IF YOU END UP in a crappy job, don’t stay there.
I have relatives who live in coal mining country. As far as I can tell, there are only two main career options: coal mining and healthcare.
If you want to dance ballet for a living, you’re going to have to grab your tutu and your TomTom and choreograph a path out of town.
I remember hearing a comedian offer advice to starving people in Middle Eastern desert lands.
“You’re in a [BLEEPING] desert! Are you [BLEEPING] crazy? Get the [BLEEP] out!”
I could have figured it out without the bleeps. But his advice seemed solid enough.
Some people don’t want to leave their hometown area because their family is there, along with two or more decades of friends.
Here’s my advice based on my personal experience and on several decades of observing others.
Find a job you enjoy – wherever it takes you. If it takes you just across town, great. If it takes you across the state or beyond, fill ‘er up and hit the road.
Make new friends. Visit your family and your old friends as often as you can; stay in touch by phone.
I’m warning you, if you stay home and work in a crappy job you’re going to end up with a crappy attitude.
The last thing your family and friends want is for you to park it in their living room and belch about your job.
They don’t want to hear it.
And they want to hear your happy sounds.
You’re not going to make happy sounds unless you’re happy. Or you’re an incumbent politician running for reelection. In which case happy sounds don’t count.
Here’s a fairly surefire clue that you’re in a crappy job.
Given the choice of going to work or stuffing beans up your nose during a sermon, pity the pastor.
Some in your family might lobby hard for you to stay close to home. That’s because they love you and they want you close. Or they hate you and they want you miserable.
Generally, you can tell the difference.
I was lucky. I had folks who wanted me close. But they knew I had to leave. For graduate school. Then for a job in Christian publishing. They did nothing but encourage me to chase my dream.
Mom and Dad visited me every year. They let me visit them. We vacationed together.
I was happy.
Until I wasn’t.
When my job started to feel old while I was still feeling young, I got myself another job.
I took my time doing it. I tried to make the old job work. But over a stretch of a couple of years, I felt increasingly constrained – limited by budget cuts and by supervisors.
One said he went home after work, sat on his living room floor, and cried. Not a sign of good things down the road.
Another guy – with the noodlish handshake – took the work of his editors (plural) and secretly sent it out for an extra editing.
By a librarian. With a doctorate.
If you find yourself working for a weasel like that, get gone.
If you have to, go to church, stuff beans up your nose, and politely tell your pastor you’ve got to get out of town.
He’ll explain it to your momma.
PS. To my daughter who lives 10 minutes away and to my son who lives 15 minutes away, you didn’t read this. To my niece fresh out of college who moved 1200 miles from home to teach music in the schools of Mobridge, South Dakota, you go girl.