For Readers, Get Inspired Mondays, Writing

Your Job (And A Four Letter Word)

It was a lazy Friday night and I had just finished telling my husband about day five at my new job in an elementary school library. He sat quietly for a moment, and then grinned at me in a crooked little way.

“What?!” I demanded. I thought of the ice cream I had just inhaled.  “Is there Chocolate Nut Brownie on my nose?” I wiped vigorously.

“No,” he said. (Pause) “Well, maybe a little.” I wiped some more. “I was just thinking — it sounds like you really love your job.”

Hmmm…did he just use the “L” word in in the same sentence as work? My lines of defense bristled and came up for battle.

“Love?” I coughed. “No. Nope. I mean, it’s a job after all.” I squirmed.  “I mean, I like it, but–” I looked around suspiciously. Would members of the Disgruntled Workers Union suddenly appear in my living room and haul me off for questioning and endless viewings of Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda in 9 to 5?

But then I thought of the kids. The school. The books. And the big room filled with adventures on every shelf.

“Okay,” I finally conceded through clenched teeth, “I lo– like it. A lot.”

Heck, I had played “Library” when I was a kid. There weren’t many super heroes and aliens present during my make-believe time.  I found my thrills by slipping Uno cards into a stack of Little House books and telling patrons (a.k.a., my mom and sister) to, “Please return the books in a timely manner.”  Now, that was power.

So why was it so hard for me to admit I enjoyed my new career? Because a job is a job.  It’s work. You get paid for a reason — because you most likely wouldn’t do it without some greenbacks and casual Friday’s involved.

Let’s also keep in mind that turns of phrase which refer to the working world are not often pretty. “The daily grind” conjures images of grey, grimacing faces being pushed to unnatural levels of discomfort (think Bikram Yoga). The enthusiastic rosy-cheeked wonder who balances her always half-full glass while settling into the spine twisting pose might not be everyone’s favorite gal. There’s a certain camaraderie among complainers. We may pass co-workers in the hallway at 9:01 on a Monday morning who are already saying, “Is it Friday, yet?” And we may nod in agreement.

But there are those who are happy to be at work. Or, at least happy to have a paycheck during a time when it’s not uncommon to run into people who’ve been out of a job for six months. Or a year.  Or, longer.

So, I feel lucky. I now wear two hats that fit me well: writing my own words, and sharing those of others. Not only am I employed, but I have jobs that I, well…, you know.

And I’m not afraid to admit it.

So, tell me: Do you like your job? Do you, (dare I say) LOVE your job? If so, does this little tidbit about you annoy your friends and love ones? Please share.

 *************************

*Next week, I’ll talk about how getting a day job (and having less time to write) is actually helping my writing career.

Find me on Twitter @amandahoving

37 thoughts on “Your Job (And A Four Letter Word)”

  1. Well, I do recall a job back in my past that I really loved. So much so that when I go back to visit, it hurts a little bit.

    Sometimes it’s not so much the job, but the people that make it worthwhile.

    And it’s okay to love people. Right? …

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  2. Ten years ago, I worked in a small bookstore…and I L.O.V.E.D. that job. I was underpaid, and probably a little overworked, I stayed late to do inventory and build new shelves, I came in on my day off to check on orders and other things. It was crazy…and I loved it!!

    When I was a kid, I had three dream jobs, flight attendant, bookstore employee, and librarian. I did the bookstore thing, the flight attendant probably isn’t going to happen (my husband is terrified of planes, and I just couldn’t do that to him everyday), so the only one I have left to do is librarian.

    I did spend a couple summers volunteering in my school library (I helped them move and set it up when we got a new building) when I was 13, and I loved it!

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    1. I also worked in a bookstore, Tracie, but I kept getting stuck in the cafe. (So that was short-lived. You can only make so much foam.) My interest was, of course, only the books.

      I hope you get your shot at working in a library someday. The only other dream job I have left to pursue is singing on Broadway. I have to learn to sing (well) first. 😉

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  3. I’ve always loved the writing on your blog, but now I have yet another reason to admire you! I don’t know if you’ve seen the blog post I wrote (a few months ago) about THIS BOOK IS OVERDUE (Marilyn Johnson’s book about librarians), but I am a librarian wannabe, okay I’d go as far to say I’m a flat-out groupie! You are definitely my new hero, Amanda–what could be better but merging two of the jobs I love most! Way to go!! (p.s. the closest I’ve come is a semester of shelving books in a University library!)

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  4. Congratulations on finding something you like to do, and for getting paid to do it. I think a lot more people claim to like their jobs than really do. It’s refreshing that you’ve found just the right spot.

    That said–and this may sting a bit–finding a job you really like, you run the risk of losing your drive to write. I actually never believed this until I recently saw a video of writers talking about how they got along in the world while building their writer’s resume.

    One man said, and I’ve taken it to heart, “find a job you hate, because if you find work you love, there is a very good chance your ‘fallback’ job will become primary, and writing will become your fallback.” I’d hate to think we might lose you as a writier. ))

    There. I said it might sting a bit. ))

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    1. I appreciate your perspective Richard, and I will admit this is also a concern of mine. However, as of right now, all signs point to this job as being something that will only increase my writing productivity because of all the inspiration/potential story ideas I come across daily. Plus, several years ago I had one of those “hated jobs,” and barely wrote a word. I was sapped of all creativity from the daily drudgery and my unhappy state of mind.

      Thanks for your encouragement. You’re not going to lose me just yet!

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  5. I would LOVE the job you have.

    Right now, I love the job I have: catering. Oh, I just WISH I could post the stories.

    Oh my god the stories.

    but, my boss has asked me never never do this…

    so, yeah, but lean in closer…..

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  6. I run a technology department and a 9-1-1 Center for a local government. Here’s my breakdown – I like my job about 60% of the time, love it 35% of the time and 5% of the time…well…let’s just say I don’t like it so much. ; ) I get to do all sorts of random things, meet and work with lots of great people, and make a true, measurable difference in my community. So yeah, it’s all good here! Most of my friends are always interested in hearing about my work…or they have a computer question for me. But I am always happy to talk about work and how much I enjoy it (still working on that pesky other 5%!)

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  7. Oh, my dear, I am so happy you are in such a good place!

    (And I’ve missed you and your posts–so on behalf of all of your readers and fans (who would NEVER bring a book back overdue, ahem)–may I just say it’s good to have you back!)

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  8. Congratulations on loving your job! I understand why. I’m only fortunate enough to volunteer at my boys’ school library two mornings a week.

    The smell! Oh that delicious pulpy, stinky finger smell. Heaven.

    Sadly, I’ve never “loved” a job. Maybe in my next life 😉

    Enjoy!! XO – Ash

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  9. Was just talking about you the other day, wondering where you were. Now I know you were hiding in the library! Glad to read your post, and very happy that you lo…like your new job a lot 🙂

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  10. Dare to dream. To love my job. What would that be like?
    In any event I am so happy for you!

    I have a special guest blog post in the coming weeks from a woman who is a librarian. I can’t wait to hear what she has to say.
    Libraries are so important.

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  11. Amanda! It has been FOREVER, my friend! And I’m glad to hear you L-O-V-E your new job. Do I love my job? I supposed I do, considering my employee is also my boss and can be a loveable albeit dictatorial little Chalupa.

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  12. I’m comforted to hear that I can freely admit (here, anyway) that I, too, played library as a child – complete with little stamp and index cards for when the books were due. I’m so glad you (secretly) love your job! No, I LOVE that you love your job. An amazing job, it is, too!

    (If you haven’t already, you simply must read The Library by Sarah Stewart. A delight! If it isn’t already in your library at school, it should be!)

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  13. I’m so glad you love your job! Yeah, I admit I loved mine and often miss it — it was never dull, it needed to be done, I got to know some great people. But, when the weather’s this nice and I’m hiking through the wood instead of sitting indoors, then I love retirement.

    Ellen

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  14. I think I’m one of the lucky ones. I was made to teach and I’m at three different campuses this semester. Yesterday I drove an hour to speak to 200 other professors about connecting with 21st century students. So, not only do I get paid to teach in classrooms but sometimes I even get paid to teach teachers. Now if I could just sell a book! Great to see a post from ya and even grander that you have a sweet gig you enjoy.

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  15. We missed you in these blogging parts! That’s great news on the job. Looking forward to hearing how it’s helped your writing . . . I’m not surprised. I can see how having to focus would help ME.

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  16. I second what Nina said!

    And, on my day job, I like it. Some days I love it. What’s nice is that it balances out my life in a way I wouldn’t know if I were only writing all day long.

    On that note, I can’t wait to read your next post. I think, sometimes, the less time we have, the more we write. Sometimes….

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  17. You’re lucky!! I’ve been having the opposite problem- not wanting to say I “hate” my job- but I do, I really really do. Which I feel weirdly guilty about because I also work in an elementary school, and sometimes I ask myself, “What kind of person am I, hating to work with adorable little kids?”

    My situation is very different though. I am a therapist and I’m employed by an agency that has a contract with the schools. Confidentiality is very important to my work and the school does not provide me with a confidential space. And I don’t get to have a key to the building since I’m not a district employee, but I have to work there during the summer when no one else is there…. which results in me and my clients getting locked out of the school A LOT. In a heat wave.

    But, on the bright side, nobody from my agency is there to oversee me so I get to wear jean shorts 🙂

    Ahhhh, see this is what I mean. All I do anymore is complain about my job.

    I am hard on myself about not liking my job, because then I start thinking about how we are supposed to make ourselves happy no matter what and that it shouldn’t depend on our situation. But you know what? I think it depends on our situation a little bit. There is such thing as good fit and bad fit, and it is taxing to spend 40+ hours a week on something that is a bad fit.

    Good for you for finding your good fit! That’s valuable and rare. Cherish it.

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  18. I love my job(s) so much that I wish there were more hours in the day. Homeschooling and writing make me a happy happy girl. On the other hand, the job I get paid for (cleaning houses once a week) is not as peachy. Though it has it’s perks, as long as I turn up my ipod really loud and forget where I am. Great post.

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