My New Career

Eureka! At long last, I have selected, definitively, and finally, a career for myself. More than a career – it is an avocation, a way of life, a vocation.  It has been a long-time coming and it feels great! Woo Hoo!

With purpose, gusto and aplomb I have stylishly angled, but sometimes hurriedly plopped on many a scarfed-brim over the years. Like everyone else, I have planned some jobs and career choices, and stepped into others because I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right moment, or because somebody knew me and took pity on me, figuring I wouldn’t do too much damage if they gave me a break. I had no idea I would be a legal secretary, but that was the temp job I scored when trying to put myself through grad school, studying for another professional field. When I moved out of state, I landed a position not in the area for which I had matriculated and amassed debt, but in a law office.

When the kids were in grade school and I spent a lot of time volunteering there, I figured that at some point I would be offered a job. A library aide position opened up; I read a book on the Dewey Decimal System to prepare for the interview. The principal called me the week before and told me about the job. “What qualifications do you have for this position?” she asked. I could have said, “I own a library card.” I could have said, “I’m an English major; I know my way around a library.” But I had the flu, so I responded, “I don’t have any.” There was a pause of about a second, and then I heard, “I encourage you to apply.” The school hired me; I found out why at the end of the interview. “We know you,” they said. They also knew my kids and where I lived, so I tried hard not to get too much hair on the heavy clear tape I used to cover the periodicals to give the dog-eared magazines a longer shelf life.

My new career choice is actually the culmination of all my jobs and experiences, including mothering my children and everybody else’s. Years of work have defined the moment. This chosen path is a result of blending, interlocking, sifting, expunging, moving around, retrieving from the trash, and re-mixing a lifetime of experiences, jobs, educational opportunities, mistakes, talents, faux pas, brain deficits, street smarts, chance meetings, gut feelings, opinions, beliefs, hobbies, conversations, laundry, health, meals, friendships, family and life. It’s the synthesis of my life’s work, whatever that may be. Years ago my dear aunt asked me what I did, and I thoughtfully replied, “I don’t know. But I sure do a lot of it.”

So here it is. My career choice is to be a minion. Not just anybody’s minion, you understand. Not the lackey who daily is relegated to trudge through the hailstorms and blistering heat and hurricane winds to fetch all the office coffees, only to have somebody snatch my own cup of joe because she changed her mind at the last second, without an utterance or hint of apology. No. These minions have no self-respect.

Nor do I want to be that toady-lackey kind of minion. You know the stereotype; it’s the kiss-up who follows somebody of importance around, flattering the heck out of the boss and making oneself important by virtue of being in close proximity to The Important One. It’s the sycophant who makes everybody’s stomach turn, even the folks who steal the coffee they didn’t order.

No. These minions are either regrettable or unforgivable. My kind is that self-assured, happy-skippy sort that uses brains and wit to get the job done, all the while enjoying life and loving the experience. They don’t have to stand out in a crowd. They’re better off in a crowd. Yes. I want to be a Despicable Me minion.

These are the industrious, creative, hilarious dudes who come through for their boss. The boss knows that without his minions, the work just wouldn’t get done. Minions are the critical component to every project, and the boss genuinely cares about them. The only downside of this job is the heavy slapstick formula, but like it or not, I must admit that I do share that specific accident-prone attribute. I’ve noticed over the years that my family has had to fight back chuckles when they inquire if I’m all right.

These denim-clad guys work hard, play hard, and really just don’t get bent out of shape when things go awry. You don’t see minions fretting because they are flying into space on balloons or falling into deep pits. They may utter an “Oh, Poop,” and then get on with it. How many times have I worked myself into a tizzy because I wasn’t able to keep to my ridiculous schedule and get everything done?

Well, minions are my role models now, and I’ve been making a concerted effort to relax more. When things get harried, I try to think like a minion. I’m learning! Here’s proof. We invited friends over for Christmas dinner, asking them to arrive at two o’clock. Well, two o’clock came and we were nowhere near ready. Wrapping paper covered the floor and the place was a mess. I hadn’t even thought about dinner. Did I panic? No!

We welcomed our guests and there were hugs and presents and laughter. Somebody poured beverages for them, and I ran through the obstacle course of packages and paper into the kitchen, and cut up some bacon quiche into bite-sized pieces, arranged them on a festive plate, tossed a few toothpicks into a shot glass and shoved the glass in the center of the plate. Voilà! Hors d’oeuvres.

An hour later, as my dear friend joined me in the kitchen with her glass of wine while I began prepping for dinner, I told her about the minions in the movie. How I would love to be like them! Who wouldn’t? They’re cute and yellow and wear these eye things and crack me up. They’re always smiling and having fun. We laughed when I tried to mimic their speech. Then the conversation moved on to our families and mutual friends and life. When I looked at the clock and realized that Christmas dinner was now going to be a full two hours late, I offered a playful non-apology for my tardiness. I told my friend that while I knew I should be at least a bit embarrassed about not being anywhere near ready for dinner guests, that for the first time in my life, I didn’t care! We both laughed. As long as my guests were comfortable and had something to eat and drink while I worked, that was fine. They were not zooming off to another house anytime soon, and I was going to enjoy every minute of my day. After all, I had just ‘fessed up: I want to be a minion.

My dear friend smiled broadly, and exclaimed to me, “You already are!”