Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Extra Work

Valentine's Day had the courtesy to fall on a Monday this year.
That means spare $$ for me as I log a few hours at the local flower shop. No idea what they'll have me do! At Christmas, it was arranging greens in oasis foam. Obviously I'll be spared the needle-poked, sap-covered hands of the holiday season, but I'm guessing I'll be doing something similar for V-day, only with ferns and other floral greens. I am OK with this.

The florist asked me over Christmas if I enjoyed the job. I immediately said "Yes!" She smiled and was happy with the response. I didn't elaborate on why: because I don't have to think.....

I didn't want that to sound offensive because the two sisters who run the shop obviously have to think all day. One is the florist, who has more floral-arranging talent and flair in her pinky nail than I do in my whole body, and one runs the office. The florist gets up at 4:30 every day to get to the flower market in Boston. She always knows exactly what to buy, how much, what colors, etc. The office manager is accused of being ditzy sometimes - she can be, BUT how she always knows what needs to go where and when baffles me. I'm sure I could figure out the system eventually, but still, I love my job, my simple tasks, that require no hard thinking.

I actually have loved most of the more labor-oriented jobs I've had. Landscaping during the summers was my escape, even in the sweltering heat and humidity of a New England August. I adored being left alone weeding in someone's back yard. No one bugged me, spoke to me, emailed me, called me - it was glorious about 90% of the time (because I did work for a handful of jerks, like a woman who would calculate my pay to the minute. Maybe she did this because she was redoing her pool house so it would have a kitchen and laundry room. Another woman made me wheelbarrow dirt uphill for about 6 hours and take care of her dogs when she wasn't around. ugh). I loved counting plovers on a lonely stretch of closed beach. I loved sweeping up after birds at the parrot shelter - and I didn't even get paid for that. They were jobs that gave my mind a rest - I could lose myself in them, get lost in the monotony of planting bushes or looking for bird's nests. I was alone with my thoughts...and there was no drama.

I think I'm looking forward to working not only for the extra cash, which always seems particularly needed after the Christmas bills roll in, but because I need the break. My own job has been seriously dramatic lately, both within the hospital (though that is slowly, slowly dying down) and within the nationwide project. Don't get me wrong, I love working with so many women. It's great to have them as colleagues and mentors...but there is a subset in this project that seem to absolutely feast on drama. It starts with a simple project request, and turns into a flurry of emails and accusations. "She didn't invite me to be on a call" "I wasn't panicking!" "I have a lot of work to do!" I am, invariably, at the center every time. It's a tiresome place to be. At times I think "This is not what I signed up for" and long to look for a new job. It probably won't happen, though, not only because I'm settled here, but because I have a decent salary, fantastic benefits, and I am (hopefully) about to be published as a co-author on a somewhat significant (to the field) paper. I won't lie though, I sometimes see job offerings from the Environmental Science and Policy department at my alma mater and am tempted by things such as "whale monitor, spend a summer off Provincetown counting whales!" or "migratory bird counter needed" or "water quality assurance position for Charles River Watershed." The jobs are usually temporary, and the pay is mostly lousy. It's just not meant to be, I guess. For now, I'll put my headphones on, crank some hip-hop and "Glee" tunes, and try to get through the day without snapping (via email, of course!).

Thank goodness for Valentine's Day!

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