Aaahhhh, work. The bane of my existence. Let’s for the moment ignore the possibility of one having a job with “security” and “fulfillment” and just talk about the ones I have (and don’t.)
I recently reconnected with my old art teacher, Marlene. When I was 7 or 8, I started taking art lessons once a week with a friend; they were held in a studio room connected to Marlene’s house in Marlboro. I continued going to her once a week for ten years. When I was in high school she moved into a new space on Rt. 79 and dubbed it Artisan Studio. When I was 16 I worked there, teaching a class for 3-6 year-olds, aka adorable munchkins. It was all a wonderful experience, and Marlene is one of those adults that has known you forever and is like surrogate family.
Now, all these years later, I’m headed back to teach at Artisan again! The kids will be older (7-12), but then, so will I, so maybe I’ll seem like an authority figure of sorts. Thank god I’m tall. These classes will be one-off workshops for the moment, dependent on enrollment and with pay commensurate. So I’m not going to be quitting my other job for this big payday, but I’m still incredibly excited. Artisan is like a blast from my past, and it’s a great environment, and it’s funny how things come full circle: After all but abandoning it for the years I went to college, art is becoming a big part of my life again, as if to fill that part of my soul left unnurtured these days. Who knows what will come of this in the larger sense, but at the very least I’ll make a few bucks for teaching kids how to draw horses and stuff.
The bad is also the usual: Banana Republic. It marches on like an interminable death sentence. Yesterday I spent an hour removing sweaters from piles to leave them at a size run of 6, refolding them all, putting them back, and placing the extras in the stock room. I then spent the following hour bringing those same sweaters out of the stock room, putting them back in the piles, and refolding them again. When someone tried to break the obvious tension over this with a joke, I stalked to the bathroom to huff.
Later that night I broke down and cried in the back room, not because I had wasted two hours making everything exactly as it had been when I arrived, but because that job is pointless and meaningless and un-fulfilling and un-challenging. Because it was supposed to be a summer job and now it’s been a year and a half. Because I have trouble paying my bills. Because I am better-educated than almost every person I work for or with. And because I can only make so many self-effacing jokes about the situation before my facade occasionally cracks. I spent the rest of the night re-sizing the sale sections. My Pulitzer is almost certainly on its way.
The Very Sad
As if last night wasn’t already a horrible day at work, when I went on my break I had a voicemail from my Patch editor, Jackie. She didn’t say what she was calling about, which I assumed could only mean bad news. Somehow I immediately knew I was being let go, because if it were something small/positive she would have emailed me, and there was nothing else negative it could have been. Nonetheless I had to lay in wait all night for the news to drop. Worse than the fact of it was definitely having it hang over my head.
This morning Jackie and I finally caught each other on the phone, and she told me what I knew she would: After eliminating most of the freelance budget months ago, they were now dropping the last stragglers and moving toward an all-full-time-writers paradigm. It wasn’t her fault. I thanked her for her support and encouragement, and for always being on my side – after all, she fought for me to stay on about 4 months after they dropped all the other columnists, and she gave me my first writing job and tons of praise. Again she reiterated that she felt I was talented and very reliable, and she would keep me in mind for any opportunities – advertorials or guest pieces or whatnot – in the future.
I loved that job, even if it had become a little tedious in the last few months (it really stretched my creativity to come up with over 100 topics to write on about the mall.) It was my first byline, and the first inkling that I may someday be able to get paid to do something creative, challenging, and satisfying. Times are tough, and all good things must come to an end. It was tragic altering my resume this morning to add an end date to Patch, but if anything good can come out of it, perhaps it will add fuel to the fire of my job search.
Speaking of which…
I’ve begun a strange trend of blasting out resumes at 3 am in response to Craigslist ads. Shockingly, most of the very few interviews I’ve gotten in my life have come from these. I have one Friday for a marketing position at a website called Lawyer.com in Basking Ridge (ick, I know, but I can’t afford to be choosy). Since last time I went with barely bridled optimism, this time I’m trying abject cynicism going into this. Preparing for the worst is always best, because then even when you get laid off you can get on with your life. Right?