October 12, 2007

World of Work

I am a matchmaker and a storyteller. I am a counselor and a sounding board. I am a dreamcatcher and reality therapist. And I actually get paid for it all.

I work as a college counselor in the oldest independent school in New Jersey. It's a great job, especially so because so many people think it sounds like a terrible job. And you can read all about it over at my work blog, Relax. No really. I try not to write about my day job too much here... it's the kind of job that can pretty much suck up your life if you let it.

Back at the beginning of my working life, I had some pretty bad jobs. I blocked lenses at Winchester Optical. Really dull and fussy work, and no one my age within five miles. Except for some poor guy named Ted who REALLY wanted me to be his girlfriend. And we all know how that worked out. ;-)

Then I worked as a lifeguard at a hotel in the next town over. The summer I worked there, they were doing reconstruction work on an overpass that ran right near the pool. Between fending off the quasi passes of the creepy and pathetic sales dudes who were staying at the hotel, and vacuuming the construction silt out of the pool only to see it fill up again, it was a pretty long summer. Although I did have one fantastic day after I'd stayed up into the wee hours of the morning finishing Frank Herbert's Dune. I got to work with my head still full of a world in which liquid was a precious commodity... and dove into the pool. I've never felt so rich in my life.

Then, while in college, I worked the dishline. One day a tray of dirty dishes came down that had fruit stuffed in each one. As I struggled to keep up with the conveyor belt while simultaneously working to extricate the apples and oranges from the glasses, a glass broke. I spent the next few weeks with a sutured and bandaged wrist, frantically explaining to my new college friends that no, it was not a botched suicide attempt. Despite the accident, I preferred that job to the library job I thought I'd love... a supervisor who thought that the Dewey Decimal system was the received word of God pretty much ruined that one for me.

My best job – before the great one I have now – was probably my stint at a bookstore. I was a teenager, and had to convince the manager to bend his previously ironclad rule against hiring teenagers. I wore him down, I think! And then when he finally did hire me, he figured out pretty quickly that I knew more about poetry than anyone else in the store and let ME make the purchasing decsions. Sorry about that, Susan Polis Schultz.

I was so happy. And I poured about a third of my salary right back into the store. Good times.

Okay, gotta go work on a letter of reference now. Thanks for listening.

(Thanks to the women of Sunday Scribblings
for their continuing inspiration.)

5 comments:

paisley said...

very nice and informative post... i don't think your job sounds awful at all... if you are into it.. then it is a blessing to have you there.....

gautami tripathy said...

I sometimes do counselling for my students and love it. I liked this post of yours.

Betty C. said...

I think student counseling sounds like a great job, so you don't need to make any excuses! Then again, like Gautami, I'm a teacher myself...

Patois said...

I love hearing about the paths you took to finally end at a job you love.

Anonymous said...

...Wow -- we must have had the same library supervisor (or maybe they are all cut from the same cloth)! I couldn't follow Dewey Decimal to save myself, and my sacrilegious attitude towards it offended her deeply. It wasn't enough for her that I quit: she wanted me damned. I don't know if she is over it yet...