Hi ho, Hi ho, it’s off to work we go!

The book on my nightstand, Confections of a Closet Master Baker by Gesine Bullock-Prado, is a memoir about a Hollywood film developer (and sister of actress Sandra Bullock) who abandons her high-powered life in Los Angeles to open a bake shop in Montpelier, Vermont.  I have yet to read the book, but Bullock-Prado’s radical decision to change her life and follow her passion started me thinking about the winding path I took to find my dream job. 

I work in a private high school doing double duty as an administrator and English teacher.  I love that one job taps into my organizational and problem-solving skills, while teaching allows me to promote a love of reading and learning to a captive audience!  I get to read and talk about books all day long–it’s great!

But my career wasn’t always so fulfilling.  For five long years after college graduation, I worked at a HMO (health insurance!) in  the Accounts Receivable Department.  The worst aspect of the job was canceling members for non-payment of premiums; it was soulless and hateful, made tolerable only by the group of people I worked with. 

I was responsible for calling and sending dunning letters to individual members and small business, informing them that their health insurance was terminated.  I was too soft for such a ruthless job–profane and abusive voicemails and phone calls left me rattled for days; people begging and crying to have their health insurance reinstated was too much for me.  

After I left, I vowed never to take a job like that again.  Like Bullock-Prado, I gave up a job to persue my dream.  I’ll admit there are some days where I want to put a fork into my eye because students are cutting classes or complaining about reading,but I never feel trapped in the black abyss that was my corporate job. 

But what about you?  I have so many blogging friends out there but don’t know what you all do when you’re off-line.  Are you trapped by circumstance in a job that doesn’t fulfill you?  Or are you a lucky one, working in a profession that you love that has to do with books, reading, or both?  Stretch out on the couch and tell Dr. Natalie all about it.

And today, on Veterans Day, I’d like to thank everyone who opted for a career in the military.  I appreciate your service to our country and offer my appreciation to you and your family.


  • At 2009.11.11 11:08, Kari said:

    My first job out of college (last year) didn’t seem so bad because I worked with fun people. I only worked there for three months before getting laid off with 20 other people, but in that short amount of time, I realized the company was terrible. Completely corporate, suffering financially, but not at all business-smart. I’m actually so thankful I got out of there becauuuuuse…..

    Now I have the perfect job in marketing at a small children’s educational publishing company! It’s small, so everyone is really close and works together on every project. Sometimes I’m curious about working at a publisher that produces books I actually like, but those are all so big and have so much corporate red tape that I fear the work environment would be completely different.
    .-= Kari´s last blog ..Review: A family wreath =-.

    • At 2009.11.11 11:25, Heather @ Book Addiction said:

      I have been out of college for 2 1/2 years…. My bachelor’s degree is in psychology, and I was hoping to continue on to grad school and perhaps even get a Ph.D but the money just wasn’t there at the time (still isn’t)… so I work for a very large financial institution in the retail banking sector. I basically talk to people all day about their checking, savings, CD, retirement accounts, etc… stuff like that. Nothing too fun or exciting but I don’t hate it completely. Only sorta.

      My husband and I are in the process of arranging a move to another state, and I’m hoping that once we get settled in our new home, I can go back to school part-time in the evenings and start working on that master’s degree I desperately need to do ANYTHING in my field. We’ll see…

      Great post! Love these questions… now I’ll have to come back and see what everyone else said! 😉
      .-= Heather @ Book Addiction´s last blog ..The Likeness by Tana French =-.

      • At 2009.11.11 11:43, Trisha said:

        When I graduated from college, I had a B.A. in Media Studies, with a concentration in Film and Television Production and Analysis. And I had no freaking clue what I wanted to be when I grew up. I immediately went on to get a M.A. in Writing – because I liked reading and writing. And I still had no idea what career I wanted when I graduated. I ended up working as a Marketing Manager for a software engineering firm. Hated it. With a passion.

        I had to leave. I got a job as an adjunct professor in the English department of a local college to make some money while looking for a real job. To my surprise, I loved teaching. Now I’m a full-time tenured professor teaching composition, literature, and film. Beautiful.

        I’m glad your path led you to the right job too!
        .-= Trisha´s last blog ..Giveaway: Night =-.

        • At 2009.11.11 12:09, softdrink said:

          My job is meh. I graduated with a secondary teaching credential (for History) and substitute taught for 4 loooong years. It’s hard to find a teaching job in this area (because everyone graduates from college and doesn’t want to leave, so we have a glut of teachers). I finally got a job with the County as a case manager for cash aid, Medi-Cal and Food Stamps. I still work for the County, only now I work in Staff Development for Child Welfare Services. I write reports for the state, procedural guides for our workers, occasionally present some trainings, attend way too many meetings, and do other various things. I also have to listen to a lot of talk about best practices, strength-based everything, mission statements and visions. Some days I’m convinced my job is totally unnecessary, and it’s certainly nothing I ever dreamed of doing. The good and bad thing is, it pays ridiculously well, I have great benefits, and I get 4 weeks of vacation/year. So it’s hard to give up, especially in this area where good jobs are hard to find.
          .-= softdrink´s last blog ..Women Unbound =-.

          • At 2009.11.11 13:26, Sammy said:

            I enjoy my job. It isn’t what I expected I would be doing at the moment nor do I believe I will do it for the rest of my life but it is paying the bills for the time being. Also, I’ve totallyl added “Confections” to my book list….I LOVE Sandra Bullock and I hope this book makes me fall in love with her sister!
            .-= Sammy´s last blog ..BRUCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =-.

            • At 2009.11.11 13:56, Jessica Kennedy said:

              That’s a very inspiring story. 🙂

              I just graduated from a Phlebotomy course to jump start my new career in health care. No job yet though, which is discouraging but expected in this economy. 🙁

              Thanks for the awesome post!

              • At 2009.11.11 16:55, Holley said:

                I am very lucky indeed! Outside of an eight month stint as a kennel tech at a large veterinary hospital, I have worked in libraries for 14 years. I started as a page and am now a reference librarian with a variety of different jobs (in the library) in between. I also managed to squeeze an MLIS in there a couple of years ago!

                I have an ARC of this book that I picked up at ALA in Chicago but I STILL have not gotten around to reading it!
                .-= Holley´s last blog ..staycation hump day =-.

                • At 2009.11.11 20:46, Hayden Tompkins said:

                  B.A. in Legal Studies on the fast track to a fancy Duke Law Degree and prestigious career as an attorney.

                  Now? Trophy wife working on building her own teaching career.

                  P.S. If I was ever a HS teacher, I would definitely teach English Lit or History. My foster father taught English and Debate and my foster mom taught learning disabled kids on the elementary school level. She came home with bite marks all the time.

                  Let’s just say that I consider her a ‘veteran’.
                  .-= Hayden Tompkins´s last blog ..How to Get Your Move On! =-.

                  • At 2009.11.11 20:58, Dana said:

                    I have a degree in English. I planned to go to law school but decided at the last minute that it wasn’t for me. A few jobs to pay the bills followed college until I found work I loved at my church. Unfortunately I was layed off while on maternity leave with my 2nd son and now I’m a stay at home mom.
                    .-= Dana´s last blog ..Happy Veteran’s Day =-.

                    • At 2009.11.11 21:48, Alita said:

                      Although I love reading, I have a confession – my big love is music. Almost 3 years ago I was fortunate enough to land a job in the industry, and even more fortunately (considering the state of the industry) have been able to keep it. Considering the instability of the industry, I don’t know how long I will stay in it – sometimes I’m not sure if my nerves can handle it! But, I am really enjoying it and have met some really fantastic people. Plus I’ve been able to work with some hugely talented and wonderful artists.

                      Your story is really inspirational. Thanks for sharing!
                      .-= Alita´s last blog ..Book #40 – The Truth About Stacey =-.

                      • At 2009.11.11 22:48, Jess - A Book Hoarder said:

                        When I graduated from college, with a degree in Government, I had an internship in the Capitol in California (which I LOVED), with some interesting job possibilities. Then, I moved to North Carolina because my husband is in the Army and apparently the government actually hates me and wanted me to choose between my dream job and my new husband.

                        Okay, so my husband is awesome and I made the right choice but I am now working for a reading program (sounds awesome right? It’s not!). I get to listen to people complain about how screwed up our program is and the best part is the company isn’t put together well enough for me to actually…oh I don’t know…HELP these people. Okay, occasionally I get to talk to someone who has a kid that really did benefit from the class and that’s awesome but I’m moving back to CA in a few months and I am still going to run as fast as I can to something new.

                        So, thank you for this post. It is nice to know that there really are people who suck it up in a job they don’t enjoy and then are able to find something they love. It gives me hope for my dream job.
                        .-= Jess – A Book Hoarder´s last blog ..Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson =-.

                        • At 2009.11.12 19:13, Ti said:

                          I am a technical writer / instructional designer for a university. You may ask what that means. Well basically I take complicated topics and dumb them down for others to understand. If they really don’t understand, then I design simple classe for them to take.

                          It’s not riveting work and I get frustrated by the lack of motivation on this campus and the need for me to spoonfeed info but it’s what pays the bills. The PLUS side, is that I am on a committee for the Freshman Common Reading Program so I get to read wonderful books and determine which one should be chosen for that paticular year. My office also housed in the basement of the library which makes up for the fact that I have no windows.

                          I would like to write a novel one of these days though.
                          .-= Ti´s last blog ..Review: New Moon =-.

                          • At 2009.11.13 23:50, Sheila (Bookjourney) said:

                            great question! I feel currently as though I am stuck in circumstances. I left my 13 years of management to assist my husband with our business. That was in 2005. Since then I started running the office for our church as well – starting our volunteering just to help them out, and now as office manager 3 days a week along with what I do for our business too.

                            I long to be a manager of a bed and breakfast – or an Inn like in Gilmore Girls…. of course there would be a reading area… 😉
                            .-= Sheila (Bookjourney)´s last blog ..The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls =-.

                            • At 2009.11.14 00:34, Lisa said:

                              Every job I’ve ever had has felt like one I was trapped in since I got out of college. When I first got out, my husband was still in college so I took a banking job that paid more than jobs that fit my degree. Then I had to hold on to jobs that offered health insurance. I was never so happy as the day I quite my job to stay home with my kids. Sadly now they’re older and more expensive and I’ve had to go back to a soul-sucking job. I’d love to pursue a dream but finances just don’t suit that right now. Once they’re all through college, though…
                              .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Friday Favorites – "A Little Princess" =-.

                              (Required, will not be published)

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