Tuesday, May 26, 2009
After this weekend, followed by coming up to MD for a meeting, I've been doing some thinking about my job. I have a secure position, a senior position, working at a government research lab. I've been in this position for over half my life. At the same place for that long.
I've seen people come and go. And lately it seems that more are going than coming. Not only have most of the people that I started with retired, the feel of the entire lab has changed. There's much more bureaucracy than ever, more paperwork, more time taken up with stuff that has nothing to do with science. More administrators will less vision and willingness to think outside the box.
I remember when I was a new Ph.D. and how I thought that many of the old timers were dinosaurs. I had a big ego and thought that I was quite smart. I vowed that if the work that I was doing ceased to be fun or if I thought that I was no longer as passionate about the work, that I would retire. I'm starting to see that time is here.
I know that I have a year to go before retirement is mandatory. No, I'm not old. I signed up for a program that the state offered which allowed me to not only draw my salary but also my retirement for a period of 5 years. It was a financial no brainer. My wife and I both enrolled at the same time.
She decided that after 3 years of signing on that she had enough. She was sober and wanted more of life than just the job. The job had been her life for so long. It was as if she turned another page when she became sober and in recovery.
The job has been my life for many years. But I have found the same thing happening. Since being in recovery, I find that there are so many other things that I am thinking about. There are so many things that I enjoy and want to do more of. Sailing, art, and photography come to mind. As does working for a conservation group.
I have devoted myself to this career for many years, have spent time in outside conditions that most people wouldn't want to experience, have seen things of wonder that most people will never see, have had accolades, have met great people, have met egocentric butt holes, have seen the environment decline, seen fisheries go belly up, and more and more coastal problems occur.
Quite frankly I'm tired. I'm not tired of nature but tired of the struggle to "make a difference". Have we made a difference? I think in some ways we have. But I think in many other ways the work I'm doing is only indicating what is declining in terms of water quality and species and habitat. I'm not coming up with the solutions, just the problems.
And right now, I am living more in solutions. Maybe that's what recovery has done.