When I finished graduate school, I was thankful for two main things: One, my email signature would now include letters after my name; and two, I would never, ever be that busy, ever again.
Boy, was I wrong about the second one.
A few weeks later, my husband and I moved to Maryland for him to work an internship with NASA. Not knowing if we would be there past mid-August, I didn’t look for a job in Maryland, but I was lucky enough to pick up an online class to teach for West Virginia University. I built my class in mid-May, and taught it late May to late June. I worked from the apartment a couple hours per day, and spent the rest of my time reading Harry Potter and walking our roommate’s dog. It was glorious, despite the fact that I had virtually no human contact during the day—or perhaps because of that fact.
In June, we learned that my husband had received a Pathways internship, and that we would be staying through December. Since it was just one more semester, I decided I’d look into teaching at a local university instead of getting on the market for a real job. Luckily, there was an opening at a reputable school in Virginia, about 45 minutes away, so I applied. Within a week, I was offered a class. I had a job for the fall. I was done.
But not really. I quickly realized that I would be bored just teaching one class, so I started looking for other jobs. Surprisingly, I was able to pick up another class with the same university right before the semester started, and even more surprisingly, I was offered another job at the beginning of September—my first big-girl editing job. I wasn’t planning on getting a real job this fall, but I would have been crazy to refuse it.
And while working full time and teaching two classes has driven me slightly crazy—or crazier than I already was—I really wouldn’t trade it for anything.
God has a ridiculous sense of humor. He took me from having little human contact to having a lot of human contact every day, and He took me from working, say, 10–20 hours per week, to working 40–60 hours per week. And while I would have preferred He show me this in another way (perhaps, you know, some easier way, with a dog for stress relief), He’s been teaching me a lot about what I want my career to look like.
I’ve been learning that teaching isn’t for me. I might be good at it sometimes, but it’s not where I thrive. It’s not my sweet spot. It’s not my niche. This might be my last semester teaching, and I’m okay with that. More than okay. Thankful, really
I’ve also been learning that editing (and writing) is exactly what I want to be doing. I’ve known this since middle school, but finally having an editing position has set my career in stone. Finally, I know exactly what I want, and this job has brought me so much joy—despite the crazy deadlines. I’m 24 years old, I have a master’s degree, and I have a career in the making that is sure to lead to an exciting future. I don’t have time to not be thankful. (Yes, I split that infinitive, and yes, it’s okay—trust me, I’m an editor.)
I’ve never been more busy, but I’ve also never been more joyful—even if I don’t feel like it. Joy, like love, is a choice. The stress has been absurd, but the harvest has never been more plentiful. I’m looking forward to the end of this semester, when one job stops and the other (God-willingly) continues—when I will hopefully never, ever be this busy, ever again.
Natalie currently lives in the greater DC area with her husband, Andrew, where she works as a Technical Writer/Editor for a global IT company.