Two years ago I was living with my ex-boyfriend who was so into work that it drove me crazy. I had made the decision to leave my corporate-world job, because work had been taking over my own life. When I worked there, I would come home from a long day at the office, still thinking about projects and timelines and deliverables. Powerpoint was my best friend - I would spend evenings slaving away at presentations, answering "urgent" emails. I'd take work phone calls during personal time. I was stressed out all the time. I could not make that mystical work-life balance concept work for me. I felt great about leaving for something completely different, but I was frustrated beyond belief that my partner seemed to live for all those things that I'd left behind.
School was a whole different kind of work - two years of learning things I was definitely not hard wired for. Memorizing anatomy, forcing myself to grasp physiology and clinical pathology. And trying out a slew of new practical skills. The frustration that comes with learning something and not instantly being good at it was certainly trying. Observe. Read. Try. Fail. Tweak my technique. Try again. Better, but still, mostly fail. Tweak more. Try again. It takes time and it takes determination, and it takes a thick skin. While in school, I was insanely busy.
And now, lo and behold, I'm still insanely busy. All I seem to be doing is working. How did this happen? How's that for irony? Between veterinary nursing and dog training, I have a whole new life... which is mostly about work. The difference is, I love it. I feel like I'm making a difference. I'm helping people and I'm helping pets. I'm learning how to relate to a lot of different people and animals, and how to react to a lot of different scenarios. And when I leave work, there's no taking stuff home with me.
Plus, I'm through all the hard stuff, and I'm in the best part of the work phase - I'm getting good at things! I teach my own agility class at doggie school. Somehow after a day in the clinic, commuting to job #2 and then assisting in two beginner dog classes, it's nine o'clock at night, and I can control a whole group of owners and dogs as they conquer agility obstacles together. I get my energy up, I give direction confidently, I motivate clients. People ask me for help. I look forward to it. At the clinic too, my skills are improving. I keep up with the hectic pace. I prep surgeries, I monitor anesthetics, I place IV catheters, I collect blood samples, I x-ray, I clean teeth, I educate clients, I passed a course in therapeutic laser techniques. I'm being exposed to more, and all in all, my confidence just keeps rising. It's a great feeling.
Choosing a career that pays crap, means I need to work hard. I didn't envision working two jobs, but right now, from a financial perspective, it's a must. (Memo to those that think they can comfortably live solo in Toronto with pets on a Vet Tech salary: you cannot!) But for me, it's okay, because I get so much out of both my jobs. What's hard is slotting in social engagements, and friends, and family, and fun. (And uh, blogging.) Meeting so many new people at work who are into the same things sure helps fulfill the social side. I am dating. My friend social circle is changing a little, I'm losing people to motherhood and marriage and domestic bliss, but I'm meeting people new people all the time and getting to know them. I'm in demand, and there's almost not enough of me to go around.
It's going to be go-go-go for the next little while, but as long as I keep learning, I'm good with that. I have some entrepreneurial ideas, and I won't be working this many hours forever. I feel things falling into place. A good place.
I am not a workaholic.