Category Archives: Marriage Transformation Internship

The Average Working Woman

Every day that I go to my place of employment, I wake up as early as 7:30 a.m and as late at 8:25. I shower, I get dressed, I pack my lunch and I eat breakfast. I make sure my car has gas and I make sure my cellphone is charged. I get in my car and I turn on the radio.

If I leave early enough, I run into town and swing by Caribou Coffee to pick up a small dark roast of the day – if I’m lucky, Obsidian. The baristas start to recognize my face as the daily twenty seconds I spend in the store start to accumulate. Coffee hot and black and change now jingling in my pocket, I get back in my car.

I slide my little Honda onto the freeway, grumbling about traffic and the man in front of me who has had his right signal on since we left the side streets. I nudge the volume knob up on my radio and allow the chattering of talk shows to crackle my speakers and turn into white noise. My foot plays the gas pedal like a mad organ, edging up past the speed limit to try and beat the clock. Some days I slow for traffic, some days the freeway is clear. I tap my hand on the wheel to the occasional song that breaks the mundane broadcast gossip.

I know the way to the office with my eyes closed, and make my lane changes and exits accordingly. I avoid the j-walkers and mind the stop lights as I barrel down Euclid Avenue in attempt to make it before 9:30. I know my boss doesn’t mind a few minutes off schedule, but I don’t want to make a bad impression. I want to get the day started.

I’ve scalded my tongue on the hot coffee, put my lunchbox in the fridge, settled into my squeaky rolling chair and watched the wasps wriggle their way into the third floor screen. My computer flickers to life and I sort out my to-do list. We choose and discuss a character quality of the day – zeal, forbearance, appreciation. The day has begun for this average working woman.

I fit the description, but I am far from average.

I can be a working American woman without digging for equality and rallying for acclaim and standing on a feminist soapbox.

I love my job.

I perform basic tasks like printing shipping labels, packaging books and forwarding an article for editing. I play with my gifts by designing a cover for a new marriage module in Photoshop. I learn how to advertise an entire conference in 140 characters or less. I configure the FTP settings of Dreamweaver. I understand the base differences between the Baha’i faith and my own Christian belief. I can pinpoint my character strengths and acknowledge my weaknesses.  I think of my significant other.

I love my work. I go to the office every day anticipating what I might accomplish without ever expecting recognition or excessive praise or wishing for an early day. I work hard and do my best without any incentive, except for the thought that I’m doing a good job for someone who needs me. Yes, I’m being paid, but it’s not the first thing that occurs to me. I’m here to do what I set out to do, and the payment is just a happy plus. I’m doing what I love, and even when I’m called upon to sludge through mundane or frustrating or complicated tasks, I perceive them as challenges and I jump in with both feet. My boss is just another passionate citizen with a brilliant idea for how to make lives better. We are not necessary for survival, but we need each other.

We break for lunch and discuss faith, relationships, silly stories from the weekend and philosophical questions to mull over while munching on a turkey-and-ranch spring salad.  We comment on the wildlife and try and catch a glimpse of Lake Erie through lush maple trees. We share thoughts about life, love and the business. We comment on the weather. Afterwards, we banter back and forth between the offices. We laugh about our compulsive editing wars and the absurdities of some assignments. We cut each other slack. We focus on character.

Every day, I finish my work. Even if I didn’t complete all the tasks on my list, I know that there will be tomorrow. I know I did accomplish much, even if that “much” only covered one or two things. I leave the office just as enthusiastically as I came, because I know I did my work well and I enjoyed it all. I back out of the drive, turn up the radio and sing along at the top of my lungs to the afternoon commercial free hours. I maneuver through lazy drivers on their way home from a hundred different places. I’m one of them, just trying to find my way to my exit.

My coffee is finished and the last drops are cold. My lunchbox is empty. My car needs more gas.

The average working person (and woman) focuses on these things. These things and her paycheck.

These are the least of my worries as I cruise along the highway home.

I have the opportunity to experience, for the first real time in my life, what it means to be the average working woman.
In a sense, I’m a corporate chameleon, putting on the mental suit of a frenzied businesswoman while just happily blending in to a crowd that’s lost the purpose of this trek. For them it’s survival, it’s the norm, it’s what needs to be done.

There has always been the idea of the average working woman.

The difference, however, is that I strive to make this so much more than average.
I make this my own.