…Because My Full Time Job’s Salary Just Isn’t Cutting It
I am a teacher, and I love my job. I’m sure everyone has heard what I’m about to say, but please bear with me when I repeat: our pay leaves a lot to be desired. To illustrate, my friend’s daughter is working at one of those walk-in hair salons – she just started this year, in fact – and is making more than I am after 16 years with two degrees and an endorsement. Another friend’s boyfriend is in his first year as an electrical engineer and is making double what I make. But I made my sad rickety life bed, so I lie in it.
One night, feeling nostalgic and, frankly, sorry for myself, I decided to put down on paper some of the unbelievable things I’ve endured in various jobs for the past 30 years. The impetus for this came one night when, since we couldn’t afford to pay our cable bill, we had to endure three days with no technology. We lived, but the need for a part-time job was glaring back at me in the blank TV screen, and in the laptop unable to connect to wireless. Sigh. So I wrote this tongue-in-cheek (but true) resume, hoping to connect with an editor who would see my hilarious/slightly feminist/obviously well-written diatribe and hire me for part-time work immediately so I could pay for our exorbitant cable/wireless/cell phone bill. Here’s what I came up with:
The attached resume is, dare I say, beautifully adept at giving a clear description of my 30-year work history. To summarize, it’s been hell but I’m still here. Interested in hiring a survivor? Today is your lucky day because here I am.
The following is a timeline of my desired next steps:
1. You meet me
2. You hire me
3. I tell you the hours I’m available
4. You pay me
5. I pay my cell phone/cable bill
I know, simple and to the point. You’re welcome.
Objective: Interested in securing a profitable, part-time position where I can retain the tattered remnants of my integrity while simultaneously helping others, in addition to possibly enjoying a small amount of free time to walk my Yorkshire Terrier and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel so that I can get a good night’s sleep, because at my age a good night’s sleep is the Holy Grail – life changing and as yet unattainable – and if those dogs aren’t tired at night, well, forget it.
Purdue University and Indiana University. Attending two state schools provided me experience with rivalries, conflict, and the knowledge of where to find the best party (IU any day of the week.) Degrees earned provided background and certification for working with small (elementary-aged) and large (adult) humans.
Awards: I received a free pass to a local drinking establishment for the entire summer after demonstrating the ability to recite the names of the United States in alphabetical order while dime beer night patrons shouted, “Take it off!”
- Violin Instructor’s Assistant: worked at a folding table with the smell of garlic permeating the workspace. Despite the presence of a clowder of cats and enduring excessive hives due to said cats, obtained five new students for instructor. Resigned after a week due to respiratory problems.
- Hot Dog Heaven Food Service Worker: worked in an aluminum food truck during summer months handling orders for Chicago area hot dog aficionados at festival. Honored all special requests with one exception – no ketchup allowed on the premises per Chicago Hot Dog and Processed Meats Association regulations. Often made correct change for customers.
- Ice Cream Shop Counter Server: on staff when the “Snow Storm” was introduced. Endured 110-degree temperatures in the store’s attic while pounding candy bars into tiny, identically precise pieces over July 4th weekend. Able to artfully craft said “Snow Storms” and demonstrate thickness with the “upside down flip” for raucous summer revelers. Successfully obtained back pay for cheated employees working overtime after a “Deep Throat” conversation with the Better Business Bureau.
- Car Dealership Office Assistant: responsible for nighttime desk duties and billing for busy foreign car dealership. Ordered lunch on weekends for twelve overweight substance/emotionally/verbally abusive new and used car salesmen. Dodged solicitations for drugs and sex daily. Learned the meaning of the phrase “snitches end up in ditches.”
- Newspaper Obituary Typist: handled incoming calls for obituaries and memorials. Dodged solicitations for alcohol daily. Successful at identifying “that smell” in the basement and completing the corresponding obituary to meet deadline.
- Bookstore Clerk: cashier and floor assistant for dying brick and mortar bookstore. Found “the book with the green cover.” Often made correct change for customers, with the exception of the day we found out the manager was grabbing fifties from my drawer.
- Advertising Agency Employee: media planner for up-and-coming boutique agency. Dodged solicitations for drugs and unpaid overtime daily. Nominated for a Clio award for laugh track (I supplied the laughs) for local (awful) comedians auditioning for commercials. Earned distinction as the only media planner allowed to try on Phil Jackson’s coat when he visited the agency for voiceover tapings (it was long).
- Elementary School Teacher: handled sensitive conversations with parents, administrators, and colleagues and educated 1st through 5th-grade students for 16 years – all without the aid of pharmaceuticals. Consistently raised reading levels of children of rival gang members to show a minimum of two years of growth. Received merit pay of $1.00 (.75 after taxes) from 2nd-grade student for “teaching me to read.” As union representative, halted a planned walkout of employees after orchestrating a “visit” between principal and an Italian-American negotiator.
Feeling pretty proud of this piece, and yes, this all pretty much happened, I decided to submit it to Craigslist in the hopes of nailing my dream writing job. I received one reply:
Nice, creative, active and adventurous guy here in Ravenswood in Chicago. I thought your write up/resume was pretty well written and humorous. Can you do a half-decent massage, and are you open to that? I have an LMT but someone nice, kind, who maybe wants to pick up a few bucks for that here and there, make a new friend, I’d be open to that. Talk more?
So just to summarize for you, kind readers, the message I received here was, “Wow, you’re a good, humorous writer so I bet you’d be great at massage. And more.”
I spent a day feeling sorry for myself; thoroughly disgusted by this. Then I realized that this active, creative, adventurous Ravenswood guy’s response fit the piece PERFECTLY. Because after 30 years of work experience, some moron thinks all I’m really good for is offering a half-decent massage. Which is exactly the kind of misogynistic treatment I received at MANY of my jobs. He was just responding in kind to what he had read. I can only guess he assumed that since I had accepted all of that on-the-job treatment, I’d be willing to subject myself to more.
I’m sure you’re wondering and no, I have not been able to achieve the part time job I’m looking for. Our cable/cellular provider – the one that has been around since the creation of the telephone – still charges us monthly with bills that could choke a pig; or, more accurately, an active, creative, adventurous Ravenswood guy in need of a “massage.”
So stay strong out there, girls. Things are changing. Because they have to. And if anyone knows of a part-time job out there…
Robin Sizemore is a reading teacher and graphic novel lover who lives somewhere in Indiana – where you can’t buy alcohol on Sunday but you can make it to Illinois in an emergency – with her husband, daughter, son, and two dog bffs. She’s passionate about helping children find their strengths. Do her a favor and read the books “A Wrinkle in Time”, “Wonder” and anything John Green writes (including tweets). And for the love of rock, listen to the Foo Fighters! Look for her writing in Country Magazine, Farm and Ranch, and on the Mighty. And stay tuned for the nonprofit she’s started called Superhero Training and Supply, a way to calm our children with yoga, mindfulness, homework help, and writing instruction. Tweet her -accentuating the positive -@rsizereadwrite.