Most women get this. We’re far more likely to define ourselves in terms of our relationships. We’re wives, mothers, daughters, and friends. Guys are apt to think of themselves first in terms of their careers–doctor, lawyer, digger of ditches. Whatever puts food on the table and a roof over the family’s collective heads. For better or worse, it seems to be how guys “keep score.”
This isn’t such a bad thing until you hit a patch of unemployment or the catastrophe that’s happened to my DH. You see, he’s RETIRED! After many years in the fast-paced world of travel IT, he even managed to swing an early release for good behavior and punched out several years before regular retirement age.
He was overjoyed at first. It was such a relief not to have to be anywhere or worry about this project or that customer or getting the quarterly reviews of his team done to HR’s specs. When Delta Airlines’ computer system went down a few weeks ago, he was so thankful not to be on call. The most challenging problem on his schedule is getting the grass mowed between rain showers.
But lately, he’s been getting a little…restless. He’s been looking at the local Help Wanted section of the classifieds. When he saw an ad for a part time position at our very tiny regional airport, he actually printed out his resume and took it down to City Hall. The man retired from Google. Before that he worked for a number of major airlines all over the country. He visited and worked with customers in England, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, and Japan. He did graduate work at Harvard, for Pete’s sake! Why would he want to answer the phone and keep the books at our teeny airport?
Because evidently he still needs a way to keep score.
He came back from City Hall a little less excited about the prospect. They’d expect him to be on site 5 days a week. Imagine that! His time is his own now. I think it sort of hit him that he’d be trading his life for dollars again, so even if he’s offered the job, I’m not sure he’d take it.
Maybe it would be enough to be asked.
Anyway, on this Labor Day, I just want to share that while all work is honorable and it is very necessary to find something productive to do with our time on this earth, we should not think of it as who we are. Our jobs don’t define us.
We put our mark on them.
I’ve held down a ton of different jobs before I discovered writing. What do you do?