Thursday, March 20, 2003

Meandering Brain Thursday

Do you ever report for work as usual, all the while wishing you were at some previous job that you hated at the time? Not to say you actually want the job back, you just would prefer to be there today.

Well, today I'm having that feeling with my old Engineer Babysitter gig for a defense contracter in Maryland. It'd be nice to see my old friends Mike and Lynn (neither of whom work there anymore...), maybe grab a sushi lunch with the other Mike, Todd, and Lynn's (now-husband) boyfriend Paul (who threw great parties!). Hell, I wouldn't even mind playing receptionist. Answering phones? Sorting mail? Scheduling conference rooms? Sparkling for the clients? No sweat--I gotcha covered!

I did hate the way I was "stuck" behind that front desk, though. Having to call someone to ask for a break was more than a bit demeaning.

Now, I guess business is booming. Defense contractors likey the war. Although I guess they've potentially lost some contracts with their client Iraq. I'm sure the DOD would consider that some sort of conflict of interest or something.

But yeah, I'm strangely nostalgic for that today.

Or even my old gig waiting tables at the brewpub in downtown Cleveland. Wow, that rocked. I used to do the lunch shift on weekdays, which (when business was good) would yield 50 bucks for 2 or 3 hours of work. Not a ton of money, but it was plenty for my needs. Weekends were slow. The kitchen guys (and girls!) loved me and would make me special breakfasts and lunches. The bartenders were my friends and hooked me up with free beers and shots. We got a "shift beer" after every shift we worked--for free. Summers, I'd work a split lunch "phase" shift--where I'd get cut right after business died down--usually right about the time the Indians game started (the Jake--that's Jacob's Field--was RIGHT nearby). I'd leave work, buy tickets for the already-started game at $5 a pop, and go take in a tribe game! Ahhh.

God, I miss those days. Not that I hate my job now (although I do), but more that, at those points in my life, my dissatisfaction seemed less pressing. I was young; I had plenty of time to find a "real job". I was in college, I was supposed to do crappy things like wait tables. Now, I'm less than 2 months from a Master's Degree. Sixty-five grand in debt is supposed to automatically exempt you from having to work crappy, unsatisfying jobs. Or, so I thought. That was long ago, in the pre-Sept. 11 days when I clutched my various acceptance letters to my chest and had the luxury of getting to pick and choose what I really wanted. I always just assumed it would be the same with jobs.

Ha! What really drove the fact that jobs are wicked scarce home for me was the process (which is still ongoing...) of trying to find a roommate to replace the one who's leaving. Out of all the people we've interviewed, only 2 have an actual job. Some are getting laid off, some just can't find a job, some are working at Starbucks to make ends meet. It's all been enough to make me thankful for my trained chimpanzee job, which at least allows me luxuries like a Dunkin Donuts coffee and the ability to pay my rent on time.

So, I guess I'm grateful. Sort of. In a grudging sort of way.

But a few sushi lunches wouldn't do me any harm.

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