A colorful assortment of work schedules are currently spread across my kitchen table. I had to go back and check that the numbers were right for my payroll accounts (since the “new girl” still doesn’t have her clock-in codes to take care of all that). What did I discover? Last week, from Wednesday morning until late Saturday night, I worked a total of 48 hours.
I’m not trying to make excuses as to why my blogging has suffered as of late or why my folks are only getting calls once a week(ish). I am simply amazed by how swiftly my life has turned 180 degrees. As quickly as the summer came to an end, so too did my carefree days of live television tapings and evenings at Shakespeare in the Park.
I am typically at the golf course by 6:30 am. Thankfully, that’s a little too early in the morning to worry about rush hour traffic, so my commute is roughly 5 minutes. Annandale Golf Club is private, as in: we have a gate and a security guard (his name is Javier and he’s a sweetheart), 400 members, and at least three Teslas in the parking lot at any time of day.
It’s good to be around a golf course again. It’s a familiar environment with a constant buzz of energy. Of course, my natural tendency is to compare it to my experience last summer in Greece. And yet this comparison is really unfair. Yes, they were both golf course jobs, but the cultural environment had such a strong influence at Costa Navarino that I can hardly handle the two situations objectively. The view here is certainly less impressive than the Mediterranean outlooks. I play much less golf than I did over in Greece. It’s nice not to have a language barrier, but I also miss the challenge of teaching foreign kids how to hit a golf ball.
The biggest difference that I have had to face, though, is the respect level. In Greece, the simple fact that I played golf gave me celebrity status. Adults took me seriously (billionaires, chefs, and pros included); they wanted to play golf with me when they came to the course. The staff at The Dunes Course trusted me to handle their weekly tournaments and all the kid’s programs. Guests invited me to dinners and parties, took me on their yachts at night and up to the clubhouse for drinks after a round. It was slightly bedazzling.
And now, I’m getting sent back down to earth. The job I was hired for at Annandale is “Outside Services”. I set up golf carts, clean up the range, run errands for the pros, greet the players before they tee off, and then wash all the carts at the end of the day. In a lot of ways, it’s routine, menial labor. But that was exactly how I started last summer in Greece. And I really don’t mind doing it!
Not everybody views the position so candidly, though. I have received a lot of surprised looks from our regular members when I bring out their clubs from the bag room. Apparently, I am the first girl to ever work Outside Services. While I see this as something of an accomplishment, some people interpret it differently.
I was speaking with one lady in particular the other day who had something to say about it. Let’s call her “Mrs. Smith”.
Mrs. Smith: It’s so wonderful to see a young lady over here. Are you a new pro?
Me: No, ma’am. I’m actually working Outside Services. Trying to keep all these boys in line. [I laugh casually]
Mrs. Smith: Oh, I see. Do you play for a local school?
Me: Actually, I just spent the last four years playing for the Varsity team at Wheaton College. I recently moved out here and wanted to stick around the golf world a little more.
Mrs. Smith: Oh your poor parents. They send you off to college for four years and here you are washing golf carts. [There is a brief pause, while I try and swallow this comment. She continues…] One of my best friends spent, what, over $300,000 on their son’s education and now guess what he wants to do?
Mrs. Smith: He wants to make beer. [She sighs] Well, at least if he’s good at it he can make some real money.
And with that she turned and walked away.
I cannot begin to tell you the sheer complexity of emotions I have had to deal with since this conversation. Of course it’s rather “unglamorous” to be a cart girl and a hostess. It’s not something that I’m quick to brag about. But man, I am so happy right now! I have enjoyed the adventure of moving somewhere brand new. I have tasted the sweetness of landing not one but two jobs in the past two months. I love having time to be a small group leader for junior high girls at my church. I am thrilled that I can take a few days off from work to spend time with my folks while they are in town. And, most of all, it is so satisfying to feel like I am a completely independent woman at this point. I pay my own rent, my own bills. I feel like I’ve accomplished quite a bit since graduating in May.
But it still hurts to have someone dismiss your efforts so handily. And it’s not just the “Mrs. Smith’s” who are able to undermine my confidence. There are a lot of adults out there who are quick to tell young college grads that this is all just a “phase” that will soon come to an end; Soon you will find what your purpose is!
Most of us have spent the last four years trying to figure out who we are and what we are supposed to do with our lives. Now, we are out on our own for the first time. We have never had full-time jobs. We have rather shabby, insignificant resumes. Many students run away to grad school to avoid facing the “real world” as long as possible. I am not going to lie: grad school has never looked so tantalizing as it did this past week.
And maybe further education is in my future. Or maybe I am supposed to work as a cart girl for a few years. Whatever the case may be, right now I simply desire to be content with precisely where I am. A fellow Wheaton grad addressed this same topic in a recent blog post Here. Brita poignantly addresses the fact that viewing this as just a “phase” completely undermines the importance of this time in life. It is not fair to simply say that this is a step along the road towards an ultimate goal or dream job, if in doing so we dismiss the value and beauty of this particular moment in time. Most importantly, we believe that God has placed us in these situations for an express purpose and we can glorify Him with how we serve in these immediate roles.
My fellow Wheaton grads are making coffees at Starbucks, directing cars in parking garages, folding shirts at J. Crew, and delivering pizzas. Certainly, a few students landed jobs as administrative assistants or internships at big companies. Are they lucky to begin their climbs up the career ladder already? Perhaps. But I cannot help but wonder if they are missing out on something valuable. Working in a restaurant (a job I hardly planned on doing) has altered my entire perspective of the dining experience. I love watching the chefs at work and learning about complementing tastes and textures. Just today, two guys from Stumptown coffee came to give us an introduction to their drink selection and brewing process. Suddenly, I have a new vocabulary for coffee blends (“Why yes, I do taste the caramel sweetness and mild malic undertones of your Costa Rican Montez de Oro”) and a greater appreciation for the processes farmers use to grow certain beans. We serve great coffee at the Raymond to complement the excellent dinner dishes. It certainly makes sense, but I would never have appreciated the quality before, well, today.
Beyond this tangible learning experience, there’s also the fact that I am surrounded by wonderful, intelligent people. You don’t need to be in an office to find sharp individuals.
Since I feel like I’m starting to sound defensive, I will end here. I am having a great time exploring these new jobs and gaining all the knowledge and experience they have to offer. My future is wide, wide open. And this winding path has led me from one amazing place to another. I hope you continue to join me on this journey! Thanks for all your prayers and support.