I work part-time as a night auditor for a small hotel in New Jersey. It requires that I work from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., during which time I am responsible for completing the day’s audit and for watching the front desk. After 12:30, I am usually the only employee on the entire hotel property. I can usually keep myself awake by checking my email a half dozen times, by checking on my fantasy baseball team every hour and by playing Age of Empires II (with the Conquerors Expansion Pack) for about four hours straight. The work actually only takes about two and a half hours to complete, after which I find something to do that will keep me awake until the morning staff comes in at 7.
Some nights I get so bored I start walking around in the back office practicing my speaking, occasionally stopping in front of the mirror to get a glimpse of myself. Sometimes I think I’m small. Other times I look big.
Some nights I try reading. One memorable book was The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. I can only read for a few hours and if it’s before 3 because reading makes me very tired after a while.
I very rarely get human contact. In the hours from 12 to 5, I don’t want any humans to walk through the front door. First, because I’m very tired. Second, because there are scary people out there—both violent and loco.
The time goes by fast, though, if I watch a movie on my laptop or play a video game. Two movies or one video game will do the trick, and before I know it, my shift is done. It is sad, though, when I think about it. I feel as though my entire existence is to pass the time—just to make it to 7. There is no real point to my work—I simply run computer programs that complete the audit for me. And I get paid mostly to conquer the world in Age of Empires II. I’m not complaining I guess, just observing.
Recently I’ve been wanting a job that puts me in the thicket of human contact, a place and an opportunity where I can make an impact on the world and on the people with whom I work. But then when I think about it, I don’t think I’m very good with humans. I rarely understand them. I have a hard time communicating with them. Sometimes I don’t even feel like one of them.
And yet I want to be involved with them. How strange. Sometimes I think I’m more of an alone person, a one person, which makes me think working as a night auditor would be a good job for me. Actually, it’s pretty horrible. The human body was not meant to be awake at night and go to sleep during the day. I’ve been trying for the past two years to get used to it, and it’s still very strange to me.
Working as a night auditor is very lonely. You don’t see anybody when you’re awake. You don’t see anybody when you’re sleeping. The only time you do see people when you’re awake, you’re suspicious of them because you think they’re either crazy or violent.
Sometimes you just have to try things you think would be good, but when you try them, you find out that what you thought was wrong. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just life—you don’t know until you know.
When you’re young especially, you don’t know anything. That’s why it’s good to try a myriad of different things. I think it’s good to experiment with what you want to do in life and try different jobs that require skills you don’t think you have or skills you don’t think you want to have.
There’s too much pressure in the west to get a job that is suited for “college graduates.” Try being a manager for Taco Bell. Try being a mail carrier. Try working in construction. Try being a writer (though you’ll still need another job just to make money). Try being a nurse (male nurses are becoming more and more popular). Just try doing different things instead of thinking that you need to do one thing and do it for the rest of your life. You have the rest of your life to figure that out. I would suggest early on that you have fun and figure out who you are and not be so concerned with what you do.
After experiencing different things and working in jobs that shape your character, you’ll hopefully have a better grasp of yourself. Once you do, whatever you do will be an extension of who you are. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Imagine—doing only what you can do. The problem is, for most of us, we don’t know ourselves well enough to know what it is that only what we can do. We haven’t experienced enough of life.
It takes risk. It takes a bit of faith to trust God. I am convinced though that God is more interested in who we are than what we do.
I never thought I wanted to be a night auditor for a hotel. Having tried it, I know it’s not something I want to do. But more than that, I feel like I’m closer to myself for having known that. I feel as though there will always be time to do what you were meant to do. Enjoy the process of discovery.