Front office to warehouse, travel plans, the life of a nomad
08/07/2012 - 08/15/2012
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Work-life has changed a bit for me in the last year or so. Before my work day would start whenever I work up, usually around 630-7. I would get up, open the laptop, and maybe have some coffee. Then a shower, an iron perhaps and I was ready to go. A ten-minute drive to my downtown office. A hello to Greg, the security guard, next stop 18th floor. My day would be filled with emails, commitments, problems, emergencies, Starbucks, meetings, data, planning, talking to customers, talking to co-workers, and enough internet time to manage my 3 fantasy football teams.
These days, my day starts at 5am. Wake up on the daybed (air-mattress) in my sister's apartment, shower, dress, a bowl of cereal, out the door. A stop at the local gas station for a cup of joe and my 25 minute drive begins. Although I'm a temp worker, somehow I arrive 15 minutes earlier than everyone else, even though I get there only five minutes early (that means everyone with one exception is late every day!) I start by gathering all the cardboard and putting into the compactor, then empty the trash bins, then some sweeping then open furniture. Repeat.
Not something I envisioned myself doing but I have to say, it doesn't bother me a bit. Often, I look around and can see how someone would hate this job. Whether it was the only job you could get, the only one you were qualified for or you just had to do it for money, I could definitely see how this could be a bad job for you. But there are also people who like working their because they chose to. I would fall into that category.
The other morning, as I was eating my cereal, I looked around and couldn't help to smile. What seems like yesterday, but was actually a year and half ago when I started this crazy journey, I made a choice that to let all those things go to see what life had to offer me. To jump when I felt like. To take risks and to do whatever was necessary to keep that going..and this is it. Doing a ridiculous job, at an hour of the morning I do not like getting up at, just to keep this going. This is exactly the thing I vowed to do if necessary, and I do it, and I like it...kind of. This job is definitely not a new career choice or a new way of life for me...it's just a way to make money so I can support my cause, me. That means being able to chip in for where I'm staying, get some groceries, gas, pay some bills and have fun with whatever is left.
Since I've been back, I have had a couple short-term projects that have helped me keep going. They have all been a little different, but generally pretty basic jobs. I like them because they last from a couple days to a couple months. They are your basic 8.5hr job with two breaks and a lunch. Just come in and do your job. It was nice to get back to something where there is less responsibly, less stress, less demanding of time. But for me it became the same in a lot of ways.
The other day I was throwing some Styrofoam into the trash compactor and a guy that works in the office approached me. He asked how long my temp-assignment was going to last for and I told him I wasn't sure. He said that I was doing a good job and I should apply for a full-time position at a new warehouse if I was interested. He also made a comment about me going to school, probably because I have license plates from my college on my car. At first I didn't know what to say. I had seen him everyday pulling into the parking lot because he was the only other person there before me. I didn't know who he was and we had zero interaction before he approached me. I figured he was some kind of boss in the office but I purposely just focused on working instead of trying to befriend him.
At first I wanted to blurt out my whole story, then I thought maybe I should have just played it off, or maybe... I was so confused. I wanted him to know that I was educated, that I had all this work experience that I wasn't just a 31-year-old warehouse worker. But at the same time, I realized that none of that mattered. That those things were/are not me. What is me is the guy who shows up early everyday, works hard and takes my job seriously...and succeeds, whether pushing a broom, leading a warehouse staff, or managing technical teams and working with global customers.
I still had to say something so I stumbled around and told him a bit of my story, thanked him for the acknowledgment and politely declined. He ended up telling me he was just filling in for someone and it was his last day...and that he found it interesting that we were both short-term employees but beat everyone to the office everyday
Where do you live? Where are you staying?
That is an interesting question. In the last 5 days, I have slept 4 different beds. I am currently rooming/daybedding (air-mattress) with my sister but have been doing some dog-sitting, stayed with a relative and actually even got to sleep in my own bed for one night which was great!
Right now, I consider the Portland, Oregon/Wahsington area home, mainly because my other suitcase is there. See this picture is already murky. A month and a half ago, I was in Portland and got a call that there was a work project and they wanted to fly me out as soon as possible. Twenty-hours later I arrived in Denver, CO. I went straight to work and that project lasted 3 weeks. A couple days after that, I got onto this temp job and have been doing it for a couple weeks. I'm not sure how long I will stay on as I have a couple things planned and have a job opportunity that may open up (more on that in a later post).
As of this second, I'm planning on staying in the Denver area for the next month or so. Coming up there is a wedding, a Norah Jones concert i'm going to and really excited for and a family reunion thingy. Then off to Columbia, Missouri to watch my Dawgs take on Missouri. Then I'll try to get to Massachusetts to help my brother move and perhaps make a stop to see my other brother after that but that's too far for me to think.
The life of a nomad is not easy but it's all a matter of perspective for me. I'm not sure if I could have made this change so quickly without taking off for a couple months. When you get to and live in the moment, I found that I had to give up a little focus on the future. And that doesn't mean I can't still plan and know what is going to happen next, it just means that I am more open to take advantage of the things happening in front of me to stay in the moment. To live without regret. To make sure that I do not find myself walking by a rose without noticing it. This flip-side is that if I allow myself to look to far ahead I would spend a lot of time worrying and driving myself crazy. Although I risked it all, I haven't lost anything yet so I still have many options and a couple layers of security that are there if I need them.
Just like my life as a backpacker, I know that at some point when it is dark out, I will be able to have somewhere to sleep, if even a couch or a floor. My standards for a good place to sleep have eased quite after sleeping on little to nothing for two months so I sleep well where ever my head falls. I also still have some peanut butter and honey close by at all times as it I still consider that staple of my diet. I do eat normal, good, regular food quite often but if cereal and pb&h is all that is around, I have no complaints.
As this journey continues, I know I will probably soon find myself in the same bed long-term but until then I appreciate all the other places I've rested!
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