Ugh, I’m tired. I finished my first full school board meeting last night. Of course most of the board is new this year so we ask lots of questions and hence the meeting started at 7pm and went to just after 10 pm. I wish that was the only reason I’m tired, but my board related duties started at 11:30 am.
The day started at a luncheon I attended that was put on the local Chamber of Commerce who in partnership with the school board and the Martin Foundation (started by no other than Paul Martin one of our ex-prime ministers) were starting a new program focusing on business/entrepreneurship skills for aboriginal students. So I got to meet two SK cabinet ministers (including the Minister of Education), the mayor, two city councilors and of course Paul Martin. Not a bad way to start off as this board’s first official public event we had attended.
Lunch was then followed by a tour of the inner city high school where the program will be started and a round table discussion on aboriginal issues around education like high dropout rate, low parent involvement, adapting material and methods to aboriginal culture and a host of others topics. We also had the elders advisory council there and students to provide some honest discussion on what’s wrong and what’s seems to be working.
What stuck me the most about this round-table was the fact that most of the people who spoke obviously really cared about these issues. We often think our elected officials are only concerned about getting elected again, but I saw a group of people that honestly are trying to do their best to improve the lives of others.
Then later that night at the board meeting I met most of the senior administration staff for the school division. So of course, but this time I’ve given up trying to recall every one’s name and face and accept I can’t meet 30 new people in one day and keep them straight. Then we reviewed the current strategic plan, the budget, the enrollment numbers and of course did some real work on some personnel issues.
So I’m tired, but I’ve learned some very important things:
- This job will not be easy. It will require a lot from me and likely more time than I originally would have guessed for the first six months or so until I’m a bit more up to speed. I also have a whole new respect for elected officials.
- I’m actually enjoying myself more than I would have guessed. I’ve always liked learning new things so getting tossed into a completely different field has been interesting. Yes it’s work but I’m happy doing it.
- I don’t even care that much about how much I’m being paid. Frankly I don’t need the money, so this is giving me a little taste of the potential of being financially independent. I’m doing this because I want to, not for the income.
So that’s my first updated on the job, who knew this would be a good testing ground for the concept of work without care for the pay. So have you ever had a job that you did just because because you loved it and not the pay? If so, what was it?
I was watching a TV show (on DVD) the other day that brought up an interesting debate should you keep a job that will help change the world or take one that makes you happy? Of course I rarely see things in completely black and white and thought why can’t you do both?
Then if you add in a requirement for a decent salary of course getting a job like that is going to be next to impossible. It does happen to the lucky few, but really most of us just have to and accept a job that is missing one or more of those items. After all job satisfaction is good, but it really isn’t happiness most of the time. Also I’m keeping the definition of changing the world rather open here to include helping just one person to have a better life all the way up to changing how everyone sees the world. So then what do you pick: money, changing the world or happiness as the primary reason you take a job?
My current day job I’ll have to admit it was a tie between changing the world and money for me. I knew taking the job I would be entering a work culture steep in tradition and one that is resistant to change. So basically I was guessing staying happy at this job would be difficult, so far I think I’ve been right. I’m not unhappy or miserable at the job, but I’m not happy every day either. I do manage to be satisfied at my job most days.
Meanwhile I pursue happiness via my writing where I certainly don’t expect to change the world or make decent money. If either of those do occur it will strictly be a byproduct rather than the focus of this job.
Therefore in the end I still mange to do all three, but just not in the same job. Which I think is often over looked by people. You don’t have to get everything you need in life from one job. It’s ok to have second job or hobby the fills in the void in your main job.
So with that in mind I suppose that is part of the reason I’m looking to become finanically independent. I want to do work that doesn’t need to worry about the money aspect anymore and then just take jobs based on changing the world or being happy.
How about you? What was the primary reason you took your job: money, changing the world or happiness and why?
Last week I was thinking about this post and I realized I really shouldn’t wait until I retire to get involved in politics. I’m not sure if I was going to like it, but I figure I should look into it. Since the civic election nomination period was on, I decided to give my local public school board representative a call and find out how much work was involved in doing the job. He happened to mention that he wasn’t running again so I started to give the matter some serious thought. That was last Thursday.
Last night I had it confirmed: I won by acclamation. If you had told me getting this job involved this little effort I would have laughed at you last week, but that’s the way it happened. So now I have a new title: politician.
Strangely enough getting the job is fairly straight forward. I had to just do the following:
- Pay a $100 deposit, which you get back if you win or get at least 10% of the vote.
- Get 10 signatures from those that live in the area in which you are running (they don’t even have to vote for you). This was much easier than I would have guessed. Just asking around at work got me a few and a couple of chance meetings got me the rest in just two days .
- Submit a candidate profile (150 words) and head shot picture for the election website.
- Do one interview with the local paper (15 minutes by phone). That was published on Tuesday.
- Worry and wonder how hard running a campaign was going to be.
To be honest I’ve done more work to get my day job (other than the worrying). Then the nomination period closed last night. By the time I had left work I had suspected I might have won, but I was waiting for official confirmation from the elections staff. I had that confirmed by about 7pm, which make this now the second time I got a position by acclamation. The first time was Chair of my local Engineering Association branch when I was living in BC.
On the entire affair I’m a bit torn. On one hand I’m thrilled I won in under a week from the minute I started thinking about it. On the other I’m a bit disturbed that no one else in my entire subdivision cared enough about our schools to run against me. People like to complain about taxes (often very loudly), but when it comes to being able to influence how they are used they run and hide. It’s a bit strange really, but I suppose not everyone is prepared to live in the public domain (ironically posting my net worth on this blog for the last three years has helped me prepare for that).
Now my Tuesday nights during the school year is mainly spoken for the next three years of my term which starts in November, but on the other hand I do get paid. I’m not sure exactly how much but I seem to recall finding a document that maximum a member of council can earn is around $23,000/year. But when you consider a Member of Parliament pulls down $157,731 (from MoneySense Oct 2009 edition), I’m a bloody bargain regardless of what they pay me.