Taking a job with the state more than six years ago was probably a mistake. At the time it was a good idea because I needed to get away from 'Bucks. I needed to do something that helped me feel like a grown-up rather than the pathetic man-child I've always been.
I suppose, for a while, it worked. I woke up at the same time every morning. I wore shirts with buttons all the way down the front. I had weekends and holidays off. I made more money than I'd ever made before. Debt was paid. I was working in the grown-up world. No more scheduled by the week coming in at 4:30 AM one day and then working until 11:30 PM the next day.
I never really enjoyed myself though.
When I was a kid, I dreamed the usual dreams of the future. I imagined myself a firefighter single-handedly battling a blazing forest fire. I sat in the Oval Office bossing the army to sweep through the world bringing peace. I drove thousands of head of cattle across the country. I circled the globe over and over with in a boat/plane/submarine/tank hybrid with a martini in my hand. I flew to Mars and placed the first boot print in the ruddy soil. Like every kid, I didn't ever imagine myself working in a regular office pushing paper around. Of course, like so many people in the great ole You Ess of Ay that's where I ended up. (To be fair, my dreams changed as I got older to things that were more possible.)
And as that went on the dreams that could have been possible went away. Not totally away, but they seemed so unrealistic, so unsafe.
Working the normal grind is safe. You go in, do the shit you're told to do, you get paid. You get paid a consistent amount with each check. You know what's coming and you can plan where it's going. Safety is all a paper-pushing job offers, not satisfaction.
Here I sit, still not satisfied. Six years, six long fucking years, stuck in the same classification. Three years since I hit the top of the pay grade. Four-and-a-half years since I had an interview that could lead to a promotion.
Then I start thinking about the kinds of places that I'm likely to be promoted to: analyst, accountant, personnel specialist, paralegal, etc. Do I really want to be any of these things? They are all so far from the sort of things I imagined for myself.
Again, here I sit. I sit thinking about how much I hate where I am in my life. That's certainly something that I never dreamed about.