When I was little, my bed was a mattress on the floor.
We lived in a duplex on the East Side of Houston, in an area that even now is considered dubious (though it’s rapidly gentrifying because of the rail line under construction). Though we didn’t consider ourselves to be poor, we didn’t have money for eating out or other “luxuries” like that.
My Dad worked in construction. Most of my life I remember he always tried to improve our financial situation. Sometimes that meant working two jobs. Sometimes that meant that he ran small projects on the side, like running a stall at a flea market. Eventually that meant opening his own business and throwing caution to the wind that way. That was when I learned a new word: subcontractor.
Before I was even double digits in age I was already helping out by separating bills into category piles so she could take them to the bookkeeper. As I got older, my “assistant” duties got more involved (at one point I was human resources and payroll).
I tell you this so you can get an idea of one end of the spectrum in my life. So that when I say that I bought my niece a bracelet at Tiffany’s for last year’s birthday, or that my best friend’s child has a personal shopper, or that I paid $30 for a small bag of organic pine nuts… so you can understand what the 180 degrees looks like for me.
But I’m not done. I keep reminding myself that I’m not done.
Wednesday, Oct. 15, marked the first day of my new job. I was promoted to Marketing Coordinator (this included a small increase in salary). It’s a small promotion, but the job should be something I enjoy a bit more than my previous customer service gig. Not that I didn’t like the customer service thing, it just wasn’t what I studied for — I was a public relations major and a marketing minor.
I’ve always thought it was ironic that I worked myself to the ground to pay my way through college so that I could get out of the university, then I ended up working here. That’s me — queen of contradictions.
It should be interesting to see what this new position has in store for me. One thing’s for sure, it involves a lot more in-person interaction with people. Not just the telephone stuff I did previously, but situations where I have to go to meetings and look the part of a professional marketing person. I won’t mind that part. I’ve been building up my wardrobe and can do the “dress for success” thing without much effort.
The only thing I don’t look forward to is the fact that now I’m no longer at the bottom of the ladder, so I can’t stay out of the office politics game. Thank goodness I have years of experience working in an office environment. Very little about office politics and etiquette surprises me now. I may not like the game, but I’ve observed it long enough to know how it’s played.
The good thing is that now that I’m doing something in my field I can start to think about graduate school. Now all I have to do is decide if I want a Master’s degree in Communication or in Business. I need to give this further thought.
It is my mission in life to succeed. Of course, exactly what succeed means is what’s giving me the headaches. Whose value system do I use to measure the success of my life? The church’s? Well, that would probably be a good choice as far as my character is concerned, but since I’m not an active member of any church, that might be a problem. My parents’? There’s another good suggestion, but my parents and I don’t agree on a lot of things and I shudder to think of analyzing myself and my actions from their point of view. My friends’? Well, it’s true that I agree with them on most of my opinions, but my ambitions aren’t in sync with theirs. In fact, ambition is a word widely considered as a joke among them. So, how do I measure the achievements of my life? Which role models, community leaders, or other personalities are there to use as a guide? Oh yeah, I just remembered, there aren’t any out there. Oh well, maybe I can wait a few years and accumulate a few more achievements before I try to do this measurement of success thing again.