Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Grass is Greener in Your Office

When I was younger, most people I knew (at least my age) were all in school. We went to school every day, we had vacations when most other school people did, and we never thought much about what else we could be doing because when you are a kid, you just go to school, that's what you do.

Now that I am an adult, the people I know have a lot more choices over how they spend their days. But this has brought about something new... the constant comparisons of my job to yours. Who has it harder? Who is paid what they should be? Who has more/better vacation time? Who has better hours? A few weeks ago Eric's family was over and in a room of just a few people- his dad wanted our vacation time, his brother wanted his dad's flex hours and Eric and I wanted a day where we could just shut the door to our office an send some personal e-mails :)

I love my job, I really do. Not every day, not even every week, but overall I love it. I love that moment when a child realizes he or she can *really* read. I love that moment when my kids clap because I just read them the best book or played a game they love. I love that moment when a parent tells me their child loves school. I love that moment about a month into school when I realize all the kids have made new friends already. I love that moment when kids have their first kindergarten play date and they can hardly focus all day they are so excited about it. I love that moment when I find or get a really great idea for a lesson and it really, really works. I love that I have a job where I get scheduled vacations after what I consider to be a reasonable amount of time. I love that I have a job where I can switch jobs in the summer to get a change of scenery. I love that I have a job with solid benefits, medical insurance, a retirement plan etc. I love that I have a secure job. There is even more I love.

Even still, there are things that sometimes I wish I could have...

I wish I didn't have to be "on" every minute at work. I wish I could make phone calls and get things done during "down time." I wish I could have flex time (aka work longer for 4 days to have the 5th off). I wish I could come in an hour late if I had a dentist appointment, or take a day off sick without getting out of bed to write multiple pages of plans. I wish I got paid like people do in the business world. I know they work more days than me, but even if you add to my salary for the summer months, I still would never make as much- even with 6 years of experience and a Master's degree.

You know what though? Who doesn't want to get paid more? Who doesn't want to work less or have an even more flexible schedule? Are there really people out there who feel like they don't work really hard at work? (I'm sure there are, but I don't know them).

Teachers get a lot of crap for various myths people have about our jobs. We "play" with kids all day. We have way too much time off. We are home at 3 every day. Eric, in particular, takes the brunt of many of the teacher jokes. He often hears "wait so, you get paid to play dodgeball all day in mesh shorts?" What is Eric's response to these clueless individuals (often teachers themselves!)?

You could've been a PE teacher too.

Oh yeah... we could've! I could've gone into business to make more money. I could leave my job right now for a job where I could read blogs all day. I could quit my job tomorrow and travel the world, living in hostels and taking on odd-jobs just to pay for my housing and food. I *could* do what I want, assuming I am willing to make the sacrifices to do it. But I'm not. And so... please take my complaints with a grain of salt as I will take yours. Sure, I will always have to pay absolutely absurd air fare to fly anywhere on school vacations week. But you know what? The grass is always greener on the other side. No one has the perfect job. If that job was out there, we would all do it.

So today, I will appreciate those kiddos in all their Christmas excitement glory. Well, make that tomorrow because today I'm home sick with a terrible cough. Haha. What do you appreciate about YOUR job?


  1. Ah I love this post! So true. And it applies to ALL aspects of life in some ways I think!

    I have been experiencing the "grass looks greener" in the job area a lot lately because our office slows down A LOT in December and let me say, it is not fun having downtime when you have a lot of it. You can only read blogs and send personal emails for so many hours in a day before you are completely bored out of your tree :P

    But I do love my flex hours. A lot. I love that when I did my 30-day yoga challenge in January I could come in and work 7 - 3 to make it to the 3:30 yoga class. Or I can work 10 - 6 on mornings when I need an extra couple hours. I can work from home if/when I need to (like last Friday when I had a doctors appointment) and I can almost always leave early on Friday's. I also have an awesome boss and coworkers I really like. I see people complaining about their coworkers and boss all the time on Twitter and I don't really have any complaints about mine because they are great people!

    I do wish I had more vacation time though. 10 days a year is NOT much. And I also wish I didn't have to sit at a desk all day and had a job where I could move more. But, like you said, the grass is always greener right :)

  2. Great post! I love my job and am happy with what my earn each year, but I've invested alot of money and time into it. My masters was SO much more expensive than a typical masters program ($1,000/credit), and now I am investing loads and loads of time into studying for the CFA. And I don't really have great job security - people get fired in the blink of an eye. we get compensated well to account for that uncertainty of future income...

    Anyways, that said, I love my job. I love that I get to research, write, build spreadsheets, talk to sales reps, and meet with clients. I love that alot of my job is sort of 'self directed' and 'independent'. I have a boss, bu the just lets me sort of do my thing - he gives me a directive, but doesn't tell me how to accomplish it, and i like that. I like the intense environment I work it, and I like that I work with mostly men, but I know it's not for everyone!

  3. I love, love, love this post! I think it's natural to covet other job positions that "seem" like they're easier or offer better benefits. Some days, I wonder if I want to go back to school for teaching and other days, I remember the hell that was my internships and know it's not.

    Right now, I'm loving the place I'm at in my career. I love the 9-to-5 office environment and I honestly didn't know if I would. It works for me, but I know it's not for everyone.

  4. haha hmm was this post inspired by my complaints yesterday?

    I also think it's funny that I was reading Amber's post about how her "down time" is in December and wishing I was her. BUSY time should not be in December. Period.

    Rant over - I swear. Anyways, I like this post. I think the KEY is that you truly do like what you do and you feel like you're making a difference, no matter what your pay is or job flexibility. I know I always sort of made fun of this mentality, but right now I'm not happy in my job because I don't feel like anyone's benefiting from it. I'm making a big company bigger - wooo.

    I like your point about "you could have been a.." - makes me want to take action. I will at some point.. haha .. photography school maybe?

  5. Ps do people ACTUALLY think they could be a PE teacher?? I swear that has to be one of the hardest jobs. Eric is perfect for it though : )

  6. As a fellow educator...HALLELUJAH. Totally agree! (And I'm only writing this now because a child is out sick and I felt that if I didn't take 90 seconds for myself I would scream!)

  7. I love my job!!! I feel blessed to have a career that's so exciting and fast paced. And yes, often like the tv shows (which makes sense if you know what I do)!

    But there are days . . . when it gets me down. Mostly because I am often exposed to a very ugly side of life. The kind of side most people are blissfully unaware of.

    And yet in those moments where you get to make a difference - a REAL difference - it's all worthwhile! :o)

  8. I'm at at tired momemnt so I appreciate that I only have to work part-time right now hahaha.