Friday, May 4, 2012

Thank you Mr. President for my three jobs.

This was written in May, 2012. If you are reading it now, thank you. 

Today, it is expected that the Labor Department will announce the creation of 165,000 new jobs. I have three of them. I work three jobs, not because I am a workaholic. I could be a card-carrying member of the local Union of Procrastinators, except I keep putting off sending in the application. Nor do I work three jobs because I am greedy and want to make lots of money, since none of them pays extraordinarily well.

For my regular, 40 hour a week job, I go to the home of nine people who score lower on IQ tests than the majority of people score. Working in an environment like this can be quite stressful. I have been lied to, lied about, misused, maligned, and mistreated. In truth, if it weren’t for the nine residents of the house, I would have quit a long time ago.

Let me explain with a story. One afternoon I was particularly grumpy. I was not happy with life, particularly life at my 40 hour a week job. Yet, here I was walking in the door for another 8 hour sentence. When I walked in the door, Max met me with a huge smile. Max is not short for Maxine, Max is not even her real name. Everything Max does is 100% full of heart and today was no exception. I walk in grumpy, and Max comes around the corner with a huge smile and a big greeting. “Hi Wob!” That is what she calls me, Wob, not Rob, which is too formal for her I suppose, but Wob. “Hi Wob!” she grinned, “Welcome home. I am glad you’re here Wob. Are you hungry? Come in the kitchen, I will get you some snacks. You want a banana Wob?” The words came so fast and with such enthusiasm, I did not have time to blink before she had my hand and led me into the kitchen for a piece of fruit. Grumpiness…gone.

My second and part time job is at a printing and distribution center for time sensitive documents. Whereas my full time job is the most rewarding, this job is the most enjoyable. I work in the middle of the night, usually until 3 in the morning, in a noisy building, with cold, hard concrete floors, pushing heavy carts of documents into trucks to be distributed throughout the surrounding counties. If a mistake happens, it means lots of grumpy managers and customers. The equipment used is complicated and as you know, the more complicated a machine gets, the more likely it is to break down. When machines break down, things run late, when things run late, there are grumpy managers and customers.

What makes this such a wonderfully enjoyable place to work? The team of men I work with. Each person expects the other is eventually going to screw up and keeps checking what the other is doing. Eventually one of us screws up and someone else catches it and disaster is averted. Usually. If not, then we brace ourselves for grumpy phone calls.

My third job is my newest job and will hopefully take the place of my full time job in a few months. In the morning, I assist students to transition from home and community environments to the school environment. In the afternoon, I assist students in decompressing and smoothly transitioning from school to home environment. On top of this I get to drive a big yellow bus and stop traffic, which is way cool.

Thank you President Obama, for creating my three jobs. 

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