Sunday, February 04, 2007

Let's go exploring

I'm sorry for leaving you in suspense for so long (and the fact that anyone cares is really sweet).

But yes, I have a job. An Official Title job which entails real responsibilities, as there are fewer people in my office than fingers on one hand. The position includes orchestrating our annual fundraiser auction (scheduled for spring, and no work done yet! Eeep!), co-organizing the volunteer projects; doing public outreach, presentations, etc; digging into restoration policy; and a few other things. Hence, the slight panic: this is a serious, serious job. I insisted I never wanted to be an admin assistant again, and it remains true -- but I'm realizing that the perk to admin was that I never really had to be held accountable for anything. The worst I could do was transfer a few phone calls to the wrong desk or missplace something of moderate importance, like our housing bills. Now? Now, I could singlehandedly throw an organization into chaos by double-booking the auction venue or wrecking the company truck. (Have I mentioned that both trucks are stick shifts, which I can't drive? Do you SEE why I'm working on my first ulcer?)

As strange as this may sound to anyone who's been in the workforce for awhile, it also feels very, very odd to have a "real" real job. This isn't something I can leave in a year to finish grad school (that comes later), or something I can just do on a whim to keep me occupied in between classes. More than anything else I've done, this feels like serious adulthood, and I'm feeling a little ambivalent about it. While I'm thrilled to actually be in the field I wanted and to have a job which will challenge me by making me stretch in a dozen directions at once, I also feel a little wistful. So much for doing the over-romanticized coffeehouse job while writing my novel between shifts. No spontaneous "pack it up and travel" moments coming soon. I'm really envious of people who can do those things, but I think I learned this year that I can't. I need more structure, as well as a role that feels like it's really "doing something"...and I'm a little disappointed in myself as a result. I'm afraid I won't finish that novel, or do that traveling, and even though I know those fears are exaggerated right now, they still nibble at me when I'm lying in bed. Here comes the nontraditional student in grad school, the mortgage (if we can ever afford one), the itemized taxes and IRAs and scheduled vacation time. Part of me's relieved, and the rest wants to run screaming to the nearest bar...which probably explains why I spent Friday night in the tub with a giant Bloody Mary.

At the same time, I'm totally stoked about this job and think that it will be a perfect way to launch the environmental policy career I'm hoping to have. This is going to let me get involved with every aspect of an organization, and it's a group which straddles the nonprofit-government border while also working with the private sector. I wish I could tell you all about it, but I don't feel like getting dooced anytime soon...and with such a small office, you know I'll have stories to tell.

Tomorrow is my second day, and I'm already going to be alone in the office all week. In that time, I have to select two or three venues for the event while remaining mindful of our microscopic budget, and I also need to prep all of our PR materials and start identifying potential donors. So much for easing into things! But life is good, and I just hope I can perform well enough to convince them to keep me. On the bright side, I do get to keep the eyebrow, the jeans, and the bike-to-work habit. I may be getting dragged into full-blown adulthood, but I have a healthy clump of my less-responsible side clutched between my fingers. Aren't you thrilled you get to come along for the ride? ;)

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