(I missed midnite by two minutes because LJ seemed to be struggling, and I was in the middle of writing the script for next week's City Council appearance. So, even though I feel like it's still Thursday, the calendar says otherwise.)
I heard a statistic on the Today Show this week that only 45% of the working population in this country is satisfied with their jobs. (I'm still obsessively watching the Today Show every morning, two years after coming that close
to getting Ann Curry, an Oregon native, to serve as our grand marshal.)
Even in a down economy when people are doing whatever they need to in order to get that paycheck, this is a sad stat. Aside from grim necessity, I can't help wondering how many people cling to their dissatisfying jobs because they really can't imagine doing much else. And how many *expect* to be unhappy in their work?
I'm one of the fortunate few. I have come to realize in the last year and a half that I have the perfect job for me. It certainly wasn't always true; I've had times when I would have been in that unhappy 55%, and as recently as two years ago I was pretty burnt out. But once I had time to recover from two years of adrenalin-pumping, 24/7 sweat equity--the labor of love that was our Centennial--I had a sort of epiphany. Last year I went to lunch with one of the young women who used to work on my team, and she honestly said to me that even though she knew I dreamed of a high-level communications gig that wouldn't involve event management, I was already in the perfect place for me.
She was right.
No, the job isn't perfect, and I'm not perfect in it. But I grew into it, and it grew into me. It allows me to be creative, to be constructive, to be controlling and to have an impact on the community. I get to play with all the tools in my toy box, my organizational skills, my sometimes Machiavellian strategy and tactics, my management, my writing, my speaking and my hard-won patience. I get to openly display my passion and honestly express my opinions. (And that toy box analogy is part of my secret to success. Work is still play to me, more often than not.)
I don't have to glad-hand much. And I don't have to suck up all that much. I get heard and I get to listen. I am allowed to take chances and sometimes to fail.
I can admit my mistakes without fear and be forgiven.
And I'm well compensated and almost always shown respect and often affection. Better than that, I feel respect and even affection for dozens of the people with whom I have the privilege to work.
Charlie and I were chatting today and speculating that one of the things that keeps me from really striving to become a successful writer is that I already have such a satisfying career. I'm just not hungry enough to work hard enough at the writing thing.
And I may never be. And that's okay.
Today I got to sit and listen to the plan to re-vitalize our Memorial Coliseum, and to suggest to the manager that I'd like to have a hand in helping celebrate that venerable venue's 50th anniversary this year. (Just three short years ago, I got to climb up a ladder and be lifted to the roof of that building by a Navy Seal, during a site check for a parachute stunt involving the Leap Frogs. There I stood in the sunshine, looking around me at the west hills, the Willamette River and the cityscape, somewhere only a handful of people have ever had the chance to stand. And that was just one memory in a year full of amazing memories, including the chance to stand on stage in the packed house of a historic theater and say 'roll it' at the premiere of a motion picture I got to executive produce!)
This week I traded emails with a former governor of the state and spoke to the women who served as mayor of this city for 12 years, inviting them to participate in our big day at City Hall next week. And when we celebrate the vote that finally makes us the city's official festival (after more than a century), I will have had the chance to cast and script the entire event.
No, I'll never get in the 'Hall of Fame' of my industry's trade association. I've already been nominated once and rejected. My name will never be well know, even locally. Except for occasional speeches or interviews, I work behind-the-scenes most of the time, and I like it that way.
I'm like most people. I don't need glory. I just want job satisfaction.
And all I had to do to deserve the opportunity to do the things I do is work hard, be patient, persevere and occasionally stridently protest when ugly realities like sexism reared up to try to throw me. Especially the work hard
part. Because I believe people *want* to work hard if they love what they're working on. The fortunate 45% know what I mean.