Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dream Jobs and the Tooth Fairy

There are only two reasons to work: for love or money. Over the past few months I’ve fulfilled my passions via this blog and the non-profit I volunteer for. My job has strictly been the way I earn my keep in the city I love and call home. Recently a lucrative offer to switch companies, though doing generally the same thing, fell into my lap with a much higher base pay. Prior to talking numbers, I’d committed myself to only switching companies if it were in the right path for my career ambitions; however, I find myself fantasizing over the pretty little things I could collect in my closet if I was pulling in some more cash. (But if my parents are reading this, I’ll put it all in savings…) Unfortunately, this opportunity has a tight timeline and is just at the cusp of when I anticipate hearing back about beginning the interview process with some of the other ventures I’ve pursued more akin to my passions. I have much too expensive of taste and too active a social life to survive on Ramon noodles in a “petit” apartment in the Tenderloin, but at the same time, I yearn for the opportunity to present my business card with the word “writer” etched somewhere in my job title.

I didn’t prepare for this situation, and I admit that of any job predicament, this is likely the most favorable. Nonetheless, I’m conflicted on what to do: Do I want to work for love or money?

Money means agreeing to join the new company would mean making a commitment likely for 1 to 2 years simply for consistency on my resume. Love would mean waiting until finally the clouds part, a beam of light shines down and a word count replaces my sales quota. Money means I survive the work week to gain financial freedom to explore my passions more freely when not on the clock. Love would mean pouring my heart into my career and sacrificing some of the weekend trips or vacations. Do I want to work to fulfill my passions or work to dabble in them?

I circle back to the crux of the ailment called “growing up” that I’d described in some of my January-March entries. College prepares you to believe that that degree in international studies means you’ll be immersed in rich multi-cultural meetings. College makes you believe that your preparation during your four years will be the key to securing that phantom dream job. But after a year in the “real world”, I’m beginning to doubt that these “dream jobs” are any more tangible than the Tooth Fairy. Were my college advisors simply just perpetuating a fabricated truth so I’d faithfully place my tooth under my pillow each night? I feel like a six year old that awakes the next morning in anticipation only to find no coins or treats, just a pint-size molar with slight blood residue under her pillow.

I remember the exact moment when I felt all the magic escape from my bones. It had been a steady decrease in innocence: first the Tooth Fairy, then Santa Claus and then finally went the imagination only children can have. Prior to that day, I’d still been able to salvage some belief and enjoyment in inventing games and new personas to assume. But that day, when I picked up my toys, I forgot who they had been to me. The personality, voice and adventures, once so inherent and obvious, were missing. Time had simply run out.

As I trudge on in my trek to land the dream job and the endless proliferation of resumes and writing samples, I wonder if one day the faith in its existence, too, will leave me.

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