Dream Job

August 13, 2010

Nope, don’t get excited… I haven’t landed a job yet.  But, I have been thinking a lot about how– despite not being full-time or having benefits in the work I’m doing now– I really am getting to fulfill my dream job.

Summer is beginning to hint at its close, and as such we’re almost done with the second year of the Community Environmental College.  I’ve been coordinating the program this summer, helping write the curriculum, organizing the other teachers, and being the general go-to for the classes.  Expanded from last year, this year we had two classes: “Environmental Justice 101” and “Food Justice 101.”  The Food Justice (FJ) class was inspired by the interest last year’s students had in the topic (and the resulting Healthy Corner Store Initiative that some of us have engaged in).  As so often happens with teaching (in my experience), leading this class on FJ has gotten me really, really pumped about the issue.  I will definitely talk about it all in a different entry.

Some of my students visiting a CSA

But when I’m not thinking about increasing access to fresh, local foods in urban areas, I’m thinking about my job prospects, and what I want out of my day-to-day life.  And though I don’t have benefits and such now, I am really loving the lifestyle I’ve got.  Part of my time is spend gardening (that’s my other part-time job: Community Garden Coordinator for the UEL Garden in Providence).  Being Garden Coordinator has been a tremendous blessing… not only have I been paid to garden (an activity that makes me feel my most whole and healthy), but also I’ve learned a lot of practical knowledge in the two seasons I’ve been with the garden.  Without classes to teach me, practical knowledge comes a little slower, but I also think it stays with me longer.  Individual conversations with gardeners, along with personal experimentation with plants, have started me on what I see as a long but perfectly lovely path to full gardening enlightenment.

UEL Community Garden

Things I have loved about my CEC teaching job include getting to write and teach curriculum on whatever I think is most important, setting up ways for the students to become a part of the larger Providence community through action projects, and watching the students become more comfortable teaching the material to others.  I’ve also loved sharing the teaching responsibilities with five like-minded and inspiring women.  I’ve loved having the opportunity to teach this class two years in a row, getting to apply some of the lessons I learned last year.  I feel proud of what we’re intending to do, and I just love when I see little ways it’s fulfilling it’s goal. (One community member recently told me that one of the students in our class was trying to convince his mother to go to the Farmer’s Market instead of Shaw’s, and to stop using disposable water bottles).

So, I know I’m lucky to have had these two jobs this summer.  Thank goodness I didn’t find a job right out of school.

I do know it’s going to be hard to find a full-time job as wonderful as these.  I know it’s going to be hard for a job that involves more office sitting, or a real salary, to compare.  It’s a little scary, knowing how I’ve reacted to office jobs in the past (really feeling the loss of time to be creative, the loss of being outside, and sometimes the loss of making positive change in the world).  But perhaps I can find a job that fulfills some of those.  Perhaps if I’m able to approach whatever’s next with the knowledge of how I best keep myself happy, peaceful, challenged, and creating, I’ll prevent unhappiness from entering too deeply.  Perhaps with some new spiritual knowledge I’ve acquired this year, I’ll be able to face unsavory conditions with more power, finding my happiness from within instead of from external sources.

Providence Healthy Corner Store Initiative

I guess I’m just amazed by how much of life can be unknown, year after year.  You kind of think that when you get to be more adult-like, things will be more settled.  I guess a lot of things are, for me… I do know who I’ll spend the rest of my life with, and I do have some sort of career path and specialized schooling under my belt.  But I guess there will always still be unknowns, even after I pick a job, or a career, even after I have met my first child, or my second, and even after I’ve settled into a new house, or a new town.  As hard as it can be to wait, to not know, I can see how it also makes life worth living… worth waiting around to see what’s next.


One comment

  1. You must have met my friend Leah (the other leah) at new B. market! She was doing the chef-y demos. Also, those community enviro. classes sound really neat. Very cool.


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