I applied for my first non-teaching job today. I haven't given up hope that I'll get a teaching job, but I'm starting to consider Plan Bs. And Cs and Ds and Es.
I heard a report yesterday on NPR about farmhands who make $100 a day picking sweet potatoes. The point of the report was that Americans don't want to do those kinds of jobs, but I had pretty much missed that point because I was focused on the $100 a day part. That's really close to what I was making as a teacher, and I bet those farm laborers didn't have grading to do on weekends. Granted, the report didn't say how many hours a day they worked, or even how many days a week, but all I could think was damn, I need to check Craigslist for some labor work if I can bring home that kind of money.
The NPR story got me thinking further (which I guess is their intent). Are there jobs that I, as an American, don't want to do? Oh yeah. The reporter had interviewed a fish gutter/cleaner who made $11 an hour. I don't want to do that or make that amount of money. I want more, in every sense of the word. Usually I don't remind myself that I have a masters degree until I'm scrubbing out the toilet, but then again, it's my own damn toilet in my own damn bathroom and I'll clean it if I want to. My husband went to Harvard and he doesn't usually clean it – but that's not the reason why he doesn't clean the toilet. He's managed to keep his job, and so for now I'm taking over all the housecleaning duties that we once shared.
I get a bizarre sense of self-satisfaction from taking out the garbage. Perhaps that's because it's been traditionally assigned as a masculine job (lifting something that's both heavy and smelly, I suppose), and I get to feel like I can “do it all” - but for now I can only do it “all” as long as it's all inside the condo. I also used a screwdriver today, but it provided much less excitement.
Do you ever watch a commercial for something that is completely and utterly stupid and useless, or better yet – a commercial that is done so poorly that you A) don't even know what the product being advertised is, and/or B) are so distracted and baffled by the commercial's imbecility that you don't even remember what it was advertising? I see/hear ads like that every now and then (and I don't even have a TV, mind you, but some still get through). Do you know that what you're looking at is a final draft? There were rough drafts of what you just saw/read, and those were worse. This was the finished, polished, edited, finalized product that somebody approved and signed off on. There were even meetings and rehearsals for this. Some ideas got shot down, and some actors got turned down. Sometimes I see these things, and I think – man, I could have helped with that and made a difference. I could have made that a bit less shitty. More than half the movies made today are really bad, for example. How many millions did Hotel for Dogs make? The Transformers trilogy? Weekend at Bernies V? I could help. Skills include: common sense, a fully functioning brain, a handful of foreign languages, ballroom dancing, and the ability to peel four carrots per minute. Yeah, I timed myself last week; I'm not terribly proud of that. Maybe I should reconsider that TV ownership thing. I'm not looking for millions here, just a decent five-figured salary that will help pay down my many student loans.
Fish gutter/cleaner? Pass. Sweet potato picker? What the hey. I guess I won't need to write a new cover letter for that one. “Hey, you like being outside – and you like farms!” my husband said encouragingly when I mentioned the news report. However, I find myself doubting his sincerity.
I can see us at his next company's family outing –
Coworker of my husband: “So, Mrs. ComputerGenius, what do you do? Are you in the technology industry as well?”
Me: “Nah, I pick potaters.”
Coworker: “Fascinating! Care to accompany me and my wife Coco to the museum next weekend? They're debuting an exhibit on ancient Ethiopian rosewater decanters.”
I should clarify – I don't want to hang out with Yacht Boy or Coco, nor do I want to see some kooky exhibit (although I am a bit overly enthusiastic when it comes to Impressionism). I just feel....unevenly matched...which I guess is the only way I can think to begin to describe it at the moment.
I'm drawn back to that same question again - are there jobs that I won't do? Yes. My knee-jerk response is, that's why I went to college (Wow, what a brat). Is this the American Dream? I can't help but whine, now what?
All that remains true in my heart is that I love teaching, and I love teaching English. I miss having a classroom I can call my own.
I applied for my first non-teaching job today. It kind of hurt.