My walks through Carkeek have been quite peaceful lately (save for a few stupid people who occasionally cross my path). Petey and I have memorized most of the trails, and even though I tend to mix things up by taking different routes, I’m still able to go on auto-pilot.
This gives my brain plenty of time to do its thing.
Tonight my brain made a list of all the jobs my dad has had. And it occurred to me that he’s done some pretty weird stuff. His first job (I’m pretty sure) was at Kmart. He sold fireworks. Then he joined the Navy, became a corpsman and diagnosed a whole lot of STDs. In Vietnam he saw even more STDs, and he saw some horrible, horrible things, too. Only recently did he share some of those stories with me. Now I can see why he’s held on to them for so long.
He had to drive truckloads of appendages to the incinerator.
I can’t imagine.
He worked as a lab assistant and a phlebotomist. He worked at a waste water treatment facility. He’s worked in factories that made sausage casings, chainsaw chains and hubcaps. He’s worked for precious metals refineries.
I can remember riding around with him on forklifts, or walking around vats of sewage that looked like giant swimming pools filled with dark, stinky water. One time he brought me a silver coin, embossed with his company’s logo–a miner, panning for gold in a riverbed. I still have it.
The thing is, I don’t know that my dad’s ever been happy with his job, no matter where he was or what he was making or extracting or selling. He’s in his sixties now, and he’s still sending out resumes, hoping for something better.
The job he has now is a good one. I guess the best way to describe it is sales. He travels all over the place. But there’s something that makes him want to find something else, something more.
And then my brain started wondering: how much am I like my dad? I’ve had all sorts of jobs, too. I’m 34, and I’ve done my time at McDonald’s. I’ve been a cashier, a stock clerk, and a butcher. I’ve worked in a deli and a bakery and I’ve worked with produce. I’ve driven a tug boat, and acted as a tour guide on an old warship. I’ve stood guard duty, armed with a loaded revolver. I’ve been an administrative assistant in military public affairs, in an engineering firm, and a bookstore. I’ve counted beads and books and I’ve put price tags on things so tiny the tags were larger than the object. I’ve tutored in all sorts of arenas–sometimes working specifically with learning disabled, or non-native English speaking students. I’ve worked at home in my pajamas and I’ve worn business attire in offices. I’ve reeked of rotten milk and sweat and sea water. I’ve cut myself and I’ve burned myself. I’ve lectured and conferenced and work-shopped. I’ve written and I’ve edited.
And I’m probably leaving out something or another. I babysat a few times, but was never any good at it. (I usually ignored the kids with the poop in their pants, regardless of age.) I did some yard work, too.
But the thing is, it seems I’ve always just sort of happened into the next thing. I’ve never really looked at something and said: ‘that’s it. I want that job.’ Okay, so I sort of did that with the job I have now, but the job I have isn’t the one I thought I’d get. It just so happens that it’s the one I got. (It’s a long story. I’ll tell you later.)
I’m satisfied with what I do, yes. But there are parts of what I do that I’m really good at. And those things aren’t really part of what I should be doing. I’ve scripted and storyboarded short films, and I’ve done some graphic design. And I’m pretty good at all of those things (or so I’m told).
That’s about where it ends. I should say that’s about where my walk ended and I was thrust back into remembering that tomorrow I need to put the quarterly statistics together.
I’ll consider this a reminder to myself.