Thursday, September 17, 2009


graduate school started a few weeks ago for me. classes, schoolwork, reading, it's all back and i'm not particularly excited about it. graduate school is a means to an end for me. i can't find a job, i want a job at a college, so i'm in higher education management. makes sense right? i thought it did, at least. that is until i got to my classes and realized that about 95% of my program is considerably more motivated and career-oriented than i am. this made me wonder; am i not motivated enough? am i missing something? are my priorities out of whack? why am i the only one in the class who seems to have things on their mind besides school?

so let's investigate. american society today has different priorities than it once did. people in the professional realm seem to place quite a bit of importance on money. maybe that's not the difference. but people in my class talked about how people in our line of work may choose to be single longer because they have long hours and lots of moving from job to job. working their way up the professional ladder to bigger and better careers seems like the motivation for people in my classes. who doesn't want bigger and better though? i mean, i could always use more money. but what are they sacrificing by making these professional moves? relationships? friends? time to themselves? i'm pretty sure i have little interest in sacrificing those things.

so now i start thinking about why my mindset is different than my classmates'. my focus in my career is pretty much to make enough money to provide for myself and my family. that's it. i don't have any big career aspirations. i know my dad raised my family on a pretty modest salary, put us all through college, and raised quite a beautiful family, life, and home. and he never became president of anything. were his motivations wrong? is there something missing? my thoughts are no. my priorities are different than my colleagues. do i want to be president of college? sure, it'd be cool. am i willing to put forth those long hours and sacrifices to do so? i doubt it. is that so wrong?

my motivation in my life right now and for the future is pretty simple; be as happy as possible all the time. that's it man. why on earth would i want to do anything else? heck, that's selfish enough. i haven't even mentioned the part about my faith calling me to serve God in all that i do; the other goal in my life. so what kind of motivation does that give me for my career? i want to move up the ladder, find a job i like, make as much money as possible. but the more money i make, the better i can provide for my family, the more my wife can stay home and care for our kids, the more i can donate to my friends in ministry and other worthy causes.

my short term goal isn't anything complicated. right now i want to enjoy life as much as possible while graduating. in two years i want to get to seattle. i want to live there and get started in the higher ed realm. that's it. and that might change between now and the time i graduate. what i do know is that my friend jenn seemed to enjoy being an RD at seattle pacific university and that looks pretty good to me too. at least it'll pay more than olive garden.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

all signs point west

this is the third time i've tried to type this entry. i think it's just hard for me to put into words exactly what i'm thinking and feeling since returning from seattle. anyone who's been there knows why it's amazing. anyone who hasn't been there needs to go. when i left two weeks ago i said there was a 40% chance that i'd end up there after graduation from grad school. as time goes on, that percentage grows. i can't get the city off my mind and i don't know if i will until i return.

it's like an ex-girlfriend who dumps you but gives you definite hope that things might work out with you two. i see things that remind me of her all over the place. styles of clothes, death cab songs, my sounders fc scarf. i can't get away from it. my journal started with seattle and is just full of seattle memories and thoughts. what doesn't help is that i returned to pittsburgh to find some newfound schoolwork and a less lucrative job than when i left. not only is it less lucrative, but i don't know how many more tables i can serve before i just take off my apron and walk out. basically, my vacation life in seattle seems infinitely better than my stress-filled life in pittsburgh.

maybe that's why i want seattle so badly. because it's something new. it's something different. i don't know why. maybe it's the constant view of puget sound. maybe it's the coffeeshops, book stores, and record stores all over. maybe it's the wilderness just outside the city limits. maybe it's the friendliness of the people or the relaxed mood of the west coast. i'm not sure if i can pinpoint anything in particular. all i know is it's intriguing. so intriguing that i'm pretty certain it'll be the destination after graduation. if i can wait that long.