Working On It

First day back at “work” today. I am taking advantage of being on East Coast Time and getting up early…or I have been the last couple of days, at least. Let me be the first to tell you that it’s pretty rough here in Seattle when the sun, she comes up at eight, and the sun, she goes down at four. Now, in six months I will be crowing that I love getting to have three lunches per day because the afternoon lasts sooooo long. That’s great. Right now, I only wish I was some sort of raver or goth-type person, so as to be able to rejoice in the dark splendours of the night for three times as long as usual. Instead, I am but a poor sun-deprived polar-fleece wearing person, wishing I had a window in my office upon which to press my nose, vainly trying to see the sun.

Okay, before I go on any further, let me talk about my “job” for a second here. There are two things you should know about this job. One is, I’m very grateful to have it at all, as I have been in the unenviable position of realizing what every panhandler knows: a little money is better than no money at all. I’m also grateful that there’s a bus from (near) my house to where I work, which happens to be where I went to grad school, and that I have an office with a door that closes and get to wear jeans and the aforementioned polarfleece every day.

The second thing you should know is how much I loathe going to work every day. Part of what I loathe about it is that I have to feel the feelings I outlined for you up there in the previous paragraph: I know I’m sort of lucky to have this job. I was unemployed all summer. Right before I went to Miami for Christmas, I was turned down for a job at an agency I totally wanted to work for. I had the neccesary degree, I got a great recommendation, I know someone who works there and…and! The Boss Also Has An Office Across From Mine, In Addition to His Office At This Other Agency. So I had even met him before and said hi and everything. In fact I saw him in the mailroom this morning. Everyone who interviewed me seemed to really like me, I made it to the second round of interviews (three people out of eighteen applicants!), I sent a thank-you note, the whole thing. Nope, still at this other gig.

By the way, let me just say that when The Boss called me to tell me that, um, I suck and I didn’t get the job, I was home, super sick with some sort of freak flu thing that made it impossible for me to sit, stand, crouch, huddle, squat, or lie in any position for more than fifteen minutes because my muscles were so sore. So I wasn’t really in the mood anyway to hear that my qualifications were excellent, but they’d decided to offer the job, after a very difficult decision-making process, to someone else. Especially since this was, in fact, the third time I’d made it almost there with a job I didn’t actually get.

But that’s okay. I’m still going to stay on his good side whenever I see him in the mailroom, because you never know, right? Right.

Anyway, all I really want to say about the job I currently have is that it is very simple yet highly…uh…exacting isn’t quite the word I want, nor is demanding. “Detail-oriented” isn’t either. Man. Maybe I’ll just say “annoying.” Yes, annoying sums it up rather nicely. I work as a research assistant for a very smart person who used to be my professor and who thought I was very smart until I started working for her. I do a lot of library work and database searches and data entry and I proofread things for her and I copy things for her and I download things for her and I distribute questionnaires and do phone interviews and I sneak some web time and I eat lunch at my desk. I also act, occasionally, as her public relations department, as she can be…eccentric, as we traditionally describe professors of her type. I end up explaining that she didn’t really mean it like that to various computer lab workers and receptionists and administrators. I have seen them all shoot me looks of mingled pity and horror when I’m walking around with her.

If I’m doing well in general, I can usually muster up the decency to appreciate her and her intelligence…she’s one of those people who, when she talks, the smartness shoots out of her head in visible Flames of Smartness. I appreciate that she has taken some of my suggestions and has even given me some good advice. When I got the flu, she sent me a card with a picture of the desert on it and a message inside saying that she hoped the “hot and dry energy” would be helpful in preventing me from drowning unglamourously in my own phlegm. Well, she didn’t say the part about drowning in my own phlegm, but I think that’s what she meant.

However, I have to admit that I am very often a bad, evil person, and that I have loudly complained to my loved ones How Crazy She Makes Me. And I wish she would pay me as much as the other research assistants make, which is to say only badly, not horribly. And I wish I could do some more actual social-worky type stuff, like the stuff I went and got the degree for. But the fact that I have no job like that is no one’s fault but my own, I realize, so I’m working on getting one of those other jobs. I am. I’m glad I’m making a paycheck (of sorts) while I do that.

One of the things about being interested in social work, I’m finding, is that no matter how badly paid you are, you are often keenly aware that you make more than your clients. Now I don’t have any clients, so it’s not too cognitive dissonating, so to speak, for me, not like it must be for welfare workers, for example. But every time I walk down the Ave (that’s the college strip, right in front of my building, across the street from the main campus) and see the scores of homeless folks sitting out in the rain, as they were tonight, I have to think how strange it is that they’re where they are and I’m where I am and that any of them could do what I do. As I said, I am bad and evil, and so I don’t just offer them my job, but I do tend to donate spare change when I have it. The White Liberal Guilt Tax, I like to call it, and I pay it gladly. Only I don’t seem to pay it enough, I don’t think, because there’s always some guilt. Which is probably fine, even, seeing as my guilt-ridden little self gets to drive home in her car (or at least bust out her bus pass) and lay her head down on nice clean sheets of her very own underneath a roof for which she pays a very reasonable rent. It all works out.

So, uh, the point is? Well, the point is that I have a job, not a job I like especially, but one for which I do feel grateful, in case anyone is wondering. And I’d like to get a better one, yes. Also, this weird mood I’m in lately, as my last couple of entries will attest, what with the musings on Home and Mission and Meaning of Life and all, has made me think more about the function of each little segment of my life, including work.

But that’s enough of that for now, I think. I have to eat dinner and make some calls and vacuum the house (I didn’t do it last night, because I am Bad and Evil). I have been thinking all day about various entries I want to write…in fact I wasn’t going to write this one at all, I was going to talk about the Ave and how much I like it. I was also going to talk about all the various restaurants I have been to on the Ave, which would be pretty much all of them. But not tonight, ragazzi. I will however, give sneak previews of everything I mean to write about, just to keep everyone in suspense.

Yeah, right. Everyone. Hi Mom! Hi Carl!

Okay, ready?

*The Ave and Its Place in My Personal Cosmology*

*People I Dig*

*Interviews With The Famous Me*

*My Oscar Acceptance Speech*

* A Review of My Novel*

* I Used To Be A Gifted Child*

*I Don’t Watch TV But I Read About It Online*

* I Like These Peoples’ Journals So Much,
I Started My Own!*

and many more!

Okay, it’s gyoza time!

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