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I don’t usually write about work, but…

February 8, 2010

I have a new office.

It is much like my old office in that it is the same size and shape and is situated on the same floor of the same building I worked in before.

But the windows of my new office look north, so the light and view are quite different. A bit of a fresh start.

In fact, it is one. Because I also have a new job, much like the job I had before. (I was directing a University-based program that helps students get to college. Now I’m doing the same thing with a different batch of students.)

My husband does this same job for a different campus. And my sister and I were in this very program when we were in high school. You can see how the line between “go to work” and “life at home” can be blurry.

(Speaking of: Motherese is hosting a lively discussion about work – or not to work – and how we might more gently navigate the many different answers to that question).

When D and I were dating, we had live-in jobs for a program that taught job and learning skills to teens at risk of becoming high school dropouts.  We worked long hours and had little free time. We felt exhausted, purposeful and unspoiled — and hooked.

The following summer, a week after our wedding, we moved into a campus apartment to lead another camp. We were the program parents for two years, and then we left for grad school. I studied journalism and he studied social work; he read my stories and I edited his papers and grant proposals. In the summer we returned to Arkansas, where he embarked our adventures in home renovation and I went back to work for the program by myself. Within a year we had earned another set of degrees and were back at our alma mater working full-time for college prep programs, commuting to the same building.

Now we both direct Upward Bound programs at schools 70 miles apart, then return home every day to a point roughly in the middle. We have the same job, and it’s still the most distance our personal and professional have ever had.

During our nightly “How was your day?” over-dinner talk, I have a feeling he sometimes wishes my opinions were a little less informed. But I like that despite our commutes in opposite directions, we end up in almost the same place.

I meet many people who say “I could NEVER work with my spouse.”

But they do, of course, every day. (And not only if they happen to be building a house after-hours.)

In parenting, cleaning, cooking and budgeting, we’re colleagues. We work on our house; we work on our marriage; we share the ups and downs. So when one day I commute for the last time (a day always in my hopes but also in my apprehensions), I’ll be glad to have at least one co-worker.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. crnnoel permalink
    February 9, 2010 1:08 am

    I love the little blue bird… so sweet and peaceful…

  2. February 9, 2010 4:19 pm

    How awesome to have a window (LOL!). You are so right when it comes to spouses, you have to work on so much together all the time!

  3. February 9, 2010 6:58 pm

    I love both the elegant simplicity of your new office, and the elegant simplicity of this post. In the conversations about work and parenting, the idea of co-working and co-parenting with one’s partner doesn’t come up often enough. I love that your “how was your day?” talk can be informed by shared experience both personal and professional. Too often I wonder if Husband and I are tuning each other out when talk turns to a domain clearly dominated by one or the other.

    Thanks for this post – and for the linky love!

  4. Nikki permalink
    February 10, 2010 4:08 pm

    What a lovely post, Leslie. Congratulations on your “new” job!

  5. February 11, 2010 11:15 pm

    I love love love this. Especially the part about your informed opinions. Reminds me of the conversations my husband and me have about his job.

    Love your office. And the new light. And the blue bird. And love most of all that you go off to your jobs in different directions and meet back home in (roughly) the middle. (I even love that it’s “roughly,” because if it were “exactly” it wouldn’t be just right.)

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  1. On being a) away at summer camp and b) a lousy penpal « Five to Nine

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