Monday, July 11, 2011

Musings about working and family

Here I am.  Back at my desk.  Working.  Watching the clock, because the only thing running through my brain is "isn't it time to go home yet?"  It's not even 2:30 p.m. yet.  I'm fighting a face-plant right in the middle of my desk.  Sure, I'm fighting a summer cold I caught by someone on my flight back from San Diego.  Sure, I'm fighting a three hour jet-lag, but I really should be over that by now.  Sure, I have a job a dull as dishwater.  But last Friday, on my last day of vacation, before I left to travel home on Saturday, I was thinking...  boy, I'm kind of looking forward to getting home and getting back in the routine.  I must have been nuts.

I sat next to a retired couple on the flight home.  For four hours I tried to sleep, amidst the screaming child sitting behind me.  For about an hour I chatted with the gentleman sitting next to me.  We talked a lot about housing in the SD county area and we talked about retirement.  I said to him "What do you do all day when you are retired?"  He laughed and said something about going for walks, reading books, watching tv, fixing lunch and cleaning up after lunch.  I couldn't figure out how these activities could fill a day...  But the one thing he said, and I will never forget this, is "you won't miss the job."  I believe him.

I'm not going to miss the job.  And, they're not going to miss me when I'm gone.  It's like the hole you leave in a bucket of water once you pull your finger out of the water.  Nothing.  You can't see that anything is missing.  I returned from my vacation and one of the secretaries serving at the college for 30 years retired.  She's gone.  Someone new is in her position.  What was her name?  Haha.  I still remember her name, but for how long?

My husband still misses his mom.  Don't tell anyone, but... he still talks to her on the phone on his way home from work.  He doesn't use the phone, but you know what I mean.  This was the time he spoke with her every day near the end of her life.  It was their special time.  This hole remains in his heart.  When my mom passes, I'm sure I'll be the same way.  But in the mornings, on my way to work.  I'm sure it will take a long time for that hole to fill in, if it ever does.

We give so much to our jobs.  So much time.  So much energy.  So much thought.  I know it's important to do your job well and care about your product of work.  Of course you should do a good job.  Just don't give it all to the job.  We use the word "family" so freely these days.  "The people I work with are like a family."  "He's like a brother to me."  "She's a sister to me."  This is well and good, but don't replace you actual family with friends and co-workers.  Make a genuine connection to your blood family, if at all possible.  Don't let petty grievances get between brothers and sisters.  Or parents and children.  Fight for the relationship with family.  I believe it is worth it. 


  1. I was unemployed for five months in 2007 and other than not knowing if I'd ever find another job, they were such happy months.  It gave me a glimpse into what retired life might be like.

    I went to the gym and walked three miles most days - so morning and afternoon exercise.  And I cooked a lot and did a lot of volunteer work.  And there was also job hunting in there, too.  But I really loved it and missed being home when I started to back to work one bitterly cold January morning in 2008.   :)

  2.  I'm so glad it was a good experience for you.  :)

  3. it is worth it...fighting for family should be the priority...i quit jobs over it will be nice though i dont know if i will ever reach retirement but...smiles.

  4. This is really great advice for people that work! Although it is hard not to make your work your whole life as most people work more hours than they play/spend time away from work. My hubby and I have decided that life is for living and in our books there is not such thing as 9-5 jobs and particularly we don''t like to work for others..... so someone else can make the big $$$$ while we commit and work our arses of  - so to speak. Although I can appreciate a J.O.B and that some people really suit this lifestyle. And you mentioned the routined thing, which I totally get as many people work in the same job, living in the same place for years and years..... and years, and often think of how 'nice' it would be to have this and have that, but never do anything about it. We are all supposed to have an exciting and fun life.... wooo hooo!!!!!! :-D lol 
    Tara -

  5. I don't miss the job.  It was a passion at the beginning but after administrative duties took over, it was not so much passion anymore but headaches.  I do miss some of the people, but like your water analogy, there are no ripples now.  I won't forget all the exciting work that I did, the projects, the life in science, but I am glad to be retired.  It is good to have the day to do other things.  I haven't looked back.

  6.  I felt the same way after leaving blood banking.  I loved the work with donors and processing, etc.  Then I became the supervisor and in was all admin, admin, admin...


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