Robert Kirby is on vacation. This is a reprint of an earlier column.
Forget your college degrees, blue-collar know-how and family business connections.
There are only three kinds of jobs, all of them defined by just one thing: vacation.
Not just going on vacation. All people occasionally need to take time off from work, if nothing more than to remember that they have families. The real qualifier of a job is coming home from vacation.
First, there is the job you can't wait to get home to. Vacation was nice and the kids had fun, but truthfully it was just a distraction that took you away from what you would really rather be doing.
This sounds like the perfect job. It would be, if the people with these kinds of jobs didn't end up divorced a lot or on medication to regulate a serious personality flaw.
Then there's the possibility that the job you are so eager to get back to also happens to involve other people who don't want you to come home. Maybe it's because they work for you. If it's because you work for them, you're in a lot of trouble.
Next is the job you don't want to come home to. Vacation is certainly nice but, let's face it, sometimes vacations are a lot more work than work. I've crawled home broke and maimed from these.
Only a fool wants to stop having fun, so a certain reluctance to head back to the grind is understandable. But what we're talking about here runs much deeper.
I remember the first time I hated coming back to the police department from a trip to Canada. Blew my mind. Being a cop was what I had always wanted to do. Heck, it was all my family knew how to do. Why wouldn't I want to go back?
There I was driving south and dreading going back to something I worked hard to become. I wanted to stay gone.
If not on vacation, then doing something anything else.
That was my first inkling that I had a bad job. Not a job that didn't need doing, mind you, but rather a job that didn't need doing by me.
I can't prove it, but I bet that most career changes, indeed most letters of resignation, are begun in the waning days of a vacation. Although it took years before I found something else to do, I started writing that one on the way home from Canada.
The best kind of job is one that suits you so well that you don't mind going back to it. Sure, it was fun fishing or skiing or whatever, but now it's time to head back and do what you also enjoy: work.
As we got on the plane to come home, I wanted my wife to know where I was mentally with going back to work. She's had to live through the jobs I couldn't wait to get back to and the ones I hated. I told her that I had a good job.
"Yes, you do," she replied. "An idiot hired to provoke other idiots. It's perfect."
OK, there are four kinds of vacations. The fourth kind is called a separate vacation.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.