Day 24: Something you’re grateful for
My answer: work. I can hear some of you shaking your heads in disbelief and peering at the screen quizzically. I like to complain. About my j-o-b. A lot. Much of my frustration stems from my unpreparedness for the transition from academia to the corporate world. The transition was, quite frankly, hard. And not just boy-this-is-sort-of-kicking-my-butt hard. But knock-the-wind-out-of-you-so-hard-you-lose-consciousness-and-come-to-hours-later-wondering-what-the-hell-just-happened hard. I survived, and I’m here to say that it’s possible and actually super worth it. But that’s another post for another time.
This is my first non-teaching, non-academic job in 10+ years, and it is a complicated beast. But I’m grateful to have it, and here’s why:
That’s right. My commute is less than six miles. When I was in graduate school, my commute was 45 minutes each way and the parking headaches were endless. This 10-minute commute is glorious. I come home for lunch almost every single day. I eat a sandwich and say hello to the boogies and life is just better. Even on bad days.
2. Dress code
What do these four photos have in common?
They are all work clothes. That’s right. The dress code is there is no dress code. The dress code is be comfortable. I still wear a lot of dresses, but I also rock a lot of ponytails and skinny jeans. And it works.
3. Flexible work day
We can come in any time between 7 and 9am and leave whenever we need to, as long as we get our hours in. It’s so lovely not to feel rushed in the morning. Most days, I arrive between 8 and 815, though I am occasionally really motivated and up early so I’m at my desk by 730. But there are also days when my hair won’t cooperate and a cat throws up right as I’m getting ready to leave and then it’s more like 830. No big deal. I get there when I get there.
This is a big one for me, because I had super crappy “benefits” in grad school. I say “benefits” because they were labeled as such but they offered no discernible benefit to anyone but the providers.
I most especially appreciate my dental insurance. Last year, I paid full price for two root canals in two months. Don’t get me started. Sometimes I take out my dental insurance card and stare at it lovingly. I thought about having another root canal, just because this time, I’m only responsible for half of the amount. Half! It’s like BOGO!
I also value my prescription benefits. See that little Walgreens bottle on the left?
That’s my heartburn medicine. I pay $8 for pills that would cost $107 without insurance. Believe it or not, these pills save me that much just on Tums!
I’m sure you’re reading this thinking, duh, Christine. Everyone is grateful for their paycheck. But I’m super grateful. I worked like a dog for more than 10 years for approximately $5 an hour. Don’t let anyone tell you that “starving grad student” is a cliche. It’s reality. I got paid a stipend for teaching, but it didn’t come close to covering living expenses.
Now, I earn more than $5 an hour. And we can afford to live. And we even have a little bit of money left over, to squirrel away or spend on fun things like Blizzards and new shoes and Girl Scout cookies. After living paycheck-to-paycheck for so long, having a tiny cushion is positively refreshing. And delicious!
Sure, there are crappy days. But there is also much to be grateful for. And today, I am.