Working Girl

While there are a lot of difficulties about maintaining a blog while also holding down a separate full time job, the most frustrating to me is that I feel like my blog has a big hole in it. I spend the majority of my day doing something I can’t (and often wouldn’t even want to) blog about.

This blog journals my life and, from that, I want to be able to show people that healthy is a series of happy habits, not painful choices. To some extent, this applies to my professional life as well. I don’t believe you can be truly healthy in the complete mind-body sense of the word if you’re not happy and so I work each day to bring a positive attitude to my job. Some days I’m more successful than others but a work in progress is better than nothing.

But before I go on arbitrarily talking about career happiness and other existential themes, perhaps I should give you a little insight into what it is that I do every day. I’m not going to be too specific both because that would take way too long and also because the travel industry is apparently very competitive so lots of the information I work on is confidential, which is funny to me because most of what I do is proof reading.

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For the past six months, I’ve worked in the travel industry for a tour operator. My company designs and then operates tours in North America for a variety of different clients – some sister companies, some individual custom groups. I work in the marketing department, which isn’t really a marketing department because we don’t promote our own company. We promote our product, which means we work as the content policy for the marketing departments of the companies we design tours for.

But the majority, 90%, of what my department does is build the brochures, which go out to travel agents and some clientele. The brochures are created in several different variations, with subtle differences in the size of the page they are printed on, the currency the prices are listed in, the type of English used and even the order of the tours based on which sell best in that market. As such, we proof the same pages over and over and over again, keeping an eye out for specific details. Favour becomes Favor, $ becomes A$. I worked as a magazine editor prior to this and was responsible for every written word in a 100-page magazine. That was nothing compared to the amount of detailed proofing I do now.

I knew almost nothing about the travel industry when I started here. I could book a flight on Expedia. That was even a stretch. Now I know that it costs more money for a group of forty to stay in a hotel on a weekday than a weeknight in New York, that I really want to travel to South America and China, and that the US is one of the only places that prints on 8.5X11 inch paper.

So that’s a look into what I do all day, every day. Today is a bittersweet day in my office because my department is moving across the hall to share space with a sister brand. Our company is expanding by the day and has completely outgrown the space we have. I say bittersweet because – as you know – I don’t love change. I’m moving from my open and bright cubicle by a window, near friendly coworkers who make coming to work more manageable, to a smaller cube pressed against a wall, miles away from daylight. To maintain an inner peace and happiness as a desk worker (who proofreads for a living), it’s the small things that I hold dear. Being able to look out a window really does make a difference.

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I know that I only have five or so more years of cubicle life in me.

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I’m not sure what comes next but I feel lucky to know at such an early stage that I need to transition my career away from the cube. When I started college, I knew I wanted to work with people. So I got a degree in Psychology but something wasn’t quite there. I was admitted to a graduate program but turned it down because my heart wasn’t in it. Almost as soon as I graduated college, I realized what the other half of the equation was. I wanted to work with people and food. As such, I started researching the path to becoming a Registered Dietian. I still am. I sway back and forth between this idea and the dream of opening my own restaurant. We shall see what the future holds.

I’m curious – others who have desk jobs: do you like what you do? How do you stay motivated?

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2 thoughts on “Working Girl

  1. I have a desk, and I have a job. I guess that makes it a desk job. I stay motived by envisioning the next step for my business and what I have to do to complete it. What gets me through a slow or mindnumbing day is the mapping of a good run. Dorky I know, but it helps.

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