Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Count Your Blessings

As the summer comes to a close, I sometimes find myself making grumbly noises about having to return to work. Life at school can be intense, stressful, frustrating, and exhausting. This is one of those jobs where you just don't get to have an off day. If you do, somebody ends lighting somebody else's hair on fire (yes that really happened at one of my schools). In other words, whine, whine, whine.

Then I use two strategies to get myself out of this pity party. First, I think of all the great things about the profession (I've already blogged about these at length). Second, I think back on all the jobs I used to have before I became a teacher. During my teen and college years, I had a wide variety of part-time jobs in order to get by. Here is a partial list:

-Baby-sitter (who hasn't done this?)
-Stable-hand (surprise, surprise I loved this job)
-Vineyard worker (pruning, picking, pressing grapes and keeping yuppies happy)
-Nanny (for many years)
-Print shop assistant (only in the summers)

The reason I listed the last one several times is that I worked as a clerical temp for about 18 months, and so I got the fun of experiencing several different working environments. The tax office was stuffy and particular (oh the dress code!). It included a guy who chased me around the office and blocked doorways, so I couldn't leave until he decided to let me. The gravel crusher machine company was cold, dusty, and FAR away from home. Then there was the emergency supply sales office which was freezing and filled with ants. You get the idea.

But the worst, the very worst, of my temp positions was at the motor home R & D facility. This was the place where I answered the phone on a help line where people called to report mechanical failure on vehicles still under warranty. Over 300 calls a day from people who were royally pissed to discover that their brand new $100k motor home was broken.

This job was boring (mind-bendingly so), stressful, pointless (it's just that I was cheaper than a robot), depressing (every single person in that office HATED their job), and choked with strange smells and diesel fumes. Plus, I am not making this up, we had to listen to top 40 hits all day every day because the office manager decreed that we would. Certain pop songs from the turn of the millennium are permanently burned into my brain, and I think of them with horror every time I smell diesel.

Ah, there we go, I'm feeling so much better already. I love my teaching career. It is not often boring, most of my co-workers are reasonably cheerful kinds of people, and my room is usually clean, warm, and comfortable (and ant-free). Sure, it can be stressful, and I still do have to get up at an ungodly hour, but at least my work means something in the long run. I could not (easily) be replaced by a robot. Also, nobody, but nobody, can force radio upon me ever again.

No comments: