hodiernal adj. relating to the present day
Today is a hazy 66 degrees with the sun just beginning to burn off the fog of the morning. Graham has just finished 8 ounces of formula gone down for a nap. I am roasting eggplant which will be assembled into a vegan muffelata sandwich that needs to marinate for at least 3 hours before we eat it for dinner. When Graham wakes up, he will eat something pureed and then we will head out to the mountain for a run. When I am done writing this post, I will check on the eggplant, fold some laundry and eat some soup for my own lunch. Stella is somewhere sleeping and the painters two houses down are done with their annoying sanding machine. The neighborhood is suburbanly quiet as it’s too early in the season for landscapers. This is what is going on today in my life.
In writing the above hodiernal blob, I have started to think about how vastly different my life is as compared to this day last year. I was about 4 months pregnant with Graham and we were living in Brooklyn. My feet had not begun to swell up to twice their normal size yet and I was feeling pretty good (and getting big already.) I would head into work everyday and go about my business. I met with vendors, followed up on projects and dealt with the drama that came my way that day. These days I think a lot about going back to work and lately I am starting to doubt what I should do.
It has taken me awhile to learn that what I have now is freedom. I have struggled with this new freedom over the course of Graham’s babyhood. I always used to say with pride that I have never known a day without work since I was 16. My parents instilled the mentality that if you are not employed than you are lazy. I come from a working class family and I remember my dad working 3 jobs at one point so we could survive. Being busy has always been the goal and I have always been an incredibly hard and dedicated worker. But as I write this I have come to learn something very different about myself and the world. Just because you work hard does not mean you will get ahead.
The working world boils down to about 3 different personality types : laborers, careerists and intellectuals. My parents were laborers, not careerists – and I am a laborer. Laborers are people who work hard and put in honest work, sometime even physically difficult work. Laborers are not good at playing games, gossiping and making alliances. They go to work with the intention to put in a full day of thinking and doing and solving problems. They take pride in being punctual and dependable. They are the backbone of a company but never seem to rise above the middle. They establish deep friendships, but are never seen as popular.
Careerists are politicians. Their entire goal is to climb the ladder no matter the method. Going into work for the careerist is not simply about putting in a full day and getting things done. At all times the careerist has an ongoing campaign. They are always running for the next rung on the ladder. Work and performance is secondary to a true careerist. Establishing relationships, being seen as a leader and making sure the perception people have of them matches the criteria for their next promotion. Careerists are always working on the bullet points listed in their review. They tend to be ruthless in their endeavors. Personally, I tend to think they are of below average intelligence…but I’m a laborer and thus biased.
Intellectuals are the doctors, chemists and professors of our world. They go to school for long spans of time to learn their trade and are the smartest. However, having an advanced degree does not make you an intellectual. Professional students sometimes travel in the guise of the intellectual, but do not be fooled. True intellectuals are able to use their intelligence to provide for themselves. They convert the book smarts and theories into skills that can be used for the good of others and making money. They are the unique minority that is smart enough to make money off of their brain power alone. I admire intellectuals more than anyone else.
In viewing these categories, I have come to the conclusion that I am 80% laborer and 20% careerist. I don’t consider myself incredibly smart. I just work really hard. In order to do well in the corporate world, I need to get my careerist qualities to at least 60% – at least for the line of work I have chosen. I need to smile more and complain less. I need to give more false compliments and tone down the sarcasm. I need to be someone who I am simply not.
So should I strive to have a “career” because the world tells me it’s important? Am I even capable of becoming more of a careerist? If I am successful at doing so, will I even like myself anymore?
I think I am going to focus on the hodiernal task of assembling my eggplant muffelata…