All Things to All Men

I have three jobs.

How many times is she going to mention that. Seriously, we get it, you work hard. Man.

I have three very different jobs. I am a DPS Student Service Division Leader 12 hours per week (but really it’s 24/7). I am a HR Professional Development intern 8 hours per week. I am a Brainrush Learning content intern 8 hours per week. Oh, and then I’m a student with all my free time. Lately I have been shocked by the different environments of the different places.

At DPS, there’s a wall-sized, plasma screen TV in the briefing room, and it seems like the only channels it is capable of showing are ESPN, Comedy Central, and some weird old movies. There’s always free food and free coffee and free rides to and from anywhere on campus. We have a jar of sour patch kids in the office that is emptied every night by the graveyard shift. Aside from all of the shenanigans, confidentiality is a huge thing. Whenever I screw up (I know, you are surprised, but it happens), it’s kind of a big deal, because I’ve broken policy, or let someone die, or something like that. Our lunchtime conversations frequently consist of heated debates over the best way to enter a room where an active shooter is located (and that’s actually completely relevant). Other times, everyone enjoys berating my lack of culture because I have missed out on so many Will Ferrell movies (that’s actually not so relevant).

At HR, I have a cubicle. It’s a nice cubicle. I have a huge mac to work on, and I don’t have middle aged men interrupting my silence with their lunch breaks or reports. I sit there at that cubicle and I do research. For eight hours. I don’t really interact with the other interns, or with the full-time employees, except for my boss. They’re all really wonderful, but we all have work to do. And it’s a bit more disruptive and off-topic to discuss active shooter scenarios in a cubicle. Sure, we have a breakroom, but there’s no TV, and we share the room with other departments. In fact, if I’m careless, I could accidentally lock myself out of HR if I don’t prop the door open as I enter the breakroom. Let’s just say that I’m often careless. Also, it is a major sin to use the wrong department’s coffee pot. Seriously, office foul.

At Brainrush, we share a big open space. Throughout the course of a day, I may switch between the fatboy, the regular chair, standing, the couch, the exercise ball, and the new stair stepper-desk combo.

 

I made the mistake of wearing a pencil skirt to work on my first day, and then I realized that my two supervisors were both wearing yoga pants. We have a kitchen, but we don’t have a break room, because the whole place is an open area meant for creativity. Apparently we have a ping-pong table and a meditation area too, but I haven’t ventured into those sections of the suite yet. Last week, I took two hours off and went and got a haircut and then came back. In contrast to DPS, this job is virtually all female. I love our morning coffee breaks where we all leave and walk to the hipster coffee shop. The walk there is a miscellaneous conversation about what happened over the weekend and how everyone’s dogs are doing, the way back consists of soul searching dialogue, along with a general expression of grief that the GOOD barista wasn’t on staff, and agreement that the lattes would be much better this morning if he had been, and that we didn’t even get pretty hearts on the tops of our coffees.

At DPS, I wear business casual clothes, or my DPS uniform. At HR, I wear pencil skirts and blouses. At Brainrush, I wear pretty much anything but a DPS uniform or a business outfit. My role—from my attitude, to my volume, to my outfit—varies from job to job. I can’t be the same person in every job. Throwing delineations, writing tickets, and training new SSOs isn’t a job for a follower, but my other jobs require a lot of following and question asking. In one role I am teaching, in the others, I am learning. Some jobs are more creativity focused, some are more confidentiality focused.

I may be different at the different jobs, but I am hard working in all of them. Maybe hard working means literally sweating, if I have to walk up and down the hills of Malibu. Maybe it means doing research until my brain goes numb, or cutting audio files for eight hours. No matter the clothes I am in, I clothe myself in the same character at each place. I conform to the company culture while maintaining my core values and essence.

Paul said he was, “all things to all men.” I want to be all things to all men. I think I know how to be that way when it comes to jobs; I know how to be malleable to new norms, while keeping what matters constant. But on a broader scale, I think it’s hard to do. It’s hard for me to separate my culture from my core beliefs. It’s like when you take your Beaver Nuggets to the beach (yes, I have done this before). Inevitably, You set your brand new bag of Beaver Nuggets on your towel, and the instant the seal is broken, the sand migrates in and mingles with the Nuggets of Beaver, and you have a new crunch in your snack. You aren’t ever getting that sand out of the Beaver Nuggets now. You’re gonna end up eating a bag full of sand. Nice going. That’s how I feel about my socialization. I feel like it will be virtually impossible for me to separate my socialization, my cultural upbringing, from the truth. My mom made sure to teach me a lot of truth growing up. She tried her best to ground me in God’s word. But along the way, she probably taught me some of her own thoughts and fears too. And despite her best efforts, I watched some TV. I went to school. You get the picture.

I think college makes you realize just how much you were brainwashed as a kid. But that’s where I think a lot of college students get it wrong. Yeah, it’d be easy to get the sand out of the bag if I were to just dump all of those lustrous Beaver Nuggets out onto the ground and feed them to the seagulls. But that would be a waste of a perfectly good bag of Beaver Nuggets. Have you figured out yet that I am just really enjoying writing the phrase Beaver Nugget? Anyway. That’s not what I want to do. There is no sense in throwing all the good things I have learned away, so that instead of having some biased beliefs and some good beliefs, I can just have no beliefs. That’s a waste. But it’s so hard to get the sand out of the bag.

Why worry about the sand? you ask. Well, for one, if the FDA were a thing that was in existence right now (shutdown, LAWL), I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be letting Beaver Nuggets with Sand: Limited Edition pass. No, I don’t want to eat sand, I want to eat food. Eating sand is like eating beach dirt. Beach dirt that a bunch of fish and birds pooped and died in. But more importantly than that, I don’t want to be bogged down by these beliefs that don’t matter because they could limit me from seeing everyone that Jesus would have me touch with His love. That happened a lot with his apostles at first: they didn’t want to let children bother Jesus, they couldn’t understand what he meant about dying, and they certainly didn’t intend on sharing the Kingdom of Heaven with those dirty gentiles. And I don’t want that. Christ is supposed to live in me, and there isn’t room for Him if I am holding on to prejudices, preferences, or biases. And hey, I’m always going to have some personal beliefs. I’m always going to know that the Beavers (not the Nugget variety) are better than the Ducks, despite what the record might say. But I shouldn’t let those beliefs get in between myself and someone else. None of it matters, except Christ’s truth. And I shouldn’t let any of my personal beliefs get in between other people and Christ’s truth. So currently, I’m a Security Development Learning Content employee. I’m am Oregonian Floridian Californian Christian. And I hope some day to be much more open than that.

Sorry, this was wordy. I feel like I just barfed up a bunch of words. Or Beaver Nuggets.

Peace, Love, and Shoes, y’all.

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