Saturday, February 14, 2009
Reflecting at work.
There are many things in life I cannot do at my age. I have become quite aware of my numerous non-skills. Among others, these include: driving, hula-hooping, quilting and saxophone playing.
But nothing is more frustrating than seeing my dream career vanished into thin air. It's uncanny, but I consider myself to be a reasonably intelligent person - I mean, I did manage to get through a college degree. However, part of me now thinks, I shouldn't have set foot in the college of Arts and Sciences.
My cherished dream was to become a "yuppie" - it was all that mattered in high school. My life ambition were to earn a lot of money, live in a bungalow, drive a car. It shouldn't have been too hard from what I saw on TV. Yuppies didn't seem to need to do much. All they did was look good and become rich.
Of course, now I realize that a profession, some sorts of job, is actually necessary to earn money to buy things. And along with that, I also come to terms with the fact that "yuppie" isn't an actual profession.
But had I enrolled in the college of Business and become an accountant, I would have been working for a bank or a multinational company and maybe all set to conquer the world in blazers. But instead, I finished a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and worked in industrial area far from the bustling city with their tall buildings and tiny cubicles.
There is this big certainty in my life, however, - that I wouldn't have survived the corporate world. Had I entered a bank or a multinational firm, within two years my body would just have been found decomposing in some office cubicle. Or I'll die falling down the stairs and breaking my neck because I was rushing to get somewhere in stilettos, or I just might freeze to death in the cold of a corporate air conditioning system.
But, working in an industrial plant, more specifically in petroleum industry makes my yuppiness dissolve into thin air.The blazers suddenly disappeared from my wardrobe to be replaced by simple tees. The heels transformed into flip-flops and the hair dryer mysteriously vanished. And with that, I took a vow of poverty.
My income is certainly nowhere near what it could have been had I hurled myself into the rat race. In fact, I have a sinking feeling that my entire annual income is just some bank VP's monthly tax. I can feel my toes curl up every time a gas price hike is announced. Sure I was able to buy a car, only, it's about the same age as my youngest son. And when Phil talked about what new car he is going to buy, I did my mental calculations, and I figure that maybe I can afford a new car right before cataracts kicks in from old age. But then i doubt if i can even drive it.
Naaah, I don't do that often - calculate. I try to avoid looking at my paycheck as much as possible for fear that it might lead to a depression and the cost of anti-depressant and therapy might send me over the edge. But even with calculations thrown in, I wouldn't trade lives...
Why? well on weekdays, I would wake up half an hour before I had to be at work, quickly showered, threw in a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and flip-flops. I sip my coffee in my desk as I prepare the activity for the day or write formulations of product to be blended. A quick tour of the plant at ten, then I can sit back and open my computer to read emails and news, and even write blog and read those blogs I follow.
Yes Joy O., I do work, but my break happens when I want them. And as I put down the phone after asking the canteen for snacks, I think: sometimes it just doesn't get any better than this.