Thursday, April 5, 2012

The View

No, not that estrogen-laden talk show.
I was thinking about my job and what I do for a living. It is an unglamorous position in an unglamorous profession. Specifically I am a transit planner. I determine where buses go. And here in Orlando, that consists of 230 buses on 65 routes serving 95 thousand people a day. It is intricate work, much like a large crossword puzzle where the ‘Across’ and ‘Down’ words intersect at key points, except instead of words it’s buses.
There is a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ work in making a transit system run efficiently. On the surface it seems pretty straightforward – you see a bus going down a street picking up people. You might think, looks easy. Well, when planned properly, it is. But couple the detail of writing bus schedules, making sure the Across and Downs intersect at the right places, then couple that with the road network in Orlando and the insane traffic we have here, and it is a constant struggle to get it right.
In fact, you never really do get it right. There’s just degrees of wrong.
So my job is to minimize the wrong – to get printed bus schedules to reflect real-time, daily-changing variables. For example, a bus operator once asked me, “Do your schedules take into account getting caught by a train?”
No. They don’t. If you get caught by a train then you will run late.
“What about when the Orlando Magic are playing at the Amway? Do you adjust the schedules?”
No. We don’t. If Dwight Howard is pouring in 33 points then you will run late.
So to summarize, this is not a job that most kids grow up aspiring to have. And to be fair, I like what I do, and to quote my mother, I am pretty damn good at it. The pay isn’t bad and the people I work with are, for the most part, a pretty good bunch.
But if you’re sensing a lack of passion for my profession, you would not be incorrect.
So why do I do it?
Well, for one, because this is what I chose to do, and I am now 53. A second career really isn’t in the offing, especially since retirement is (hopefully) just 12 years down the road. But there is one thing I absolutely love about my job, and for some it may seem trivial, but it is really what motivates me.
It’s my office.
I have an awesome office. It is on the top floor of the LYNX Building in downtown Orlando with ceiling-to-floor windows looking westward over Interstate 4. I can look to the southwest and see Disney in the distance. To the north I can see all the way to Seminole County. Looking south I see the skyline of downtown. I can hear the I-4 traffic humming below. It is a fairly roomy office with room for a little circular meeting table and shelves with mementos of my real passions – my son, golf, and the Cleveland Browns.
As I mentioned, some may consider this trivial. I so disagree. It really means everything. I have worked in cubicles. I have worked in a large room with twenty other people. I have had offices with four walls and no windows. I’ve had jobs with no office. My current office beats them all…by a mile. It is the best office I have ever had.
Look, work is where you spend 40 hours a week (at least) at. That’s twenty-five percent of a week. You actually spend more of your waking hours at work than elsewhere, including home. And the environment you are placed in matters. A lot. Cubicles are soul-sucking constructs of supposed efficiency. But an office with windows – 60 feet in the air? That’s damn-near nirvana, Bubba. Especially for what I do.
So, to take it back to the top – why do I do this?
Because I love my office.

1 comment:

Just Me said...

It is a cool office. I like mine a lot too!