Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thank God I'm a Country Girl...

Does not wanting to ‘climb the ladder’ right now, make me un-ambitious?

Tonight I went to a dinner on campus. The plan I had, was to go early, make the rounds, be seen and say hello to as many as possible and leave before the program portion of the awards dinner started. Unfortunately, they decided to assign seats. Normally not a big deal, except I found I was seated in the very front table, obviously reserved for the mucky mucks of my states largest university.

As I was there representing the Alumni Association (and more importantly my boss)- I was in a pickle and not being there may have been more obvious than I’d hoped.

I do not intimidate easily. I wasn’t intimidated this evening.

These are highly intellectual and intelligent people. The heady-est people in a whole room of very heady higher ed intellects. The best analogy I can come up with is, I’m a little kid who got seated at the adult table.

No. I was at the correct table. But I can’t help thinking they all wished Todd had been there instead. He’s a great entertainer and thought provoker at these things. Of course all I had to offer was sarcastic wit. Not to worry. I did my best to keep that to myself.

Ask a couple probing question. (hoping ignorance isn’t obvious)

The whole thing made me wonder, why do I not want to be like these people? Why don’t I want to learn more about what it is they are talking about so I can participate in these negotiations and conversations? Does that make me less at my job?

I’m so happy (for the most part) doing what I do now. I’ve learned to care about my job for the same reasons that I care about the people in my life. I’ve been truly blessed to have a boss that is also a great friend. I’ve met people through my job, that inspire me every single day. I’ve been given the opportunity to see through the eyes who have gone before me. I’ve learned that in order to stay happy in my job and the days I spend performing it, my focus must be on those who I care about. I care that my boss is successful. I care that the staff has a good day. I care that our Alumni are involved. (There are so much more areas that I, of course, care about, but I also have to limit what I try to influence or I get not happy.)

I had seasons of ladder climbing ambition. Becoming. Changing. because of what seemed “expected”. Trying to “improve” in order to get better and make an impression. I think this was normal and necessary to a degree, in terms of learning and growing some professional skills.

Now, it all feels different.

It feels odd to try and aspire to be what others want me. I do not feel motivated to create myself in their image. Does that make me un-ambitious?
I don’t think so.

But I’m not sure.

The truly un-ambitious, annoy me. Those short seasons where I lack purpose, motivation and drive. Those are dark seasons in which I do not like myself and do not stay long. People who mask a lack of Purpose as a “laid back attitude”, literally drive me crazy.

The ambition that drives me, is truly internal. Moving me with purpose to be the person that lives in my heart. The ambition that drives me is not necessarily professionally progressing.

I am striving hard right now. Pushing to grow. Running a marathon to be a great teacher, provider, nurturer, nurse, mother. Does that make me less valuable as an employee?

Sometimes I wonder.

What I know is:

I like sarcastic wit.

I like self- deprecating humor.
I prefer a pair of jeans and a fleece to a suit.
I prefer TV, Movies and Music over great literature.
I prefer a good bloody Hockey scrap over a debate.
I prefer a beer at the bar over cocktail parties.
I prefer food I can eat with my hands over 4 course dinners.
I prefer dirt roads to paved!

Intellectual. Nope. Not me.

(Note to self: This may have something to do why why you are still single???)

I can hang in those circles most of the time.
I've been there. Done that.

But, here's the kicker: It feels false. It feels wasteful. It feels like being forced to move backward. I've been there. You can debate issues all you want. I'll be at the bar laughing it up with my friends.

Existential quandaries are debated along these lines.

Exercising my mind.

Ritzy beach vacation.

Beer Dreams on Beer Budget.

Me & my heady colleagues.


Leesavee said...

Hi, Shannon!!! Just wanted to let you know that we got word yesterday from Rachel that we, too, are OFFICIALLY WAITING!!!

You and I are just a couple of expectant moms!

Leesavee said...

FYI -- we are also in the same line of work!