Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sustainability and employment

So a couple of weeks ago I saw a classified ad, looking for a person to run the local college's sustainability resource office.  The job description was a bit vague as the center just received a grant to get it started, but the job qualifications -- teaching experience, a passion about sustainability, sounded like me.

The best part is that it was only 10 hours a week, which would mean I would not have to stop working at the winery.

Sounds perfect right?  Well, cutting a long story into a short one in the spirit of word conservation, I got offered the job after interviewing for it on Tuesday and said I'd think on it.  But on Friday, I sent an email thanking them, but turning them down.

And why, you ask?  Because the sustainability job was simply not sustainable -- for me and my life, anyway.

My homesteading job offers pleasant co-workers

For me, this is progress, because when choosing not to take the job, I did something I never used to do when I was younger -- I looked down the road at the long-range scenario, fitting my life in with the job.  The job, done right, would expand, as more and more schools were served under the program.  Right now it might be 10 hours and less than a 100 miles of driving a week, but if I did my job well, within a year or two it would expand -- to 20 or 30 hours a week, and a lot more driving to various cities each week (most of which I would not be compensated for).

In other words, for me, my job would basically be this: to be successful enough that I could no longer work all the hours the job required, unless my ultimate goal was seeking regular, almost full-time employment.

An office with a view

In our family, Big Ag already has the Big Career/full-time job in the family.  His job provides our benefits, the truck he drives and the gas it takes to drive it.  He's well compensated.  And because of that, we are able to have me here, taking care of our own crops, our own livestock, and running things on the home front.  Remember, we homestead, which means I make a lot of what others buy in the supermarket like soap, laundry detergent, etc. It all takes time.

I was blessed to find my job at the winery, which has completely flexible hours, great pay (actually more than what the other job was offering) and is just a couple of miles down the road, meaning I spend almost nothing on gas. That, to me is sustainability. In my own life.

And a decent compensation package.

So while I was flattered to have been offered the job, for me it was a little like being proposed to by the wrong guy ... a man who will make someone a great husband, but not me.

I guess what it comes down to is whether I want to teach about sustainability, or live it myself.  Sometimes you have to choose.  

This is my choice.


  1. And how many other jobs allow and sometimes encourage drinking on the job?
    Congratulations. How wonderful that you were offered the job. I'm so glad you didn't take it. Not only would it mean less blog for me to read but inevitably I'm sure it would make the pleasure-in-work of your life so much harder.

  2. Aw thank you so much, yes, that job would have meant less blogging, less free time, and less time to do what I need to do. I think it's really all about balance. Work can be like a game of Blackjack, and you have to know when to hold onto the cards you have and NOT say, "hit me again," lest you add on too much and ruin the whole game. I have been guilty my whole life of doing too much, and I'm finally learning to say "no." Took a long time though.