Friday, May 15, 2009

How Can You DO That?

Yesterday I posed the question, "What sort of person decides to do _______ for a living?" I was specific yesterday, but would like to be more open-ended today.

By the way, before I move on, let me just say that Tom's first thought, when asked who goes into that branch of nursing was: fetishist? I rejected that quickly, because I have several more appointments with these fine folks. I immediately thought: someone who, for whatever reason, couldn't find a job in their chosen field and had to take what they could get? I rejected that one quickly, too, because - well - same reason I rejected Tom's.

But then I recalled a conversation I'd had with my mother many years ago. I was doing Early Intervention - working with infants and toddlers with disabilities or at risk of developing disabilities - and she was an RN in a nursing home. She said, "I could never do your job. I don't know how you do it. I couldn't spend all day with those kids, my heart would break." I was too surprised to answer. I thought my job was awesome. I thought her job sucked and told her so.

"I couldn't do your job, either. People go there to die. I couldn't handle that. My heart would break."

She explained that that part was indeed sad, but that it gave her a real sense of purpose and satisfaction to know that she had helped them through the last part of life. I told her it was the same with my job, with the difference being that my little babies were just all full of boundless potential and I loved coaxing it out and helping their parents learn to coax it out. There was no hope in her job. She, as you've probably figured out by now, begged to differ.

We went around like this for a while - both having tremendous respect for what the other was doing but not being able to fully grok the motivation behind doing it.

It was an agree to disagree situation.

Tom is a computer programmer. He works in a small cubicle all day. He has very little human contact. He doesn't look particularly forward to what little he does have. I. Would. Die. I think I'd almost rather be a pee nurse. Almost. At least she gets to interact with people. Mortified, humiliated people who would rather be anywhere but there, sure, but people all the same.

My Uncle Bob used to always say, "There's another job I'm glad I don't have." when he saw people doing - well - dirty jobs type jobs. Yet people do them and I sure am happy about that!

I guess it all goes back to differences. We are all born with different interests and a different skill set. If we were all the same, not only would things be awfully dull, but there would be an awful lot of things that never got done!

So I'm interested - inquiring minds want to know - what kind of job do you think is ideal and why, and what kind of job would you not do for all the money in the world and why?

Full disclosure: I'm having a full-on midlife crisis and have no idea what I want to do with the next half of my life. I'm hoping someone will say SOMEthing that will force gently nudge me into some sort of decision, or at least into some valid direction. No pressure.

Edited to add - On a completely unrelated note, I put a "We Heart Art" post up on my craft blog, if anyone is interested.


Alex the Girl said...

My ideal job would actually be my two ideal jobs. I seriously would love to own a used book and antique store. The main focus would be on the books while the rest of the store would have a few antiques scattered about. Nothing fancy, perhaps a coffee and dessert section in the back. Definately a reading nook for my customers and myself when business is slow. The second job is part time when the Renaissance Festival is whipping through. I'd LOVE to be a performer in a ren fair. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. If I were young and single, and could put together a traveling troop, I'd even go on the road and make it permanent. Oh yes. I would.

Gibby said...

I have a couple of ideal jobs, but I would love to be a famous author who never had to speak in public or do book signings. I would send the girls off to school in the morning, and head to a really cool coffee shop (not a SB, although I do love SB) and write. I would drink coffee and eat bagels and write and write. I would write and answer fan emails until 2:15, when I would close up my laptop and go pick up the girls from school, pick up my royalties check in the mail, and rejoin society.

Pure heaven.

A job I just can't figure out? Those kiddy hair-cut places where those stylists have to try to cut screaming kids' hair all day long.

Another one I don't get...a pediatric dentist. Headache city.