I start a new job tomorrow. I left the old job on Friday. It’s been 5 ½ years since I’ve smelled that new job smell. I have to admit I am a little giddy with anticipation. I spent the afternoon cleaning out my briefcase, downloading music for the train ride to Philadelphia, and generally acting like a kid the day before school starts.
I recall a recurring dream I had as a school boy. For years, it seemed, the night before the first day of school I would have the same dream; I would be sitting on the bus in just my underwear. I wonder if I’ll have that dream tonight.
In the nearly 30 years since I’ve been in the workforce, this will be my 19th job. For my Annapolis classmates who made the Navy a career, this is not necessarily all that impressive. Its simply part of the territory. As a Navy Junior, we moved frequently – I attended 9 schools in 12 years. The constancy of change is embedded in my being.
Remarkably, I might add, I’ve been married to the same woman for my entire working career. But I digress, this piece is not about my patience, it’s about my new job.
Every professional change has had its thrills and chills. Watching flight operations on an aircraft carrier, enduring 50’ seas in a North Atlantic hurricane, and crossing the Arctic Circle come to mind. As a civilian I’ve felt the adrenaline rush of negotiating deals in the tens of millions of dollars, as well as the emasculation when a deal falls apart. When you only eat what you kill, it is truly only a feast or famine existence.
I imagine most careers begin at, or near, the bottom of the ladder, with pay being commensurate with responsibility. As one’s responsibility increases, logically, I would expect one’s pay to increase. My experience has been just the opposite. I have never had so much responsibility, yet made so little money as I did on my first ship, the USS Independence (CV-62). At 24 years of age, I was responsible for the safety and navigation of an aircraft carrier during combat operations in Grenada and Beirut. Trust me, as important as my fellow real estate agents think our role is keeping the American dream alive, it doesn’t compare (although – the money can definitely be better!)
The job I felt most challenged by was my stint as a stay-at-home-dad. At that point I thought my 25 years of management and sales experience would easily carry the day. I mean really, how hard could be staying at home all day really be? Balancing the myriad of errands, chores, and meals, along with my own exercise, on-line poker, and “me time” was a little tricky at first, but I adapted and truly came to enjoy it. That is until; the kids came home from college for summer break. That’s when I knew I had met my match, and it was time for me to smell that new job smell. Now, it’s that time again.
So here’s to new partners, new projects, and new challenges!