Meditations on my first “real” job

The adjustment from college student to full-time employee at an NGO has come with some surprising changes for me.  For one; I still cannot get over the fact that when I leave work I am done with work for the day.  That’s it.  I don’t have to think about it again until I arrive at the office the next morning.  No papers, no readings, no frantically staying up until 2am trying to learn some last minute facts, when I am home at night I can do whatever I want and not feel guilty for shirking my homework responsibilities.  It is a very nice adjustment.  Since I don’t have homework in the evening I have time for things like pleasure reading, cooking, and laundry (and ok, yes, catching up on some TV shows).  I know that this is a rare time in my life because if I ever decided to have kids or something my life would become very, very busy (right Mom?) but at the present moment I am enjoying this nice time I have to be only responsible for myself.

Another adjustment that I did not expect to have is simply the way a normal job works.  I have held an array of jobs, but they all have had very acutely defined tasks and goals.  Knowing that I have to finish the dishes or make a certain number of beds before I can leave for the day is very quantifiable, but my job title this year is “community builder” so how do I know when I can leave for the day?  When I have built community?  After working at the Church of the Guardian Angel for a little over two months I do have a better idea of what projects I am working on and what I need to do each day, but it still really is an adjustment because without as many quantifiable outcomes it is more difficult to feel satisfied with a days work.  On the other hand, on the less frequent occasions that I am able to see some difference I make it feels a lot better than emptying trash cans or cleaning windows ever did.

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