Keep This Job and Love It

For the second day of my ‘Thirty Days of Thankfulness‘ posting series, and in light of the continued high unemployment the United States still suffers under, I thought an appropriate topic for appreciation would be my job.  The ‘Great Recession‘ marks my third ‘period of reduced economic activity.’  The last one I remember would have been the dot-com bubble bursting a year or so before 9-11.  Prior to that, I believe it was the fallout from the savings and loan crisis in the early 90s.

Except for a one or two month time frame during 1988, I have been employed full-time since 1985.  That brief hiatus saw me transition from the insurance industry (as an appraiser – both residential and commercial properties) to the legal industry.  I liked the legal vertical so much, I’m still employed by a law firm (the same one for the last fifteen years) and still loving the challenges and the people.  I’ve probably spent as much time, if not more, with some of my coworkers, as I have with my immediate family.  Especially during those years when the IT department planned and converted hundreds of computers and systems in massive upgrades (usually driven by a change in operating systems or business productivity software handed down by Microsoft).

My only regret stems from sacrificing my career for the stability of a job.  As I approach (or skid down to) the latter half of my life, I feel the lack of a satisfying career, a professional pursuit that feeds not only my pocketbook, but my personal life as well.  While I thoroughly enjoy my adventures in Information Technology for all things legal, I find myself asking myself, will this matter after I’m gone?  What legacy (besides my glorious children) will I leave behind?  Will I leave a positive impact on the world?  Could I have done more to make a difference, however small (remember the butterfly effect)?

Yet, I am truly grateful to wake up each morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and spend another day overcoming the next technology challenge with my IT buddies.

Quotes on Employment:

Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.
~~~ Theodore Roosevelt

The taxpayer – that’s someone who works for the federal government but doesn’t have to take the civil service examination.
~~~ Ronald Reagan

To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.
~~~ Pearl S. Buck

You’ve got to find what you love and that is as true for work as it is for lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you’ve found it.
~~~ Steve Jobs

A man willing to work, and unable to find work, is perhaps the saddest sight that fortune’s inequality exhibits under this sun.
~~~ Thomas Carlyle, Chartism

Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life become a beautiful success, in spite of poverty.
~~~ Louisa May Alcott

Such is the supreme folly of man that he labours so as to labour no more.
~~~ Leonardo Da Vinci, Thoughts on Art and Life

Thirty Days of Thankfulness

I missed the blogosphere bandwagon yesterday, not realizing the current posting ‘fad’ focuses on expressing what I’m thankful for in a daily dissertation.  So please pretend that today is actually yesterday, the first of November in the year 2011.

I am thankful for my family.

Terry, Derek and Rachelle (Dec 2010)
  • Thankful for My Husband, Terry.  More than twenty five years of love and friendship, through thick and thin.  He never ceases to amaze me with his brilliant musicality and compositional talent.  His recent interest in the culinary arts means I come home to a new delectable food adventure nearly every evening.  He overcomes his disabling chronic illness each day, never succumbing to depression or giving up the fight.  He tilts windmills with home remodeling contractors and global corporations peddling home appliances.  He is passionate and compassionate and I love him dearly.
  • Thankful for My Children, Derek and Rachelle.
    • Derek, and his wife Royna, just returned home after a four day visit with us during the last weekend of October.  Number One Son came into the world busting the Apgar scale, despite an arduous labor ending in an emergency C-section.  Even though he didn’t learn to walk until fourteen months, he never slowed down all the years we corralled him.  He excelled at nearly all sports, having an uncanny sense of balance and an intuitive understanding of body mechanics, such that he competed nationally as a judoka in her early to mid teen years.  His true artistic gift surfaced late in high school, blossoming under a mentor at community college.  His talent for art and love of video games led him to the Guildhall at SMU and landed him an excellent placement even before graduation late last year.
    • Rachelle, oh how I miss you.  I haven’t seen you face-to-face since last January.  The wonders of the Internet at least allow me to listen to your concerts live, but it’s just not the same as being there.  At least I’ll get my daughter fix in three weeks when Terry and I drive to North Texas for our third annual Moss Migration for Thanksgiving.  Rachelle’s gift for vocal performance surfaced almost before she learned to talk.  I caught her singing as a baby and toddler almost more than she did talking.  Years and years of choir drudgery and exceptional vocal mentors honed her magnificent mezzo soprano.  As she approaches the last semester of her undergraduate degree in musicology at UNT, she is gearing up for a round of auditions (and the attendant travel) to various graduate schools around the country.
  • Thankful for My Extended Family.
    • My Father, who is always willing and able to help with demolishing a dying pine or trimming back a few limbs on my oak trees or any electrical wiring project that crops up.  He readily supports my bread baking habit, where he reaps the rewards in loaves of fresh home-made and home-baked loaves.  He also tags along on some of my astronomical adventures courtesy of the local Astronomical Society.  I have a general class amateur radio license thanks to him.  My troubleshooting talent can be directly traced back to me tagging along with him while growing up, as he fixed all many of items for family and friends.
    • My Mother, who inspired me to read at a very early age (three or four) and instilled a love of all kinds of literature.
    • My Uncle, Ron, and his wife Treva, are an inspiration and an example of a blessed marriage.  Ron and I feed each other’s addiction for the next great book to read to the chagrin of our spouse (I’m sure).  Ron’s watercolors keep winning awards at various galleries across the Midwest and East Coast.  Someday soon I hope he returns to writing that next great short story, novella or novel that I know is lurking just below the surface.
    • My Aunts, Melody and Jan.  Melody, my mother’s sister, lives close by, within an hour’s drive in Topeka.  Jan, my father’s sister, lives farther away in Ohio, between her brothers (one in Kansas and one in Virginia).  Both of these women hold special places in my heart and fond memories from my early childhood.
    • My Cousins, starting with the paternal side of the tree, Wendell, Eric, David and Katy.  Since I was the oldest cousin (from the oldest offspring), I got to see each and every one of you grow-up, from infants to adults with families of your own.  Katy, the youngest, tied the knot just this past June (on or very near both my daughter’s birthday and what would have been my grandmother’s eighty-ninth birthday).  Wendell and his wife Kristen recently became the proud parents of twin boys, William and Logan.  On the maternal side of the tree, I have many cousins, some of which I’ve reconnected with on Facebook and others who remain in obscurity.  Since my mother was somewhere in the middle of six children, I am not the oldest of the cousins on this side of the family tree.   Oldest to youngest (by family group): Roberta, Peter, Rebecca; Tracy, Kelly and Phillip; Brandi and Summer; and, Charles and Anne.  I know I’m missing some in the above list, mostly because there are cousins out there who are younger than my kids and I’ve only met them or heard of them once or twice.

Even though 2011 marked the first year of my life without a living grandparent, I am grateful for the time I had with both my grandmothers.  Doris, my father’s mother, passed away last year, and Juanita, my mother’s mother, passed away in June of 2005.

Juanita and Me (at my high school graduation)

Quotes on Families:

Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts.
~~~ Author Unknown

When our relatives are at home, we have to think of all their good points or it would be impossible to endure them.
~~~ George Bernard Shaw

One of life’s greatest mysteries is how the boy who wasn’t good enough to marry your daughter can be the father of the smartest grandchild in the world.
~~~ Jewish Proverb

Family life is full of major and minor crises — the ups and downs of health, success and failure in career, marriage, and divorce — and all kinds of characters. It is tied to places and events and histories. With all of these felt details, life etches itself into memory and personality. It’s difficult to imagine anything more nourishing to the soul.
~~~ Thomas Moore

In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.
~~~ Alex Haley