“I got the job!”, I’m happily screaming into the phone.
Silence at the other end of the line. Then I can hear my Mum taking a deep breath.
“Are you sure about this?”, she asks. Which translates into “I really think you shouldn’t do this” in my Mum-daughter-dictionary.
We’ve talked about this before. Ever since this new job opportunity has arisen about 2 weeks ago.
“Yes, I am”, I’m saying with as much confidence I can put into my words.
“Weren’t you the one telling me to look for something else in the long run?”, I add.
“Well… yes. But…”
“What?” Suddenly all the happiness is gone.
“Maybe you should wait a little longer. Search for a better opportunity.”
“Who guarantees me there will be a better opportunity? This is a huge chance for me. And chances are there to be taken.”
“I know. But what about your surgery. Did you tell them you’re going to need another one.”
“No, I haven’t.” Deep breaths. Deeeeep breaths. She only means well.
“I think you should have.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll tell them.”
“Why didn’t you tell them during the interview?”
“Oh, sure. I should’ve said: Hello, I’m Nic Maybe. Nice to meet you. And by the way, my butt is going to need surgery some time later this year. Just thought you should know.” I can’t help but laughing. Hysterically.
“What if something goes wrong with the surgery.”
“Mum, I’ve been through this two times already. And everytime I didn’t miss more than 4 days of work – even though they wanted me to stay home for 2 weeks. Everything will be fine.”
“What if it won’t and you’ll get fired.”
“What if I get run over by a truck on the way to work? What if a meteor decides to make it’s way down to earth and lands on my head?” This is really starting to piss me off.
There’s an angry silence lingering in the air.
“I’m just worried about you”, my Mum finally says.
“I know. But there really is no reason to be. Can’t you just trust in me once?”
“I know that I have to let you make your own choices. Sometimes when you’re young, you’re making decisions you will later regret. It’s an experience you have to make. So I’ll let you do what you think is right.”
I have nothing to say to that. I’m just sitting there with my mouth wide open.
I used to be scared of changes. I hated them. Because it meant that things would never be the same. Changes came with an unpredictable risk. They could turn into something good. But what if they didn’t? What if it meant that things got worse? Wouldn’t it be better if everything just stayed the same? Even if I would never know what the change would have brought?
I grew up with the notion that safety and consistency are the most important things in life. A safe job, always enough money in the bank, a lovely home. I’m pretty sure that’s something we all want. And I totally get that my parents raised me that way. Their parents had survived wars and depression. What they had gone through goes further than anything I can imagine. So for them and their children safety and consistency were like paradise. Even if it meant missing out on opportunities that might have changed their lives forever. So for example, my Mum did not go to Africa to do humanitarian work as a nurse. Instead, she got married to my Dad and had 2 children. And I’m thankful for that because otherwise neither me nor my sister would exist. But from time to time I can’t help but think about what my Mum’s life would have been like if she had taken that risk. What kind of person would she be today? Would she still have children, maybe with another man? And how would she have raised them?
Considering this, you might think that changing a job shouldn’t be that big a deal. Even for my parents. But for them it means that I’m putting myself into unknown territory that holds threats around every corner. I might get fired before the probation period is over. I might not get along with my workmates. I might not like the tasks I’ll be given. I might end up regretting to have changed jobs. There are a million things that might go wrong which is the reason why my parents have been working for the same employer since they were 17. But aren’t these uncertainties the exciting part about changes? Not knowing what is going to happen, How this is going to change my life. And isn’t the best part about all this that it is all lying in my very own hands? I decide where this change is going to take me. And I will make the best of it, even if it turns out to be a mistake – which I highly doubt.
After all it’s just a job. My Mum should be glad that I am, too, having a certain need for safety. Otherwise, I would be living the life of a vagabond travelling the world with no job, no money in the bank and no home.
P. S.: I’ve recently seen a brilliant movie that fits the theme of how decisions can have a huge influence on the way your life might turn out – no matter how small they are: Mr. Nobody. Check it out.