Here is a paper that I wrote for my English Class
WHY I WORK, MY AMERICAN DREAM
English 102 – Essay and Research
Monday, June 18, 2012
Why do I work? That is a very interesting question. There are many different “whys” to why I work, and all of them come down to one simple reason: my two teenaged sons. I have a job, I work out, I go to school, I do housework, and I do my best to raise my children. I want them to have a better life than they have now, and a better life than I had growing up. I want them to see that with hard work and dedication, you can meet your goals, no matter what the goals may be. My goals are to put myself in a position where I can meet any challenge that is thrown my way. I work, not because it is easy, but because it is hard. Many of my goals exist simply because they are something that I cannot do now. I chose the goals not because they are easy, but because they are hard. I chose them to challenge myself, to make myself work harder and become a better person. I work hard in many different ways in order to make my life and my children’s life better.
My boys need food, clothing, education, medical care and shelter. They want Internet, TV, football, video games, dates with their girlfriends, and eventually cars. These things are not free; therefore I have a job. Sometimes it seems that I need to have two jobs to keep up with the expenses of having children as a single dad. You will notice I said that I have a job and not a career. I do not get up every day dreaming of going to work and doing my job like I did in the past. I currently supervise a team of 30 customer service representatives and manage multiple projects for one of the biggest companies in the United States, Express Scripts Holdings. I gather very little joy out of my day to day existence at work. I do not feel that I contribute to a greater good. I know that my actions directly affect my direct reports, and therefore indirectly affect hundreds of people each day in small ways. I used to work as a firefighter / paramedic, and I miss making a very big difference every day. My current job provides me with a steady paycheck, ample time off, flexible work schedules and an amazing health and decent retirement benefits. My current job fills my needs but not my desires.
I work at school. In addition to working full time I am currently going to school full time. I currently do not have a degree and if I want to improve my current job situation, I need an education. I am taking classes at Columbus State that will transfer to Franklin University as well as classes at Franklin itself. I am majoring in Forensic Accounting and Business Forensics with the goal of eventually getting my Masters of Science in Accounting. Attending class full time can be very difficult for me. With all the other demands on my time, I sometimes find it hard to do the studying and the other assignments that I need to do. One of my biggest problems is that I do not feel that I am a strong writer, and writing is such a large portion of the work that I do, especially since I take the majority of my classes online.
I work at the gym. In the past, I have allowed myself to get into horrible physical shape. I am 6’4” and weigh in at 378 pounds; I am extremely morbidly obese. I am hypertensive (high blood pressure) and pre-diabetic. My current physical condition puts me at high risk for heart attack, stroke, and even death. My father died at 52 years old of a massive heart attack. He did not get to see his grandchildren reach school, let alone be there to see them graduate. If I did not make the start working out like I did recently I would be in a grave at a very young age. I have two amazing teenage boys that I want to see grow into men, and eventually give me grandchildren. In order to prevent my early demise, I have started to work out. I do several different things each week in order to improve my health; I go to the high school and walk 2-3 miles three times a week, I run a mile each week , I do the biggest loser workout three times a week, and I go to the gym another three times. So far I have lost about twenty pounds and have a long way to go. I have several goals for myself over the next two years; I want to lose an additional 136 pounds, I want to participate in the Columbus Half Marathon this October, and the full marathon the next year, and finally I want to be able to run a mile in under seven minutes. I am also focusing on physical fitness in order to be prepared for any emergency that may arise. When I was growing up I strongly believed in the Boy Scout motto and the belief that I need to keep myself mentally and physically prepared for whatever life may throw my way. I don’t care if it is a medical emergency, a financial crisis, or whatever else may happen to come up; I want to always be ready. I am getting into shape for another reason as well. While it seems like a difficult, if not impossible, goal at my age - I would like to join the Ohio Air National Guard. In order to do so I need to get my weight down to 225 pounds. It is a weight I have not been at since high school. I am looking at two different possible careers in the guard. I am interested in either getting trained with in security forces or as a crash fire rescue firefighter. Both of these are things that I have wanted to do in my life. I have let these goals go by the wayside by letting other peoples priorities override my own. I will no longer do that. All the work that I do is for myself and for my sons. Anyone else’s opinions do not matter to me at all.
As a single dad, I work double hard in the home. No matter how much work I do, there is always more to do. In “The Second Shift” Hochschild writes “Adding the time it takes to do a full time job and doing housework and childcare … I found that women work roughly 15 more hours each week than men” (416). I have the extra labor of housework, and raising my children without the benefit of a wife. There are always chores to do, carpools to coordinate or drive, dinner to cook, or just time to spend with the boys. Thankfully, my children do help out by doing household chores. While they may not do the greatest of jobs it takes a great weight of my shoulders to have them help out. It also helps me teach them the responsibility that they will need to succeed on their own in a few short years. I do feel that my children sometimes get the short end of the stick when it comes to my schedule, but I try to incorporate them into my other activities as much as possible. I take them with me to work out, and I take my study breaks and spend time with them.
One of the biggest risks that I run with all the work that I do is burnout. I get very little time for myself and pursuing my own interests. With burnout, I risk overextending myself and running out of time. I also risk completely giving up on my goals. In the past I have burnt out several times in my attempts to lose weight. I will lose 10 or 15 pounds and then just either upset or depressed and begin eating again. Gaining back everything I lost and even more. In “Putting the life back into work-life balance for graduate students” King writes about avoiding burnout. “Slotting certain “off times” from school work is one way in which graduate students can maintain a balance between their work- and home-life roles. Building downtime into our schedules can allow us to enjoy time with our friends and family, work on our personal hobbies, and recharge.” I deliberately ensure that I have time off from my job at the same time as breaks from school so that I can get away and recharge. While I still have the responsibility of having my boys, getting away and spending the weekend swimming at a resort is an amazing way to refresh before starting another hectic semester. I know that if I do not make time for my friends and time for myself that I will never be able to meet the goals that I have set before myself.
I work at my job, at the gym, at school, and at home. I do it to make my children better people and to improve my position in life now. I work hard to ensure that each day is better than the last, and that I am improving as a person on a daily basis. I am doing these things with the goal of reaching the American Dream for myself and for my children. For me that is working in public safety again. Even when I am done with school, back in shape, and an empty nester, I desire to stay busy. My hope is to work as an accountant for a state law enforcement agency assisting with fraud investigations as my full time job. I would also like to volunteer my time as a public safety officer in a small community; serving as a police officer, firefighter, and emergency medical technician.
King, Aimee E., and Kelsey C. Herb. "Putting The "Life" Back Into Work--Life Balance For Graduate Students." TIP: The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist 49.4 (2012): 125-129.Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 July 2012.
Hochschild, Arlie. "Why We Work." The Blair Reader. Ed. Kirszinger, Laurie G. and Ed. Madell, Stephen R.7th. Boston: Prentice Hall, 2011. 416. Print.