bet you think i stole this.

i just came from a human resources/staff meeting, where they discussed things like comp time, flex time, overtime pay, dress code, etc. i really wasn't even supposed to be there, but i heard the words "free lunch" and off i went. all i could wonder was, what are people doing that requires constant work 37.5 hours per week? today, i made some copies, ordered a package of papers from the office max catalog, took a call, and shot off two or three emails. i could've accomplished all this from 8:30 a.m. - 8:40 a.m., but instead, this idea of work - not work itself, but this idea of work - requires me to be here from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

the higher-ups actually look like they use their time wisely. they hold meetings, have one-on-one conferences, and seem genuinely busy. i wonder, like so many others do, what it must be like to love the work you do, to actually find it meaningful and socially relevant. i heard today that seven or eight others actually applied for my position. two or three of them had masters degrees; one even had his j.d. "a little overqualified," i told emily. "just a little bit," she said. what a sad world we live in where people with $100,000 degrees are forced to apply for jobs that pay much, much less.

the other night, i was walking down 15th with meagan when this little black kid was heading towards us in the opposite direction. as we passed him, he held up a little technological gadget. "like this? my blackberry. bet you think i stole this, huh? i can tell!" feeling like an official yuppie, i was only glad to hear this arrogant kid voice his belief that i believed he was a thief. it only solidified my decision to get as far away from teaching as possible. with my new job, i make as much as i would have my first year of teaching. i also get treated like an adult, and i can take classes and get a masters degree pro bono (for you non-lawyer types, that means "free"). and once i get that masters degree, i could apply for the job i have now.

it's pretty great, though, coming home and not having to think about anything. i told this to jacob. "you're losing your idealism, man," he said. i don't really care, though. all i saw was that nonprofits are disorganized and that they waste people's time. all volunteering got me was a feeling of worthlessness and a real need for real money. besides, what was i going to teach those kids that they didn't already know? how would i possibly reach out to them when i can't even force myself to believe in the system that supports them, the country that watches over them?

i ride the number 60 in the morning. the 60 takes me to work, takes me to emily's, takes me to meagan's. it's a good route. mary, the bus driver, picks me up in georgetown, and she says, "good morning" when i arrive, and "have a good day" when i leave. from the bus window, i see qwest field where the mariners play, and i also see the entire city. on clear mornings, i get a view of mt. rainier from beacon hill. i arrive early, and i use the bathrooms in the law building, ones i've preferred even as an undergrad. they are immaculate.

this past week, i've been asking emily, the other program assistant, how to do things, even though katie, the previous program assistant, left me a very detailed instructional binder. i've found that most of the work i expected to be doing can easily be delegated to other individuals - not by my choice, but by theirs. i told rebecca that i needed to post signs to direct people to a meeting. "i'm kind of possessive about my new signs," she said, "i'll put them up." i told charlotte i needed to make twenty-two copies for the meeting. "do you want them two-sided and stapled?" she asked. "sure," i said, and then i retreated to my desk.

my main job duty thus far has been trying to locate a room or apartment on craigslist. this is no easy feat for someone who's neither female nor gay. not wanting to spend over $700 a month also makes this search difficult. my best lead was at this house on 15th and olive, a 3bed/2bath house. i would've gotten my own bathroom. this is one of the most important things i look for, as i occasionally like to binge on fried chicken and hot fudge sundaes. the day i checked out the place, alicia said she'd have a decision by sunday. i told her friday i was sure that that was the place i wanted. on sunday evening, when she still hadn't called me back, i called her. "i haven't decided yet," she said. be a fucking grown-up. say yes or say no. it's not difficult. it's now thursday, and still no word; i assume the deal is dead.

i checked out another place on beacon hill, this room for $550. again, i'd have my own bathroom. but when i got there, some asshole named vince or lance or vance was already scoping out the place. olaf, the renter, introduced us. why would you introduce two people who want to rent the same room? that makes you my competitor. i shook his hand, thinking he was the other roommate, but he definitely was not. vince or lance or vance gave my hand a firm, unfriendly shake. when it was all said and done, i was eager to leave, just because i knew my chances of getting the place were a long shot. "are you interested?" olaf asked. "yeah, just let me know if these guys pass," i said.

the apartment hunting business, like any other business, is completely backward. i'm putting money into the place, thus i should be interviewing the landlords and making sure they're not a bunch of lazy, incompetent assholes. it's just like job hunting, too. we, the employees, are putting years of our lives into business and organizations; therefore, shouldn't we be conducting the interviews? it's our money, and our time, so why don't we ever get a say in anything?

because in the land of the free, you take what you can get.


Anonymous said...

naomi said...

because, you do something you don't necessarily want for a little while, then you have a cushion to at least get by while you DO go out and interview places to see what you think. It's all in the attitude. You've got the right idea now...
Give the new job a chance, eh?
sounds better than mine...