Landing Your Dream Job
The One Very Important Thing No One Ever Tells You.
I want to start this off by loudly proclaiming an extremely obvious but recently discovered truth: the closer you get to your passion’s work, the harder the life/work balance becomes. Almost 1 year ago to the day, I landed my dream job and I have been jogging (often sprinting) ever since – it’s exhilarating, frustrating, time consuming, deeply satisfying, extremely challenging, and has left very little room for any other non-age and disability friendly topics or projects in my life.
- Friends and colleagues send me articles weekly – emails, Facebook, Instagram, etc. (at this point, all of my internet, movie & mail advertisements reflect that of a 70 year old, of which I can’t disagree or even say I’m upset about);
- Everywhere I go, I’m constantly thinking about the accessibility of the space, of getting there, or of ways to improve;
- My recreational reading is mostly related to this field: my last book was Jan Gehl’s “Life Between Buildings” (highly recommend, I’m such a fan grrl);
- Even at events I’m trying to calculate how many participants are older adults or people with disabilities; essentially trying to discern how “friendly” the event is;
- My dudewife now frequently comments when a space is lacking in “wayfinding” or when there is a diversity of age in the crowd (swoon).
People – I’m obsessed. This is not a complaint at all – rather, a little point that not one of my fantastic mentors, colleagues, professors, or even biographies I’ve read, ever bothered to mention. Here’s my realization: that your dream job will likely be the most consuming you’ll ever know. That life/work balance will take on a whole new meaning, when your life and work are one in the same.
So, eleven months into my dream job, with two years left on my contract, I’m starting to re-think what life/work balance looks like. I am still deeply passionate about this work and am more enmeshed in this work than ever before. Just this morning I was drafting up a syllabus for a gerontology class I’m giving a guest lecture about accessible urban planning – my life bleeds into my work and vice versa. However, I also think having too much of a focus and not being exposed to other disciplines, perspectives, or fields can also be really limiting. In general, the beauty of age & disability friendly planning is that it really is a multi-disciplinary effort, most successful when it engages a range of professionals, community members, and departments, so in that way I’m constantly challenged to think and present information differently. Yet, I also miss sewing, my garden has been completely neglected, my chickens are ready to riot, and keeping up with my blog has become a struggle.
And yet, I’m the work we’re doing in San Francisco is absolutely phenomenal! This is the most difficult and rewarding project I’ve ever had. And so I continue searching for that balance, which I now call life/work/self balance, because if your life is your work, than it really becomes a balance of including yourself in there. Here’s to all the change agents and all those who are deeply passionate about their work – remember to incorporate radical acts of self-care, to nurture yourself, and stop every once in awhile to look back and acknowledge this fantastic journey you’re on.
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