Friday, August 10, 2007

When Do I Start My REAL Job?

As some of you (my faithful readers) might know, I'm a part-time student and full-time university employee. Occasionally this causes some conflicts, such as when I don't finish all my homework and have to furtively read at work, or if I'm caught editing a paper when I have some down time. Part of my problem is that I don't see my current employment as my real job--I still consider myself a student first. The 40 hours a week I put in at the office are just what I need to do to pay for school and to eat.

Occasionally, I get tired of working the holding-pattern job and wish I could dive into PhD school. I think this feeling is especially acute when I'm either really busy from my classes and also when I'm not in class (no academia to distract me from working). I like my current employment. My co-workers are nice, the job itself has its challenges, and I get paid enough to live comfortably and go to Spain in December. So, really, it's not a bad deal at all.

But then I'm struck with the yearning to be able to dedicate all of my time and energy to being a graduate student. Even if I were to teach classes to pay for my student life style, I think I would still be more content. (Especially if I didn't have to take out loans or work another job). I love school, I love going to class, I get excited when I get to read neat stuff and find something interesting to say about it, and I love rubbing elbows with other students and professors. It's a satisfying state of existence. It's why I miss my undergraduate days.

So I tell myself that I'm lucky to have found a good job. And I also remind myself that I won't have terribly much longer (in the grand scheme of things) to work here until I can move somewhere new for PhD school. Sometimes, I just wish that day were coming much sooner.

6 comments:

Justin Ray said...

I don't like limbo, either. I want to be on the way to where I want to go. So I tell myself that Starbucks is a career for me, whether it turns out to be or not.

Amanda D Allen said...

I read the first paragraph and got all worried that my work ethic post caused you guilt over doing homework at work. I completely understand what you are saying. I have had some wonderful opportunities at my current position, and I have learned more than I could have imagined about how an institution and faculty work funding-wise. Sadly, the most important thing I've learned is that I never want to work in a Sponsored Programs or Sponsored Research office again. That type of stress just does not mesh with my work style. Now I feel that I'm in a bit of a rut. I've learned most of the general information that will benefit anyone in higher education, and now I can plow forward and really learn the Sponsored Programs intensive stuff or treat it like a part time filler job.

Kathryn said...

At least you're saving money right now while you're working. So that's always a good thing. And all of the time you're spending at an 8-5 job will make you appreciate your full-time student life once you're working on your Ph.D. It'll work out. And no, you don't have much longer to go. I'm excited for you and hope you get into a good program. Hopefully it'll be at an exciting location so I can come visit.

g-girl said...

there's nothing wrong with the fact that you don't see your current job as your real job. It's not the job you're going to school for-of course you think that way. I think I'd view myself as a student first too. It will all be worth it in the end.

Kerry said...

Haha, you're looking forward to your REAL job, and I'm looking forward to REAL money. We should switch. *grins*

the secret knitter said...

While the holding pattern job may be a drag at times, it's just a brief but necessary stop to where you want to go. I know that doesn't make it any easier while you're in the middle of it, but think of how the sacrifice now is helping you for the future.