I hate work. Some people would love my job, I fix big computer systems all day and some people really get off on that. I do it because I seem to be good at it, and because they pay me a lot. The problem is that this type of job endlessly cuts into my personal life. For example, I'm on call for a week, every third week. I'm paid a salary, so it's not fixed hours; I stay until my job is done for that day, and extra hours for big important projects are expected. But the biggest thing is that it's completely unfufulling; th computer systems I work on just help a bunch of silly rich people get richer. So I burn away hours, months, years of my life in this job that seldom allows me a quiet weekend and I don't even CARE about the work I do.
So I've been looking at other options, like going back to school or changing careers. right now I'm working on getting into real estate, rentals specifically, in the hope that I can get good enough at it to supplement my income, quit my good-paying but rather unhappy current career, and do something I'd enjoy like building low-cost housing for poor people or teaching or something. Over the last year or so I've scavenged enough money together to buy a cheap condo in the town next to me; I figure it's a low-risk test of my potential as a landlord. If it sucks, I'll sell the condo after a year or so. If it works out, I'll bust my ass for another year and maybe buy another. And at some point, quit my job.
Today I was showing the condo to prospective tenants. The only person I had a good feeling about at all was this guy...I'll call him Mike...who sounded very cool on the phone. He introduced himself, asked if the place was still available, and told me a little about himself before we even started talking about details. He will be a grad student at a local school in the fall, which is the sort of tenant I was hoping for, since grad students tend to be more responsible than undergrads. And, though somehow it makes me feel like I'm stereotyping, he sounded to me like a well-educated black man on the phone. What does that sound like, exactly? I don't know, but it's the feeling I got. Everyone else I talked to sounded like poorly-educated white folks, something that my state has a surplus of.
He showed up to see the place, and he was, in fact, a well-educated black man. He seemed to like me, which was important to me since I've had a whole string of asshole landlords and I didn't want to become one. He was laid-back, casual, the kind of person I would like to know better, as a friend, or so I felt after knowing him for a while fifteen minutes. He seemed to have fun telling me about what he was studying, and he liked the apartment, so I think I have my first tenant. But most interestingly to me, he struck me as the total opposite of me; he was doing something he was passionate about, for very little money, but I could just tell by the way he carried himself that he was happy. I'm struck by the odd symmetry of the situation; me, the well-paid unhappy guy looking for a way out through real estate, renting to a modestly paid happy guy who is passionte about his work. Maybe he's just further ahead of me on the path to enlightenment.
He also set off my gaydar but I'm convinced mine is defective...it's failed me before, with rather depressing results. But enough of that.
So I'm feeling okay right now - I've been down for a while about my career and how it feels like I'm burning away the best years of my life doing something that just doesn't matter. Today I feel like I've made a big step in changing that. Let's hope it keeps going that way.