Holy moly what a week. I’ll recap sometime this weekend. I need to pound this out and get myself to bed.
- What’s a real-world lesson you learned from your first job?
My first job was putting books on shelves at Aiea Public Library when I was in ninth grade. I made $3.85 per hour ($4.10 after six in the evening — it was a state of Hawaii thing). A good lesson I learned is that small children make a lot of work for people in service positions. The worst part of my job was easily straightening shelves in the easies. There was nothing easy about it. It took me forever to get the easies in order, but there was this girl (actually, she might have been in college, so girl may not be the right word) who seemed to do it really quickly, really well, and without complaint. She just got down to business and got it done, and maybe that’s another real-life lesson I learned there.
- What was pleasantly unexpected about your current (or most recent) job?
Speaking of libraries, I discovered this week in my new job (about which, more later) at the state’s largest university that I have borrowing privileges in the library. I have yet to exercise this privilege, as it’s taken me every ounce of waking energy just to do what I have to do, but I have taken a few moments to look up a few things in the online catalogue, and I have to say it’s all very exciting.
- What are some identifying tools of your trade?
I have two trades: writing and teaching. For writing, I’ll go with my idea board, which is basically a bunch of stickies stuck to a wall. For teaching, the easiest answer is a gradebook, but I haven’t had a physical gradebook in a million years, so I think I’ll go with dry-erase markers. I’m particular about my markers, and I still carry some around in case I’m ever called upon to write on a dry-erase board. This hasn’t happened in half an eon, so this behavior may fade away, but among the first things I put into the top drawer of my new desk at my new job were several Expo bullet-tip dry-erase markers of many colors. These are, by the way, my second favorite. They don’t make my favorite anymore, the Avery Marks-a-Lot markers with the liquid ink in the reservoir. They were so juicy! You could do neat stuff with them, like make ink splatters by whipping them in the direction of the board. I haven’t had occasion to look for some alternative, and it wouldn’t surprise me if someone has filled the niche (there are still liquid ink highlighters out there, so I don’t see why not). I still have one somewhere, the last of a dead breed.
- What’s something a job required that you thought was far outside your skillset?
Counseling frustrated parents of teens. I didn’t get into teaching because I have decent interpersonal grown-up skills. I don’t. But when confronted by unreasonable parents, I’ve learned how to listen to them and somehow talk them down, and get to what was really bothering them (it was seldom about me, no matter how the conversation began). Just listening to someone goes about as far as you need it to.
- Robert Frost wrote, “My object in living is to unite / My avocation and my vocation / as my two eyes make one in sight.” To what degree have you united your vocation (your job) and your avocation (your hobby)?
For most of my professional career, I was all about this. I ache every day with longing to be back in the classroom. But somewhere in the ridiculous demands of that glorious, wonderful, humbling work, I forgot that I memorized, in eighth grade, the last stanza of this poem because I wanted to write. I’m not quite there yet — the type of writing my new work requires isn’t quite it, but I feel I’m getting closer, and it’s why I’ve pursued an opportunity like this (about which, more later).
Almost. The. Week. End.