Saturday, September 24, 2005

Musings on a new job

Hmmm... It's been two months since I wrote in this. And lots of stuff has gone on. In fact, this is the first weekend since I've been in Fredericton that I can say I don't have anything that has to be done this weekend, and I can just relax. Of course, most of the stuff I've been doing is horribly geeky. Then again, someone I know is working on isomorphic binary structures. Don't even ask, I have no idea. Apparently something that involves letters, and some words, but no actual english, from the explanation I got. So it could be worse.

For those who care to know, I've been learning a lot at the new job. Love it. People who are just a few years older than me, rather than just a few years younger, so there are some peoople at work I can really learn from, but still relate to. It's nice. Plus, I'm learning to put fake enthusiasm into my voice, which is probably going to be a useful skill. It's for reading tech stuff for the courseware I'm voicing, not pretending to care about random stuff, but hey, now that I can, why not?

You wouldn't think it, if you're casually reading this, but reading can be pretty hard. Voicing content requires something similar to the voice training you would need to sing. Not that I've ever had that training, but it's what I think you would need. You need to get the pitch, and intonation and rhythm right. It's fun, now that I'm starting to get the hang of it. Kind of like singing to yourself in a little room, but then eventually thousands of people get to hear it. After it's been digitally edited so that I don't breathe. No joke. Apparently breathing is unprofessional. Who knew?

So anyway, today is my first day of real relaxation since I got here, or actually in about the last 3 months. I passed my first MCSE exam Thursday, barely. Huge milestone, because passing certifications is an important part of my job. I've been studying like crazy fior the past few weeks, so a huge amount of stress off me. And now I've decided to take this day to myself and just do nothing. Just relax, and think about things.

And as I do that, as I just sort of sit back and look around my apartment, it occurs to me how rare that is. Not for lots of people, here in Canada, I know. Lots of people can slack off for a day, a week, or more, and assume that's normal and that they have a right to do it. But for every one of them, there are two or three people working really hard to get ahead. I've been talking to different people in different life situations. Single parents, or people who aren't in good relationships and don't have a lot of support. Older people still in university. People who are just making ends meet, barely. And it makes me think, yeah, I worked hard over the past few months, and I'm doing well, but there are so many people who worked harder, and yet aren't doing as well. There was a guy I talked to recently who works two jobs as a janitor just to get enough together to eat. And then I think about all the people who aren't paid, the parents who stay home and work all through the day and don't get the luxury of a break, or often even recognition that what they're doing is actually more valuable than what I'm doing. It's silly that I'm paid enough to keep me going and be independent, while people who do much more important work are made to be dependent on others, and are put in a position where people rely on them but they don't by themselves have the resources to deal with that effectively.

And notice I haven't even gotten into people outside this country. All the people I've just described come from the "better off" parts of the world's population. Part of the reason I could take this break today is because I don't have to do any of the labour that goes into growing, harvesting and preparing my food, clothing, shelter, power and water supply, furnishings, communications media, and the list goes on. That work is done by other people, and I benefit, and often they don't. Even the work of getting me to be the person I am today was mostly done by other people, when I was younger, who realized what I needed to learn and made me do it. And believe me, making me do things when I don't see the sense in it is HARD work, and has often been thankless.

So if you've had the time to read this, take another minute or so. Think about the people who have helped you along the way, and the people you don't even know who have made your life easier, even if they didn't know it or mean to. Some people feel like they've earned everything they've ever had, and were never given anything, and if you have less it always means you didn't work as hard. But I think, in the big picture, for most of the people who will have the time to take a break and read this, we should be thankful. A lot of where we are and who we are isn't because we deserved it or are entitled to it more than other people who don't have it. So feel lucky you are where you are, and thank someone who's done somemthing for you. And try to pass on a little of what you've been given to others who might need it, and even deserve it, more.

Bye for now