Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The difference a couple of years make

Ah, the difference a couple of years makes. Two years ago today I started my current job. It was just as a casual and I was told not to get my hopes up about it leading into anything permanent. In fact, several months later I was mere hours away from unemployment. If it wasn't for a slightly surreal situation developing (in Nunavut? Nooooo) I would have been out from a job I kind of like. It's certainly less stressful than the old one.

It's interesting that I've been reading a couple of local journalists who are getting stressed out about their jobs. I can empathize. I truly can. Towards the end of my last job, it was getting to the point that I wanted to smash the phone every time it rang. I didn't want to interview people, which kind of makes it hard to do your job when you're a journalist. I was at that level of burnout. It was kind of terrifying, really.

I still liked the writing, you understand. I was just done with the whole talking to humans and trying to pry information from them thing.

So two years ago I go through a career change. Probably one of the best things that ever happened to me in terms of peace of mind. Let's put it this way, I got a freelance check in mail today. A former editor of mine asked me to do a couple of travel stories for her paper and I did stories about San Francisco and the Pacific Coast Highway. The money wasn't a lot, a couple of hundred bucks. But three years ago, that would have been a big deal. That would have been a lot of money and would have helped myself and Cathy with the bills when we were trying to make ends meet on Bond Street on an associate editor's salary and her substitute teaching and tutoring work.

Today's reaction was more of a "Cool. That's nice. A bit of extra money when we go to Florida."

It kind of boggles my mind when I think about how much our fortunes have changed the past couple of years. Nunavut has been very good to us.

And yet, every now and then we think about when we might leave and head down south. This is not unusual, by the way. Plenty of people come to Nunavut. On the extremes are the people who literally last only a few months. This isn't the place for them. Nothing wrong with that. I'm sure there are plenty of places in the world that aren't for me. But once they realize they're mistake, they leave on the first available jet plane.

On the other end of the spectrum are the people who move here and deeply fall for the place. The lifers. The ones who buy a house and have no intention of leaving until they retire, and even then, maybe not. Claire is a prime example of that.

But the vast majority of people are up here for a few years. And then for any number of reasons they head back south. I always figured that's where myself and Cathy fall. I don't talk about it much. You have to be careful how you talk in public about your reasons for coming here and leaving. There are certainly people who don't like hearing you're only up here to pay off your mortgage and then you're getting out of here as quickly as you can. That's not a great way to make friends. It will at the very least earn you dirty looks.

So yeah, the question for myself and Cathy has always been when we would go. We still have no idea. I suspect we're here until 2009 at least. I'm inclined to stay longer if we can swing it, but we shall see.

But the thing is, we're both secure up here right now. And yeah, there are things down south we wish we had up here. But life, on the whole, is pretty good. And when you see how hard the Globe and Mail has been beating the drums the past few days that something wicked this way comes in terms of the economy, it makes both of us wonder why we would even think about going anywhere else.

This is a bit of a ramble, but it's always useful to remind yourself how good you have it, rather than pining for something else that likely isn't nearly as good as you think.

Last Five
1. Ghost dance - Robbie Robertson
2. Rockin' the suburbs - Ben Folds
3. I'm so tired - The Beatles
4. Streams of whiskey - The Pogues*
5. What do you do with a BA in English? - Avenue Q OST

1 comment:

John and Lorraine (a.k.a. "Birdland") said...

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