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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Locatedness: Career


I had a little office job in high school. It was cake. I had a great internship with the Phoenix Suns. That was a blast. And my first real job? Welp, I got to play music and hang out with my friends. It certainly was not that basic, but my first job as a music programmer, designer, speaker guy, concert promoter, event planner, pastor, and wiffle ball genius was right up my alley. My first job was a great mix of passion, interest, talent and the community's needs.

After leaving that position I went to graduate school in Seattle. During this season of life I did some periodic public speaking, some writing, and a great deal of nothing. Now in NYC, I am an office manager at a doctor's office and a marketing consultant for my former graduate school.

My very short time in the world of work has been a mixed bag.

I have written about my present struggle with vocation previously and continue to have a great deal of questions about its place in my life. I have been deeply influenced by Parker Palmer and his "Let Your Life Speak" position on vocation. In short he says, "Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent." What does that mean to me currently? It means listening to my body's (you can throw in mind and soul as well) response to my previous work experiences. It means resisting our culture's tendency to will ourselves to vocational greatness regardless of failed relationships and disregarded morals. It means patience. It means experimenting, failure, and bumps and bruises. It means allowing myself to be surprised at what I enjoy and where I am enjoyed. It means watching, waiting, and listening.

But to make this relevant to the place-ology discussion, career is a VERY relevant part of our thinking and listening. There are pockets of the country that would love my resume. There are friends that could land me a job back home. Taryn knows people in Chicago. We have connections in Seattle. We could have stable jobs at smaller organizations. We could have bottom wiping positions in world changing organizations. Options galore.

Honestly, neither Taryn or I have clear career ladders. We are young, master's degree having, career beginners. Applying the pressure to have it mapped out would be silly. We still have lots of experimenting to do. Industries to try. Who knows, maybe even degrees to get (Taryn is shaking her head "no").

So as we consider where we will move next we are looking for the city that will allow us to experiment. And paradoxically it needs to be a place that allows us to listen to our internal responses as we experience the newness.

Oh boy.

Just another (and last) thing to consider.

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