Every January, raises are doled out here. And every year the process makes me question my worth in comparison to others. If I wasn’t one of the few in the company who can see every other person’s salary, I doubt the comparing would happen. But it does – because I do see. I can compare down to the penny. Sometimes that’s pretty uplifting and sometimes it’s the opposite.
Either way – when it’s all said and done – it’s a huge lesson in gratitude and in learning NOT to compare things that are not apples to apples.
You see, being a mother and a wife has never been enough for me. I suppose to some that sounds appalling but it’s not…it’s called honesty. I have always known that I’ve needed an identity that is all about me and my talents or skills. Something that labels me as someone other than woman, mother, wife, daughter, or friend.
I can easily admit that those terms above take priority over my career but still - I need them all.
I’ve always worked in the professional arena and always full time. I’ve always loved my jobs and the people I work with. I’ve always done “stuff” with numbers. Though I was a 4.0 student, I knew that any longer than 2 years in college was too much for me.
I was engaged right out of high school to Rambo. Almost the only thing I could think of was saying “I do” so I could finally live with him and be his wife. Two years of college was almost too much but I did it. I chose a technical college and I never paid a penny for my education due to grants. All three of my siblings have huge college loans that they struggle with so I never once doubted my decision. I never lost a job due to my education or lack thereof. I don’t make less than my siblings because of it.
And even though I knew I’d do something with numbers, I never really had a dream job. I never said, “One day I will be a ______ at _______.” or anything like that. I never, ever thought beyond having a good paying job that I loved. Period.
I still have a good paying job that I love. A full-time job in a professional government arena that I excel at…which allows me the time and ability to work on my other two part-time numbers jobs.
It’s an amazing place to work with amazing people and benefits and flexibility.
But the thing is – I’m comfortable. I can’t make this job any more efficient than I already have. There is no more to do. There are no challenges.
I wonder if it’ll be enough forever. It is for now because my kids are young and I don’t have the ability to do and be more right now but how about long term? I could go back to college for free but do I want to? Am I too scared and am I letting that fear dictate where I go in life? Can I really accept that this may be the top of the corporate ladder for me? Can I learn to stop comparing my career to other’s careers? Can I figure out what I really want?
Do I want to do and be more or stay comfortable? And can I live with my answer?
I’m not sure. What I do know is that I appreciate the part of me that is willing to ask the question. Maybe I won’t change a damn thing or maybe I will. I’m just glad I allow myself to think about it. If I stay here for the rest of my life – I want it to be a conscious choice….not a choice made out of fear of risk or fear of leaving my comfort zone.
Today I think it fits. I fit in this spot right here at these three desks I’ve attained for myself.
Yup – for today. I’m good.
Are you? Do you allow yourself to ask the question or are you afraid of the answer?