13 January 2006

Working for the Man.

"nepotism: (n) favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship"
-Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

The man that I'm referring to, of course, is my father. That's right, nepotism at its best. It is Friday the thirteenth, a huge surge of severe weather is about to hit Atlanta, and I am answering phones and running plans at my father's civil engineering firm. Actually, it is probably the last day that I'll work for him. I was going to work next week up until I leave for the pristine shores of Denmark, but I took a notion the other day that this might be my last time sheet turned in--and the more I think about it, the more it sounds like a good idea.

It's not that the job was particularly painful. In fact, it was fairly enjoyable as jobs go. Flexible hours, not a whole lot of interaction with people I'm not hugely fond of--pretty sweet deal. What's the problem? I'm working for my dad. Granted he's a good boss, and I am extremely thankful to have a job during my extended stay at home. Not to mention he came through for me after I had submitted at least a dozen applications to various stores from JC Pennies to Lowes and the Family Christian Bookstore. I just started the process too late. Everyone had already hired for the holidays, and some stores weren't even going to begin processing applications till after the new year.

Anyway, the problem with working for your dad, particularly when he's the boss, is that not only are you Terry's son, but you are Terry (the boss)'s son. One completely looses his identity. I'm not Jon. I'm Terry's son. What's more, I'm the boss's kid--so be careful what you say around me! Yes, that's right, working for dad is one more way that my attempts to liberate myself from my parents have been foiled again. That is not to say I want to be disassociated from them; but rather, I'd rather not be obligated to follow their rules anymore than I already have to. I don't call that mean, I call it growing up.

As I was waiting on the phone to ring, I was working on an essay for a scholarship I'm applying for. The topic surrounds my core theological commitments. As if identifying those was not hard enough, I have to explain "the ways in which they [the commitments] shape his or her exploration of vocation"--in three pages...doubled spaced. You might be thinking, "come on, jon, that's easy." Right. Check. You try. We aren't talking about pleasant notions like hope and joy or peace. Those are fine and dandy, but what I felt like I was searching for was beyond that. Those words are nice, but what lives beyond them? Where do those words spring from? Where do we find the emotions and ideas to take us to a place where God mingles with us? What are the most basic ideas that I cling to that are formative to my faith and foundational to the way I view the world?

As I wrote my response for this essay, I kept searching for answers. All I found were questions. I'm sure it sounds cliche', but questions kept answering questions--all of them summing up in one omnipresent concern. How will I use Copenhagen (the people, experiences, etc) to help me make these commitments come to life? How will I realize grace, justice and reconciliation?


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