There have been some strange changes going on at my job, the biggest of which (and one that is universal for non-profits everywhere) is as our funding tightens up, our staff gets smaller. I’m in a weird position of being essential to the business (i.e. – job security), but not being management, so most of the people we’ve had to let go are those that I work one-on-one with and who are also my work buddies – our graphic designer, the interns, the office assistants. I went out for coffee with the latest staff member to get downsized, a friend of mine who has been working here for the last four years (longer than I have), first as an intern, then as a staff member. She just graduated from college less than a month ago and had planned on using this part-time job as a way to ease herself into the post-college, working-gal life, but now finds herself just thrown straight into the deep end.
I’m not much older than she is (about five or six years), but it was strange to be in the place of the Experienced Advice Giver. I reminded her that whatever her next job was, it didn’t have to be a career, it was OK just to do something to pay the bills while you figure out your next move. I told her about the time I was fired the day after I was in a car accident that totaled my truck and left me with a $5,000 hospital bill that I couldn’t pay and how I managed to get my way through that (a string of random odd jobs, fear of having to move back into my parents’ house, cheap wine). I reminded her that she wouldn’t have to work with our annoying coworker, but I would still email her whenever she didn’t something idiotic which means would still remain in constant contact with each other.
It was a good perspective check; sometimes it feels like so much of my life is a constant question – Am I doing the right thing? Where am I going in life? Is this it? It was interesting to see that I’ve at least found a couple answers over the few years since I was in her position. Or, at least, come to terms with the fact everything changes, always, and a smidge of faith that it will all be OK in the end.
“But when do you finally know what it is you’re supposed to do in life?” she asked me.
“I have no clue,” I shrugged. “Probably ten minutes before you die.”