- ABOUT US
Megan Rossman, Photography Editor
Photo by LORI DUCKWORTH
By Megan Rossman
August 6, 2015
If we didn’t work at the greatest magazine in the state and already love our jobs, what would the editorial staff at Oklahoma Today want to do instead? That was the question Steffie put forth during our last deadline. The answers varied wildly. Nathan would be a writer, pure and simple. Sara would make whimsical chicken coops from reclaimed materials. Steffie would run a feminist school in Oklahoma. Karlie would own a 24-hour breakfast restaurant, a good one, or she’d be the editor-in-chief of the now-defunct Dog Fancy magazine.
As for me, I said I would have no job. That declaration will not impress your boss and colleagues. It’s financially implausible and lazy, but it’s my fantasy. In my mind, I am lounging in tropical waters, sledding through forested slopes in the Alps, and drinking whisky with fishermen in Irish seaside pubs before jetting back to my stateside home to do whatever strikes my fancy. Terms like productivity and thinking outside the box would not factor into my self-indulgent, vagabond ways. I’d piece life together as I saw fit, much as I do now, but without joy-sucking concerns about time and money.
When I thought about this later, I realized there actually are a few other jobs I might enjoy, but probably not as much as being a freewheeling bum.
I wouldn’t mind being a protector of underdogs everywhere, forging a battle against the abuse and greed of people in positions of power who seem immune to shame and legal consequence. I don’t know what sort of job category that would fall under. Maybe superhero. My super power would be forcing these self-appointed demigods to be accountable for their loathsome actions. High-stress and self righteous, for sure, but I’m sure the job satisfaction rating is high for superheroes. Or maybe I’d be a baker. I like pastries. The repetition of kneading dough and creating confections can be meditative. My kitchen wouldn’t be a high-intensity Cupcake Wars scenario; those baked goods are too ambitious, and I don’t believe in getting hysterical about food presentation. I’d probably be more of a bargain-priced Cake Wrecks artisan. The business slogan would be, “Keep expectations low.” “Function over form” and “At least you didn’t have to make it” would both be suitable.
Baker, vigilante, hobo: I’ve never been a person who had a clear-cut idea of what career I wanted. My youthful aspirations varied from makeup artist and neuroscientist to astronomer and flight attendant. I spent hours in the college career center, trying to figure out what to major in. My career aptitude test results were as conflicted as I was, recommending professions like waste management supervisor and mime. I ultimately decided on journalism, but every time I took a new elective like biology or economics, I wondered if I had made the right decision. Working in journalism, in some ways, is a decent job for a scattered, indecisive person. You’re always delving into new subjects and interacting with a wide range of people. It’s a constant survey course on life.
We’re told in school and at home and in popular culture that we’ll find purpose in life by picking “the right job.” This is gross oversimplification. The career is part of life, but so much emphasis is placed on that slice. For some, it’s more of a sliver, and for others it may be the entire pie. The truth is, we all feed on something different. For a few, a professional career is the primary route to life satisfaction, while others see it as strictly a way to pay bills. Neither outlook is superior. Some people just want to get married—or not—and raise a brood of children. Some people want to be bums. If you can find a comfortable compromise between your highest ideals and what you can tolerate, you’re doing pretty well. And if you’re lucky, there’s probably still time to have a few rounds with those Irish fishermen.