Friday, March 15, 2013

I Lucked Out: My 20 Year Work Anniversary

On Monday, March 15, 1993 at 9:00AM, I started my first shift working at the public library.  On Friday, March 15, 2013 at 9:00AM, on my 20 year work anniversary, I was celebrating the first day of spring break in my back yard by kicking around a soccer ball with my six-year-old daughter.

In 1993 I was a 22 year old college dropout, in the last few months of a three-year relationship with a woman who remains to this day one of my best friends.  In 2013 I'm a 42 year old with an Associate's degree, in a ten year relationship with a man who puts up with my quirks and likes me more because of them, whose love for me, in sexy symmetry, equals mine for him.  I lucked out.

In 1993 I wanted to be a writer but I couldn't figure out how to support myself financially.  I figured being around books and people who like books and information would be a good way to spend my day.  I had applied for six jobs before someone finally offered me a page position.  When I mentioned to a co-worker how excited I was that they finally hired me, she burst my bubble a little by informing me that this time I was the only one who had applied for the job.  I lucked out.  I worked 15 hours a week and made $6.63 per hour - almost twice as much as I'd made in my previous jobs at a subway shop and being a nanny for a rich family.  I felt like a grown up for the first time in my life.  I felt nervous and scared, but mostly I felt excited.

In 2013 I am a writer but I still can't figure out how to support myself financially by writing.  I still work at the library.  Twenty years and they haven't fired me yet!  I met my husband Will when he also worked at the library.  Then he quit to work for a friend, and we got married.  Then we had a kid.  If it weren't for the library I would not be Will's wife or Katie's mother.  By the time Katie was born, I worked full time and I continued to work full time for five years until my doctor advised me to cut back my hours at work if I was serious about my mental health.  I had doing-too-much syndrome.  Now I work 24 hours a week and make a living wage helping people who love books and information, and I write and do housework and care for my husband and child at home.   And our pets.  So much freaking pet hair and vomit to deal with.  But it's OK.  They're worth it.  They're just a bunch of furry love fuzz balls.  Except for Thatcher the cat.  He acts like he's feral.  I don't know why I put up with that fucker.

There is currently no cure for doing-too-much-syndrome so I'll probably have it for the rest of my life, but it's manageable.  Side-effects are a sinkful of dirty dishes and wrinkled, unmatched clothes, and occasional uncontrolable swearing.  And yet, somehow, despite all my care-taking responsibilities I still feel like a kid, on the precipice of something exciting and fulfilling.  Not really knowing where it is I'm going but feeling confident I will once again luck out.