end of the h…

goals

Six days ago I griped a bit about exercise and body image and resolved to walk more and eat better food. Since then I've walked 22 miles, which is 10 more miles than I usually log in the same amount of time. Though I haven't been a food angel, I haven't been a little devil, either. I've resisted chips and Cheetos and eaten more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. I did have a Dairy Queen, though, which is totally fake but totally tasty.

So I got some goals for this week. There's just one week left before I go back to the preschool and I'm ashamed that I haven't attended to some things over the summer. I'd meant to finish up my NAEYC classroom portfolio, as well as plan out afternoon activities for the year (I'm lead teacher between 1:00 and 3:00 for all ages other than kindergarten).

Goal 1: I'm 20 criteria away from completing my classroom portfolio. If I do four each day, I'll be done on Friday.

Goal 2: Each day this week, I'll plan one…