Lights and Display Contest

November 18, 2022

When I was a kid, I thought that my town kept to a rigid schedule – one I could never hope to understand as a mere civilian. The idea that workers put up our Christmas lights whenever they felt like it was blasphemy. That illusion was finally broken for me this week, though not in an unwelcome way.

It was the morning of the first real snow, more than a week before Thanksgiving. At some point between when I set out for the post office and when I left to go back home, the village employees had decided to put up our Christmas decorations. I returned to a scene of snowflakes and stars being hoisted onto light poles.

Of course, I don’t know that this decision was based on the weather. But it’s something I can see myself doing (and have already done with a few of my own decorations). It seems that the factors of wanting to decorate and having a reason to do so converged on this day. In any case, it’s nice that the workers take pride in the town’s appearance.

I’ve been thinking a lot about taking pride in one’s work since my most recent job interview. This was a position that I wouldn’t have considered five years ago, simply because it didn’t match up with my major. But as I’ve worked in more places, I’ve both diversified my skill set and learned that being in my field of study doesn’t automatically make for a good job. In applying for this one, I hoped to play a role that would help other people do their jobs more effectively.

As with the snowflakes, it was a convergence of my desire to be helpful with the opportunity to do so. I wouldn’t expect any job to be perfect, but this one checked a lot of boxes. And like the folks who put up the snowflakes, I felt uniquely suited to make my community a better place. I didn’t get the job — but I showed up with my decorations and winter coat anyway.

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