Creative Nonfiction

Happy dance!!

I finally landed a job that related to my major. I have a degree in engineering.

IMEG hired me after a successful second interview. Based in Madison, WI, IMEG specialises in engineering and design consulting. Their engineering services include building, civil, structural, mechanical, technology, and security engineering, among other things.

At the time, I was so thrilled. I was thankful for the opportunity and thought I had finally made it. I was proud of the fact that I finally secured a viable career that would allow me to provide for my family like I wanted to, like they deserved.

All my anxieties about never moving out of the food service industry vaporized. I had a REAL job now that had REAL benefits and great pay.

On the main campus I worked in a building that required key-card access to get into. There were two cafeterias that served healthy food. The vending machines even had healthy snack options. The work space had great lighting and fancy office furniture. There was even a ping pong table in one of the break rooms. How cool is that? There was an on-site gym, all kinds of retail discounts for all employees and immediate two week paid vacation, vacation reimbursement, on-site daycare, flex-time and work from home options, quarterly cook-outs, annual education stipends, and college scholarships for employee children. I could get used to this. I was beginning to live the dream.

I worked my ass off. I started as grade ll and quickly advance to grade lV. I rarely worked less than 65 hours a week, and quite often I put in closer to 80 hour work weeks.

I gave everything to the job, weekends, nights, took time from family, my wife and kids. I missed so many extended family events no one bothered to tell me about up coming ones.

I wanted to be top of my game, be debt free, and I wanted to make a name for myself. I did everything that was asked of me. I gave the job everything I had.

Is it possible to hate your dream job? I did. One day I woke up to reality staring me in the face.

All my wife and I did was argue about me never being home or spending quality time with her. I barely ever get to spend time with my kiddos. By the time I made it home they were in the bed asleep. The mornings were mad dashes for everyone. Not much more than a distracted look at graded schoolwork from the day before or a quick glance at homework during breakfast, a head ruffle, a fist bump, or peck on the cheek. My kids shot a barrage of things they wanted at me; that I always agreed to get for them out of guilt. Then everyone was flying out the door in different directions to get their respective day started.

I knew the hours were over the top but I worked them thinking after I made the money, bought the big house and nice car, put the kids in the best expensive private school then all my sacrifices would be worth it, everyone would be hapyy and we'd ride off in to the sunset. If nothing else; I thought I would at the very least be respected and have security.

To take matters from bad to worse the company changed management and the new principal grade V was the spawn of Satan. He nitpicked every tiny detail. Rarely was anything good enough for this cretin. He was known for saying, 'Hmm. I guess that’s good but you really need to show some more initiative.'

In meetings he'd treat one person like a hero and another like a total loser who didn't do anything right. He would agree to time off requests, but, then when the time came, he would say it just couldn't be done or either you'd have to make up the lost time.

I had planned an elaborate 'date' weekend for me and my wife. On Friday one hour before it's time for me to clock out he sends me a memo telling me that the weekend was mandatory OT for my department. I shoot over to his office and remind him that I had requested this time off over a month ago and he had agreed. He told me we had a last minute project come down the wire and he needed all hands on deck. I asked him to honor our agreement, because, there were more than enough of my colleagues to handle things.

He flat out refused. I went on the date weekend with my wife anyway. But it wasn't as sweet as it could of been had I not been stressing over what consequences were waiting for me when I returned to work on Monday.

Sure enough I was called into his office where I was berated as a slacker, not a team player, having poor work ethics, and so on and so on. He told me that I was being suspended one week without pay and that I'd still have to work a weekend of mandatory OT.

That was the absolute last straw for me. I went to my office and drafted my letter of resignation.

Now I'm working for a great Australian based company and my boss thinks I'm awesome. Although it's a faster paced work schedule, I am so stress free it's ridiculous.

Employees are valued highly. Management is flexible and down to earth. They take an interest in their employees success, with lots of learning, coaching, mentoring opportunities even from from senior staff. They encourage having a good work-life balance. So far the biggest challenge I have is finding on-site parking.

We've all heard the quote "If you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life." Right?

While inspiring it's totally unrealistic. The idea that work never will feel like work is a myth for most of us. So in my opinion dream jobs are also a myth. There is no such thing as a dream job. How can you have a perfect job when there are no perfect people? Any job comes with a few terrible aspects. 

We are led to believe that a dream job will make our lives meaningful and give us a sense of belonging thus making us happy and that is simply not the truth.

I don't mean to imply that you should give up your ambitions and your relentless drive to achieve what you want.

I'm just suggesting you shift your thinking from what you think a dream job “should be, over to defining how your job should best work for you. Look instead for the job that is going to be rewarding in the long run, pursue opportunities that offer consistent growth.

Most importantly realize you are more than your career.

August 28, 2021 15:38

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Kathleen `Woods
11:51 Sep 20, 2021

I'd say that your main's issues are pretty classic as far as common problems in a given workplace, especially the buzzwordy higher up. The timeline is a bit loose, as far as how long he'd been working for the company before quitting. Though you did manage the 'honey you need a new job' feeling, which is good. Thanks for writing!


Andrea Magee
14:31 Sep 20, 2021

Thank you for reading and your keen observations.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | We made a writing app for you (photo) | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.