Last Thursday was my final day working with Accenture. I've spent the last week reuniting myself with my only other employer, Kings Dominion. What a difference a week makes!
Accenture is a great company. For an entry-level position, I was offered competitive pay, and some of the best benefits and work flexibility around. I also enjoyed the folks that I worked with. I learned quite a bit professionally and personally through them. In down time, I also learned about stock trading and sports. While all of the benefits stacked up in an impressive manner, the work left me wanting more. I spent the majority of my day communicating by e-mail, tracking down managers, and doing menial analysis of financial numbers.
I understand that entry-level jobs are never glamorous. But, with that known, I still hated the idea of going into work. When I got there, I completed my tasks, did what was required, and quickly went into a state of passing the hours until I was able to escape for the night.
We spend 40 hours or more per week at our jobs. That's more time than we likely spend with those we love the most or our hobbies. So, knowing that work comprises a majority of my non-sleeping time, why should I spend it somewhere I don't particularly enjoy?
I've heard the rationales. I spoke with coworkers and friends who had many opinions, most along these lines: "I don't particularly enjoy this job at all, but it pays the bills and once I got married that was what was important." "At some point, I had to grow up, and this is a comfortable and secure job." "All jobs suck, it's just a part of life." It was the last point that stuck out. All jobs "suck"? I'm a particularly optimistic person, and I can't stand to think that I will spend five days a week doing something that I just don't like. There has to be something better.
Contrast Accenture with the last week. Is life at Kings Dominion perfect? Hardly. However, I look forward to going into work. Depending on the day, I might be filing paperwork, running a ride, cleaning a wave pool, managing an area of the park, teaching a training, auditing rides, or talking with employees and guests. The diversity of the job already makes it more enjoyable than my last year at Accenture. Most importantly to me is the fact that I get to interact with people regularly while I'm at work. And surprisingly, my favorite day of work last week was while cleaning a wave pool. There's something refreshing in working with your hands.
I'm not saying that Kings Dominion is my dream job - I still don't know exactly what my dream job entails. What I do know is that I've taken a step forward. According to many "professional standards", I've moved backwards. A cut in pay, longer hours, and very few benefits. But I did move forward. I'm happy. When you're happy with what you're doing, you have a lot more for everything else. For yourself, your friends, and your personal endeavors.
With what I've experienced over the past year, I've decided that when I return from my mission, I plan to avoid a "corporate" job at all costs. I want to have a self-starting job. I don't know exactly what, whether its in ownership, entrepreneurship, franchising, or something else. I don't even know if it will work. I might end up back in the corporate world once I need a "secure and comfortable job". But until then, I want to give it a try. Who knows, it might just work!