Saturday, November 15, 2008

Will Work For Fun

As of last Monday, I am officially employed.  Just when I was ready to reenter the world of food service, I got hired as the School Service Learning Coordinator at Duke, a nondescript mouthful of a job title.

On the first day of work, I learned that I work in three different offices at Duke (the Office of Community Affairs, the Program in Education and the Community Service Center), and that I am responsible for coordinating two different tutoring programs: America Reads / America Counts and the tutoring program required of students in service learning classes.

On the second day of work, I learned that the woman who I thought was my boss is not my boss.  I was kind of bummed, because she would have been an awesome boss.  And I'm still not positive who and how many bosses I have.

By the third day of work, I realized that I'm not sure how I feel about the word "coordinator."  I'm learning that it's a euphemism for dealing with shit that goes wrong.

And by the fourth day of work, I realized that, for the first time in my life, I need a date book to keep track of all of the meetings and places I'm supposed to be, as the post-it note system I used to rely on will no longer suffice.

It's a given that starting a new job is stressful and that I have no idea what I'm doing.  And I probably won't really know what I'm doing until I've messed everything up nice and good.  My responsibilities seem like a foreign language at the moment, and I don't understand how anyone can keep the two tutoring programs straight, given that they seem to have just as many similarities as differences.

But, in this economy at this point in time, I feel lucky as hell to have a job -- a job that will get me out of the office and into schools once a week and where everyone, so far, has been super nice.   

But, the real kicker?  It's not a teaching job.  Which leads me to a preliminary list about what is in and out, good and bad, about going back to a normal non-teaching job:

Let's start with the bad:
  • No Christmas break. (I just found out yesterday that I only get December 24th and 25th off and that I am not entitled to any vacation days or sick days until I have worked for 90 days, which means, basically, that I am fucked for the holidays.)  
  • No summer break means no end in sight. 
  • The work day no longer ends at 2:55 p.m.
  • I can no longer claim that I can't stay after school because that would be over union time.
And now the good:
  • I can wear the same pants every day of the week without any teenagers noticing.
  • My day doesn't depend on the mood of 120 teenagers.
  • I no longer have to wake up at 5:00 a.m. 
  • I could actually schedule a dentist appointment at, say 10:00 a.m. on a Wednesday in February.
I know that a job is a job and that 99.9% of people would rather be doing their life than their job.  I will still get the Sunday blues and will still be tired.  

But, I'm hoping that I won't be so exhausted by the end of the week that I want to kill myself.  And that I'll still have time and energy to, say, start my own t-shirt making company (for example).

Having been employed for a stretch until this fall, I had forgotten how good it feels to get up in the morning and have somewhere to be, to know that you can pay your bills, and to be a part of whatever kind of community the job provides.  

I had forgotten how great Friday late afternoon feels, when you've made it through the week and arrived at the weekend.  

Yes, working sucks.  But unemployment sucks more.


Joan said...

It is fantastic. I love it.... have to run out for supplies for the monthly birthday lunch, so i can't indulge in finding the words to say how beautifully you hit numerous nails on their heads. Keep it up. You are wonderful.
Love, J

OrangeMoJoJo said...

If you've already got a date book, you're well on your way to getting this job nailed. They are so lucky to have someone so competent in that position! I hope you love working at Duke!

And it is truly awesome to be able to wear the same pair of pants several times a week without anyone noticing. Or really caring. Because they may be, too!

Claire Just Claire Like Cher said...

And since we know that Will Work For Fun is a t-shirt, and that working funds shopping and funds t-shirt making companies (YES! Bring it!!), I say Amen. It's all good, and GOD DEAR GOD it's better than the teaching gig was. And that's me saying it from the outside, not even you getting through those years. I'll just start chanting and lighting candles for big surprise bits of vacation days and school holidays (you work at a SCHOOL, why not, right?!), etc. :-) And Best Friends Robots and all other associated and ensuing fun! XO