I am...a New Yorker

[Previous entry: "Naive"]

Wednesday, July 31, 2002
Employed, Again

For a rabbi.

My new boss bought me flowers and had them in water on my desk before I finished signing away my first born in HR.

Even more so:
His wife apologizing to me that he couldn't take me out to lunch on my first day, due to a prior lunch meeting.

Worker bees across the street, through the window in my cubicoffice (it has 3 walls, but no door, so it's not quite a cubicle and not quite an office).

Forward to September and getting all those high holy days off. I joked with James, who told me many of the holidays fall on Friday. "That was good planning!"

"Yeah," he said, "5,000 years into the future."

Manicotti, chicken and cauliflower.

Myself to chocolate and peanut butter frozen yogurt from Tasti-D-Lite.

The person who has been doing my job the past few weeks, and who helped train me, is this tall, beautiful boy with curly, golden hair. I told Fang, "He's like my kryptonite!"

No worries, he's far too cute and not nearly nerdy enough for my tastes. The young thing was never my fetish before Blainepear, but I found it hilarious anyway.

Up my slacks all day, because they don't fit. I need some suspenders or the gumption to take them in.

Out my new desk.

Chocolate bits, sand, crumbs, staples, dust and 3 raisens. Ewwwwwwwww!

An hour late, but only because I didn't want to start out by taking two days to clean out my desk and get settled. I won't make a habit of it. The irony!

I am...starting to believe what they say about when you're not looking.

The Tuesday before last, I had two calls to schedule job interviews, as many as I had since April. The first one woke me up an hour or so earlier than I was accustomed to getting up. I set up the interview for 9:30 the next morning. Why, oh why? I overslept and missed it entirely. I had scheduled the other interview for noon the day after that, but called and rescheduled it for 1:30 because I can't do math and it didn't allow enough travel time after a prior appointment.

I also realized the job was located near a clothing store that I had a gift certificate for, so I could kill two birds with one stone. Also, it was in East Midtown, so I could just go down to the East Village for my doctor appointment from there. Instead, the interview took almost 3 hours -- I spoke with the HR director, my prospective boss and then the President's Executive Assistant. I figured that was a good sign.

Or not. I really do dislike being in an office all day. I was just getting to the point that my days were more productive. Instead of laying in bed all day, I was getting to the library and other errands on a regular basis. I was working very hard on getting into school in the fall and still sending out resumes, lest I lose my unemployment. I even started therapy, after many false starts over the last 20-odd years.

The only thing I couldn't seem to bring myself to do was get published. Which, you may recall, has been my oft-mentioned goal since January. Absurdly, I'm still held back by the exact same issues I found baffling back in 1998. I don't know what the market wants and I don't know where to find stories.

I was always a far better writer than reporter and I've not yet been able to learn to market myself. The very idea is absurd and icky. It's just completely foreign to me that writers are supposed to research markets in order to determine if their books will sell. That should be the work of marketing hacks at publishing houses. Writers should write.

Anyway, so here I am in another job that I had no choice but to accept. While it doesn't pay quite as much as my last job, it pays more than the minimum salary I am required to accept or forfeit my unemployment benefits. It also includes one week less in vacation time, although I think the sick time is one or two weeks more.

Then there are the holidays. The job is for another non-profit, but a Jewish organization this time. In addition to all the usual Federal holidays, I get several Jewish holidays off. The days before many holidays end at either 1 or 3 p.m., so there are several more freebie hours. I am SO looking forward to September!

Of course, every job is OK on the first day and it's hard to tell what it will truly be like. Perhaps I am easily impressed, but everyone I met was warm, friendly, made a point of saying "welcome," and told me to call anytime I needed help. One woman even gave me a full tour when I got lost on the way to the bathroom (I'd been shown the bathroom on another floor).

At my last job, there was always a reason something couldn't be done. Even the first week, I was warned numerous times and just felt uneasy about everything. I had two weeks of training with the woman I was replacing, which was tense, and then my boss returned and threatened to fire me within the first week we worked together. I felt too trapped to look for another job, because the excessive hours started very early on.

As for the new job, the hours are 9-5, period. There are a few months every odd year that will require 12 hour days to prepare for a convention. Otherwise, I can leave on time without being cornered to do yet another big project before I can leave. This non-profit seems better organized, staffed, funded and equipped in every way than the previous one.

Perhaps I'm easily impressed, but it takes up 2 entire floors in a Midtown high rise. There are rooms for specific purposes; copy and conference rooms are around every corner. At my last job, rooms had events scheduled back to back with little time and no staff to reorganize the furniture appropriately.

There is a staff lounge. In fairness, I must mention that a lunch room was set up at my last job a month or two before I left. It had 2 large tables (there were 400 employees) and several filthy microwaves and refrigerators. One of the refrigerators had a dirty towel in the bottom and all of them smelled.

Prior to that, the only place to eat inside was at your desk or, if lucky enough to get away, in the overpriced cafeteria owned by an outside firm that delivered everything late, but yelled at me if I dared to order a few bagels and coffee for an impromptu meeting.

By comparison, the new place has a real cafeteria, although the chef is on vacation right now. The food costs are subsidized and there is seating for at least a few dozen people.

I also noticed that there were several people each in the mailroom, IT department and HR. At my previous job, there were easily twice the number of employees, but only one person to perform each of the above duties. In fact, the IT guy was also the phone guy and was in charge of petty cash and other business functions; when his boss found a better job recently, he also took over that position. Everyone had several jobs, few had support staff, and resources were short in every way. It's a shame, because there was great work being done there.

Still, I had to wonder where all the money goes, as memberships were expensive and child care and other programs were far from cheap. It didn't help that all the backstabbing and drama only served to further detract from productivity.

Back to the present...I am a bit exhausted tonight, but I'm sure that's because I didn't sleep well last night. Oddly enough, my mother nonsensically insisting we wake up at 7:30 every morning for the family reunion helped switch me to a day schedule. However, I still had a touch of this cold in my throat and my room was really hot, so I had trouble sleeping.

I bought a battery-operated spray bottle fan tonight at Duane Reade. It seems to fit well in my headboard and gives off a good breeze, so I hope I can sleep better tonight. As a special bonus, it was 50% off!

I need to get to bed, but it seems there is more yet to say. It's been a crazy week or two. I'm trying to keep an open mind about the job. If these sensible hours are really the rule, then I can still work when I go to school in the fall.

Jobs are like men. Not only are most entirely inappropriate for me, I just can't see myself getting tied down to even a decent one for very long.

[Next entry: "Coping"]
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