Wind Shears

WIND SHEAR, a sudden, drastic change in wind direction or speed over a comparatively short distance. Most winds travel horizontally, as does most wind shear, but under certain conditions, including thunderstorms and strong frontal systems, wind shear will travel in a vertical direction. Microburst wind shear is an extremely violent downward blast of air that hits the earth and radiates outward. With its sharp shifts in wind direction and relative wind speed, it can cause an aircraft to lose lift and crash, especially during takeoff or landing, when the slower speeds and closeness to the ground make altitude correction more difficult. (

I am 36 and have recently gotten off the academic track that I was on for the last eight years. So I took a job as an Office Manager at a non-profit that is doing good things. Despite the fact that I have a history of bouncing back and forth between academia and non-profit office managing. This time would be different, I told myself. This time, I would be able to do the job and leave it behind, set boundaries, make it manageable.

Umm, not quite.

Patterns are the source of life and the source of strife and I backed down from breaking this particular pattern and have been, contrary to how I have presented myself, rather unhappy with this job. Ok, so feeling sick every day that I went to work. Patterns can be incredibly constructive and bring about emergent properties like intelligence, but they can also be traps, grooves worn into our psyches that keep us from freely ranging through our options and our desires. Do I want a career as an office manager/general manager for non-profits like I talked about back in October when I was applying for this job? No.

So what do you want to do when you grow up?

Good question, and one that I can’t quite answer beyond a very generalized “make stuff.” Ok, I can give some more particulars: I want to make plays and music, make ideas into actualities, thoughts into acts of communications, dreams into stories. I want to sound design more theatre because manipulating music and sound is one of the things that I most love doing. I want to write stories and see them on tv and in film. I want to direct plays and possibly direct movies. I want to start a business that serves a purpose. Most of all, I want to face the fears that have kept me from truly shaping my life into the shape that I want, not the shape that seems sensible or safe or that would please other people.

The ride might be bumpy, but I promise, things are about to get a damn sight more interesting.

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On this day..

One thought on “Wind Shears

  1. I’m not quite sure what you’re on about here, mate, but I can tell you (from very painful personal experience), that when I left the Ivory Tower and entered the Real World, I hated it…I hated everything about it…the people were dumb, they didn’t think like my academic friends and colleagues, they didn’t talk like them, they didn’t write or read or breathe like them. I hated them all, all I could dream about was returning to the soft, warm bosom of academia. Yet, I continued temping and looking for “meaningful work.”

    As you know, it’s been about 5 years, and I have a “real job” in the Real World, and haven’t returned to the Ivory Tower. It was really hard to stick it out for a while, but perseverance paid off. I went from temping, which ate my soul, to my current job, which is a little better, to my interview this week for a potentially cool job. Hopefully, that one will either be great or just less shitty the current one.

    The point is, that from my 5 year vantage point, I have realized that for people like you and me, academia is as powerful as opium, heroin, cocaine, or any other strong drug. Folks like us have spent the better part of our lives in school, and for some that’s all they need–the intellectual pursuit, the theoretical stimulation that classes offer. You and I want more tangables rewards for our intellectual struggles: for you it’s seeing your art come to life, for me it’s going to bed secure in the knowledge that I’ve positively affected a person’s life…you don’t get it from office management, and I don’t get it from civil service. That is why the draw of academia lingers…it’s the effects of the academic drug. But the longer you’re away from it, the more you drink the methadone of the Real World, the easier it is to stay away from it…it’s like weening yourself from any drug.

    The whole point is, I personally feel that going back to school isn’t necessarily the solution, and I don’t think that that is what you’re lementing about here. It’s that your first job out of school sucks. And it does. Not just for you, but for everyone. I think that first job right out of school (especially when you leave before earning your degree) is the hardest because you still have the academic attitude…you need to stick with it and eventually the academic in you will learn that it needs to be tempered. Once this happens, it makes working life a little easier. Once that happens, it makes finding that second job a little easier. Once that happens, it makes the third job a little more pleasant.

    Ok, I didin’t mean to ramble so much in a reply, but there you go.

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