Monthly Archives: March 2005

Paperwork is meaningless?

My current job is just fine. Getting up in the morning and going to work doesn’t bring me dread. However, it doesn’t bring me joy or inspire me.
I help administer a summer internship program, and we had a meeting (we is the Program Director and Associate Dean) for all the students that we’ve accepted into the program so far. The PD and I had explained the paperwork that the students need to fill out if they are going to complete the program, and then it was time for the AD to talk. He starts out by talking about the different between “book knowledge” and “mother wit.” It is “mother wit” that the students learn and learn to understand in our program, because they are working in the community, interacting with students in different disciplines and having a “real world” experience. But he proceeds to say that the paperwork part of the program is meaningless.
The part of this program that I’m responsible for? Paperwork.
Now I do know that he did not say this to diminish me. What he meant was that the thrust of this program is the experiences and interactions that the students will have with the people they’ll meet over the course of the summer. But it still stung because I’m struggling with my work and my purpose right now, every day, and many times I already feel meaningless for the 40 hours a week I sit in my basement office.
What makes it doubly difficult is that I am graduate student age, working with graduate students, but I’m not a student in this world of students. I always excelled at school. I was a good student, I was skilled at managing the demands that being a student puts on you and I was always smart, outspoken and appealing to teachers and professors. But my boss, who is a professor, doesn’t see me as a student. He sees me as one of the many “girls” who have worked and will work for him. I can type, fax, xerox, reserve rooms, obtain phone numbers and get things done. But my identity chafes at being lumped into that group of women who have worked assisting others. Part of it is elitest and snobby, I know that and work on diminishing it. But part is that I have so much to contribute and I’m given so little opportunity to do so.
People keep telling me that I should take this as a sign to go back to school. The problem I have with that is that I am marginally talented a whole number of things, so much so that nothing jumps out as the obvious right thing to do.
I talked to my mom while I walked down 15th Street today, with tears streaming down my face. She reminded me that really the most important thing, above all others is how you treat people. And that will just have to be enough for the time being.

I've got the blahs

I’m in a state of generalized, unspecific yuckiness. I would really like it to go away, but instead, it hovers. It hangs on my cheeks, making smiles feel hard and tears feel easy. It sits in my throat, leaving my voice diminished and scratchy. It weights on my chest and no matter how hard I cough, I can’t rattle it loose.
I feel stuck in my life right now. My job makes me restless and discontented, no matter how many times I remind myself how much worse it could be (and has been, at other jobs).
An image of how I feel just ocurred to me. In the movie, “A Never Ending Story” the character Atriu and his horse are stuck in a bog of quick-sand that only starts to suck you down when you start to feel sad or sorry for yourself. I am in the bog, feeling sad, so it is starting to suck me down even further. And what do you do once it starts to suck you down? You start to feel even sorrier for yourself that you are sliding down into this bog of muck and sadness, but it feels so much easier to stay sad than to change your attitude and tell the bog to stop claiming your sadness as it’s own.
How strange, I’m actually feeling a little better having written all that.

Mommies and Birthday Dinners

Today was my friend Georgia’s birthday, and to celebrate Georgia’s mom Karin had us (my wonderful group of girlfriends) over to her house for dinner. We had a great time, the food was terrific and lots of stories were told about our respective pets (I think that Una’s cat win’s the prize for most unique behavior, he gets in the shower with her every morning). But for all the fun I had tonight, it leaves me a little sad. Sad, because I’ve chosen to live 3000 miles away from my mommy. She can’t have all my friends over for dinner for my birthday or be part of my social life at all. I have other friends who’s parents live in the area, and I love meeting them, knowing and interacting with them. It’s really fascinating to see a good friend with their parents, because you get an opportunity to see where their quirks and unique characteristics come from. These are the people who shaped my people, my family away from my family, and it’s nice to see from whence they sprung (that last statement sounds like something my dad would say, but most of your {all five of my regular readers} wouldn’t know that)! But on the other side of this same note, I have to admit that I had to move from Portland to Philadelphia. Not because my family is mean or dysfunctional or in anyway troubled. I love them more than just about anything (including my baby blanket) and am very (VERY) close with them. I talk to my mom every day, sometimes as many as five times a day. But I needed space to become an independent person. I needed to establish my identity in the Unitarian church and the Subud group away from the personalities of my mom and dad. The problem has become that I’m established. I have a life here and my dreams and future plans typically involved a life that takes place in Philadelphia. My experiment worked a little too well, I think, I certainly created myself as a person who could exist on the other side of the country from my family. Now I have to find out if I can find away to someday create an identity for myself that includes them, instead of excludes. We shall see. But enough deep thoughts for the evening. I’m now going to sucumb to my food coma and crawl into my fluffy, feather-y, comfy bed.