Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Love What You Do, Do What You Love

There's an age old adage that says you should do what you love, but all too often in the world we live in, we are forced to take jobs that are less than ideal. I count myself as one of the lucky few that can honestly stand up and proclaim that I look forward to Monday mornings and the start of another week.

Back in Ireland my friend Aidan and I used to tease our other friends about how great our jobs were. He worked with animals, famously hand rearing a baby ostrich, while I worked with animals of a different type, preschool children, usually aged between three and five years. We both loved our respective jobs and were happy to tell anyone as much whenever we got together. There are few things better in life than absolutely enjoying your job and lording it over others who do not...

I've had my share of crappy jobs too.

I once got so sick of one particular job that I quit on the 23rd of December, right before the seasonal staff shortages. I had volunteered to work over New Years Eve and Day, as I don't drink and the worst I could be on January 1st was tired, a much better condition than many others. Of course I didn't know I'd be pushed to the point of quitting when I offered to cover those days in exchange for a few days immediately after Christmas.

But my shift on the 22nd pressed just the right combinations of emotional buttons to finally make me take the step of ending my time there after debating with myself for months if I should hand in my notice or not. I was scheduled to open on the morning of the 23rd, and I didn't want any of the staff to have to cover for me right away. Instead, I went to work, opened up as usual, wished everyone a "Merry Christmas" and rang my manager at 9am to tell him I was leaving in an hour and not coming back.

Probably not the best way to handle that situation in hindsight, but I hand no interest in working in that industry any longer, so I didn't need to worry about references or other technicalities.

And by God, it felt good.

Since then I've promised myself that I wouldn't stay somewhere I didn't like to be. That worked fine back in Ireland, but it caused me some apprehension during the move to Canada.

I knew I'd have to find a job from scratch. I realised that there was a legitimate possibility that I would have to work somewhere outside of childcare at first while things got settled, in a coffee shop or store. It was not something I looked forward to.

Turned out, I didn't need to worry.

While handing around resumes, one center pointed me to their governing organisation that looks after a large number of childcare centers in Vancouver. They talked to me, and very quickly I knew I wanted to work for them. Their ethos and mission statement sang to the very core of what I believed was an ideal setting to care for children. Plus, they would give me the opportunity to work with children in age groups beyond what I was used to in Ireland, starting from as young as six months, right through to eleven and twelve year olds, an exciting chance to expand my skills across a wider care base. 

Thankfully, something about me assured them that they wanted me to work for them as well. I started the day after all my paperwork came through, and have been working every day since May, apart from a few days holidays I took while friends and family visited, or the trip to Seattle.

I love working for the organisation. I've gotten to work in all of their centers, working with probably over 600 different children, not to mention all the wonderful staff and parents as well!

I lucked out, big time. I know I did. I wake up every work morning, excited about what lies in store this day. I suffer from the "Monday Blues" on Friday, and proclaim with joy "Thank God it's Monday" once the weekend is over.

When you find something you love, you keep it safe. I hope to keep this for a very long time to come.

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