For example, as the receptionist/intern for the staffing and recruitment office at the Memphis Board of Education, I've been abreast of what is going on behind the scenes of the school system I came from, and the strengths and weaknesses therein. Memphis City Schools is under fire, but I can honestly say that there are good things coming from the board. We tend to think of teachers as people who go to work everyday not very excited to take home that measly pay check, or at least I used to, but teachers span from those individuals whose childhood dream was to teach, to kids fresh out of college searching for something to do with their lives and discovering a career they love. Despite the issues within the Memphis area schools, its teachers really do care, and this gives me hope for the future of the town I love.
Some jobs I've held, however, have been less than my favorite and reminded me why I tend to be a cynic at times. I'm not going to slander this particular employer, but I doubt anyone would enjoy the environment of this workplace. Sitting in a chair and staring at a screen for 8 hours straight (usually over night) with no possible way of entertaining myself without a scolding from the boss makes me praise the Lord even more when I think about what's to come for me next month in Detroit. When you put that with the nasty attitudes of most customers seeking this service, it serves as a reminder that a lot of people are just plain ignorant, and I'm glad I'm not one of those people. I've learned to have a deeper appreciation of a good night's sleep through this job, as well as for people who know how to communicate clearly, without fowl language and impatient attitudes. As much as the thought of doing a long distance relationship again kills me, I shout for joy when I remind myself that I won't be going back to that work place after much longer. If I could survive a summer at that place, learning a few excerpts and orchestral works sounds like cake.
During grad school, one of my work study supervisors after a long, busy day in the office said to me, "Garrett, work hard so that you can be the boss," and she's right. Hard work and a plan will get you where you want to be, but whatever your life goals are, the ladder may not lead straight to them. Sometimes you have to side track yourself so that you have the materials needed to build more rungs on the ladder, or maybe you just need a break from the constant climb. The journey may not even lead you to what you thought it would, or what others see as success, but keep going! My degrees, practice, and the non-musical side of my employment history probably aren't leading me to being the CEO of a large company, or owner of a successful business, but it's landed me a lifestyle I wouldn't trade for anything, where I'm, in a way, my own boss. It's tough moving to a new city alone (I've done it) but I'm confident in where my path has led me, and I'm excited for the new challenge. I must say, though, if music isn't my "forever and ever, Amen", I'd gladly go back to working with everyone at the office at USC, because I laughed daily, learned constantly, and created life-long friendships. Michael Scott and his crew at Dunder Mifflin have nothing on the fun we had everyday!