My mother once said I was predictably unpredictable. I would argue that I’m simply consistently inconsistent. Some of you may have noticed that I’ve “rebooted” my LinkedIn account. Those who know me well aren’t the least bit surprised. This seems to my M.O.: I’ll think long and hard about taking an action, consider all the pros and cons, and after considerable debates with me, myself, and I, make a decision and announce it to the world. Then, within a short period of time, I will flipflop. I will discover some reason, some argument that I had somehow overlooked, and come to regret what now seems to be an ill-informed decision.
Well. So it goes.
I try to simplify my life, but life simply isn’t simple.
And I really can’t complain about that. As an older yogi friend of mine said, after asking him how he was feeling: “Well, I’m still vertical and sucking air.” True dat. Still, I get annoyed with myself for being what I perceive as inconsistent. That said, while filling in all my employment and education history (I had deleted my previous account and obviously all the data that went with it), I saw a lot of consistency.
I’ve been working for the same state government for 15 years and have progressively gained more experience in working with, what we in the biz call, “large administrative data sets.” Your birth certificate data sets, your hospital discharge data sets. These files of millions of records that were never designed for research, never meant to “communicate” with each other. But I make them talk, in a manner of speaking. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m no magician or even expert when it comes to this kind of work. I was (and still am to a degree) part of a team of highly skilled epidemiologists and public health experts. Working with data like this is like working on a massive jigsaw puzzle that was designed by different people for different reasons. Not all the pieces are going to fit. Some may even be missing. The fun is in finding those pieces that will fit, and the reward is in knowing that the completed puzzle, even with its missing pieces, will be used to understand health behaviors and, ideally, improve health outcomes.
The true benefit of deleting and then resurrecting my LinkedIn account is my realization that this part of my life is still pretty important to me. Of course, if I could afford to live off my writing, I would. I’m not a fool. But since I have to have a day job, I’m glad it’s in a field that seeks to make a positive difference in the world. A colleague recently said to me, “I just want to be where I can do the most good.” I know some if not many people think government employees are slackers at best, parasites at worst.
Well, hello there, dear Reader. My name is Marie and I am a state government employee. What motivates me in my work is not my salary, not even my benefits (although I truly appreciate having them). My motivation is in being “where I can do the most good.” And I know, in this case, I am very, very lucky.
And now for something different.
Yes, a tree and not a cat! This photo was taken a few years ago when I was visiting my childhood home. There’s a wonderful footpath through the woods and past the cornfields near my old house. The photo doesn’t do justice to the wonderful late afternoon light which made the leaves of this tree glow. Soon, I’ll be making another trip to this area. I’ve plan for a couple of posts while I’m gone, but comments will be off since my access to the internet will be intermittent at best.
But you know, dear Reader, I’m always with you in spirit.
Marie A Bailey
Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.