Late one evening at Residency I found myself out on the back deck at the lodge surrounded by 3 faculty and about 10 or 15 students, depending on the minute. When I first walked out with my glass of wine there were only the three faculty members and it seemed like a great opportunity to just sit and listen to these brilliant people tell stories, which is exactly what I did.
Then a few students showed up and the vibe took a turn. Strangely, More people showed up the later it got and before I knew it I was on the edge of a large circle of people with conversations going in all directions. It was fine.. I could still just sit and listen.
I like listening. I might have stories but I’m not a good storyteller and somehow I feel like people won’t be interested in what I have to say anyway. That’s fine by me. Mostly.
Then some girl that’s ended up sitting close to me asks “so tell me about you”. She asked some specific questions about where I live and my current situation, divorced, two teenage kids, etc. Then she asked what I do for a living and I answered the best way I know, “I do documentation and operational support for a software startup”. She promptly replied “that sounds so boring”. Yes, that was her response exactly and I smiled and didn’t know what to say.
Shortly she was off talking to someone else and I was left lingering with that comment in my brain. I had a lump in my throat and I spent the entire rest of the evening not saying anything to anyone and not really able to listen quite the same either.
That night I didn’t sleep because I had so many thoughts on that and about a dozen other topics that came up in the course of that day. Long after the fact I concluded I should have defended myself and I could have gone many different ways to do so. Kinda like when you come up with the perfect response to someone but don’t think of it until the moment has passed.
Truly, it probably would not have struck such a chord with me if I hadn’t heard that comment before. My ex-husband called me boring and it was an issue in our marriage. And I’ve answered the “what do you do for a living” question many times before with enthusiasm only to see the eyes of the asker gloss over, a sign that what I’m saying isn’t interesting and perhaps their mind has wandered off somewhere else. I get it. My job is not interesting.
In her defense, she wasn’t commenting about me personally, just my job. I just took it personally because of past events. Nevertheless, if Given the opportunity to rewind and replay the moment, here’s what I might say.. “It’s not the most exciting job but it pays enough for me to pursue my life goals without going into debt.”
Then, depending on how bold I felt I would get on my flipping soap box defending my boring life… which is, in fact, not boring at all. I’m raising two kids, travel a lot, get to enjoy doing all the things I love to do almost daily. My job is fascinating and I’m learning a lot. The things I’m doing are not for everyone and therefore appear as boring to a casual onlooker.
In a way I feel this is something I really need to reconcile. Its not their issue that I seem boring or my job is (although it’s crass to just call it out). I do a pretty good job not giving a shit what other people think most of the time, but this event shined a spotlight on the fact that I’m not doing it as well as I could.
I was asked the “occupation question” two more times before leaving residency and at that point still didn’t have any different response. One woman even said “sounds like you don’t love it”. Which means I over corrected and wasn’t enthusiastic enough in my response. But whatever.. there’s always next time. Next time I’ll do a better job defending being boring. Maybe. 😉
Time now to get back to my boring job that I do in lounge pants from the comfort of my own home with my kids enjoying their sleeping in summer just down the hall. Then I’ll go to KC, and Cancun, and Denver, and start planning the next big adventure with the love of my life. If that’s boring. I’ll take it!
Cheers to Loving the Life you’re living,