Sometimes, Just Drift Along

Jane handed me a piece of paper and said, “These just came in! I printed them out for you, can you please fetch these from the shelves?”

“Sure!” I replied and went hunting for The Four Winds, The Last Thing He Told Me, and The Paper Palace from the new books section.

When you are working at the library, you need to be quick and always on your feet. Working at a library has been a childhood dream for me, a dream job! Imagine being surrounded by books all the time, can a job get better than this? I was overwhelmed with joy when they told me I was selected for the position of Circulation Assistant/Shelver. It’s been three weeks now and it’s also the last day of my training. Most importantly it’s payday and I am eagerly waiting to be paid. After all, money isn’t insignificant.

This isn’t my first job, it’s not even my second. If my memory serves me correctly I think it’s my seventh. I know what you’re thinking — how old is she anyway? Well, I turn thirty-four this year. In my thirty-four years, I’ve found that most people define themselves primarily by their jobs. I envy them because I’m not sure I can ever find the best role that can define me. You see, I have always been confused when it comes to making decisions in life. Is there such a thing as a single role?

As a kid, I was always asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I would say, “Um, I would still want to be myself?”

Children don’t really think about the far future, all they care about is playing and eating chocolates.

Yet, they would put me on the spot and ask, “No dear! What work will you do? Do you want to be a doctor or an engineer?”

Alright then, I have to make a choice. So, let’s get this over with. I would shout, “Doctor!”

The joy on their faces, I tell you! As a child, I always wondered why adults were so fascinated with work. Now, who likes to work? When my mother told me to do some work, I would run the other way.

Then, you grow up and realize that to survive in this world you need to work.

“It’s simple, just get a job and all the problems in your life will magically disappear.”, they said.

I can’t help but agree with them even though I dislike the whole idea of working.

After graduation, I got selected in a multinational company and got a job pretty easily. My parents were proud, friends were overjoyed, and classmates were envious. I worked there for two months and quit. Everybody was shocked. My friends were bewildered by my decision. They were fuming with rage. My dad was so disappointed in me that he did not speak to me for a week.

They said, “What’s wrong with you? Do you know how lucky you were? We are struggling to find a job and you just throw it away?”

I was scared and upset, I questioned my decision and wondered if I had made a dire mistake. I got influenced by the people around me and quickly started looking for other jobs. I needed money so I worked in a call center for a few months. I knew this was temporary so I posted my resume on many job portals. Soon, I got a call from another big company for the position of a data analyst. I took it up because the late-night shifts in the call center were affecting my health.

I did the data analyzing job for six months, but I just wasn’t happy. There was not much to complain about, the pay was good and I was treated with respect. My colleagues were friendly and helpful. But deep inside, I knew that this is not what I wanted to do in my life.

I started worrying, “How do I make this work? What was the point of all the education when I cannot work? Why does work have to feel so meaningless and even insulting?”

I couldn’t understand how people managed to work their entire life. Is this what work means, dreading every single day? I was in shambles, I had to find something that not only helped me survive but also kept me sane. I had saved some money so I took time off to understand what I really wanted to do with my life.

I researched and decided to study English Literature.

Why? I guess because I like reading books?

Well, I had to begin somewhere so I enrolled myself in a college and thankfully I liked studying. It made me feel alive again.

Immediately after my course, I got a job as a fashion writer. Guess what? It felt like I finally found a job that was fulfilling. I wasn’t getting paid enough but I liked every second of the job. I guess because it didn’t feel like I was working? At the end of the day, I would be happy looking at my articles posted on the company website. Six years flew by working as a content writer for different companies. I liked writing so much that I even started blogging. Writing to me was therapeutic and it helped to calm my noisy mind.

You know, it doesn’t end here. People still ask me, “You’ve been writing for six years? You should be a manager by now, what about career growth?”

So I had to tell myself repeatedly — no, no! I’m not falling into this trap all over again. It’s easy to get influenced by peers, but I knew if I participated in the rat race I would end up quitting again.

Once I found the career path that worked for me, I started exploring other opportunities of my interest. I stopped working as a full-time content writer and started doing multiple other jobs. Like I said earlier, I’m a confused person and I’m still confused. I still make wrong decisions, but I don’t mind trying new things until I find out what works for me. Now, I do three jobs in a day. I’m a volunteer who teaches underprivileged kids in the morning, I work at a library in the afternoon, and do freelance writing at night. I also work as a baker on the weekend but that’s just for myself.

I am not being boastful. Well, maybe a little but that’s not the point. It doesn’t matter what job you do as long as it makes you happy and adds meaning to your life. As I ponder on my entire life while shelving, which I often tend to do, I climb down the ladder holding the last book from the list called The Multi-Hyphen Life. Right, how apt!

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