Tuesday, September 2, 2008

9-2-08: Job Satisfaction

Yesterday I had lunch with a high school buddy who I haven't seen in a while. It was nice to see him. He's a medical student up at UConn, and is doing well.
We mostly talked about sports and other things. He's a Patriots fan like me, so we talked about how they'll do this year. We also talked about some of our buddies and how they were doing. We talked about our upcoming reunion on Saturday; fortunately, he can go.
Then, the topic of school and work came up. I told him how my job was going, about life as an engineer, and how I was going to school to get my Master's. After a few minutes, my buddy said something that surprised me:
"You know, of all the people our age that I've talked to, I think you're the only one who seems to be happy with their first job out of school. Everybody else says they hate their job."
I then thought of two possibilities:
1. People are exaggerating and really don't hate their jobs that much.
2. I seem to enjoy my job and/or pretend better.
The first possibility is likely; I'm sure people just like to complain about their jobs. It's acceptable social behavior, since it's something people often have in common.
The second possibility isn't likely. I don't complain about my job that much in a serious manner. Sure, I complain, but it's often said with a smile or a smirk. Most of the time it's entertaining, though I do some serious complaining from time to time. My buddy Scotty knows that. I make lunch almost unbearable some days with my complaints. But most of the time, it's for fun.
So it surprised me, then, that my high school buddy thought I was the only person who liked their jobs. I won't dispute the fact that I don't hate my job. I'm not infatuated with it, but I'm proud of what I do and I do enjoy my work. It's not the most noble work; I don't save kids from trees or cats from fires. But it's better than 90% of the jobs out there that I could be doing. I just don't find it worthwhile to complain in a social setting. I find it more entertaining to describe what I do. I think it's an ego thing.
And I can't wait to gloat about it at my high school reunion on Saturday.

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