Twenty Six Days

Another Monday. I have worked in Contract Administration for about 23 years and I often think about how people can sometimes fall into careers. I didn’t even know what a Contract Administrator was when I got my first job working for a defense contractor, and yet … here I am.

When I first became a Contract Administrator, I was excited and eager to learn all I can and to do a good job. I would happily work 12-hour days, come in on the weekends – whatever it took. The administrators at the company that I worked for were admired and revered. Nothing happened at that company unless one of the contract administrators said so. It was a cool gig and being part of that group made me feel like one of the cool kids. I remember the first day I moved out of a cubicle and into my own office. It was a small office, with no windows and it barely fit my desk, but it had a door and it was mine. Eventually, I moved into a bigger office which had a view of a beautiful crepe myrtle tree.

Over the years, I bounced around to several different contractors because that was the only way that I could get a decent raise. My longest tenure at any one contractor was seven years and that was the first one. Now I have settled into what I hope will be my last employer. The excitement has gone and I’m not really learning anything new. Now, it’s just a job.

Don’t misunderstand, it is a job that I like. A job that I am good at. An environment where I am respected and well-compensated. But still – a job.

When I was working on my own as a personal trainer and even while I was working at the gym I was making no money but I was personally fulfilled because I felt like I was helping people while doing something that I enjoyed.

I took that first job 23 years ago out of necessity. I walked out of a job without any notice and I couldn’t go home to my husband without a job. We needed the money. So, I went to a temp agency and was placed with that defense contractor as a temp. I was a clerk – answering phones and filing. After three months I was hired permanently, and the rest is history.

If I had to do it all again, I would do things differently. In an ideal world, I would have stayed in college and I would have majored in English Lit and minored in Journalism. I would have graduated and pursued a writing career. I would not have been so easily distracted by the boys. I would put more value on personal fulfilment, and I wouldn’t have made so many poor financial choices that forced me to take a job out of necessity.

However, as I journey to 56, I know that I cannot do it all again. I can start from today and do things differently. In my heart I know that it is never too late. When I think about this, I have to ask myself, if I was a writer at 22 would I be burned out at 56, looking for something else to do? Maybe. I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and everything that has happened in my life, had to happen in order for me to get here. I have zero regrets. The rest is up to me.

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