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JobSearchNewspaper_bannerAs I’ve mentioned often, I’ve had a lot of jobs.  Because I’ve also had a variety of positions, I always note how people react when I tell them what I do.  I have this on my mind after coming off a weekend where I met a lot of people, and they asked what I do, and I asked what they do, but it’s something I’ve always noticed and found interesting.  There is always some variance from person to person based on their own perceptions and experiences, but there is a most common reaction for each job.

  • Barnes & Noble, the most common reaction was, “Fun! Wow, so you read a lot?  That must be a great job.” This is usually followed by a small sigh of envy.  This was when I was in my early twenties, so I wonder if the reaction would be different if I still worked there.  My friend and co-worker, The Ausausin, and I used to loathe this reaction and do everything we could to convince the person otherwise.  By this point, we were both quite bitter with our circumstances and the job’s luster had been worn away by horrible management, ridiculous customer demands, and crazy, stalking, and just creepy customers.
  • Tv station, the most common reaction was a wide-eyed, “Really?  That is so cool.  How did you get that job?”  Then there would be a pause where the person would study my face to see if I looked familiar to which I would reply, “I work in production.”  People were fascinated with that job even though it paid the worst and had the worst hours of any position I’ve ever held.  I did enjoy telling people that I worked there, though, because no one had any idea what the job was.  If I was at Barnes & Noble, people could come in and see me working–no mystique there.  With tv station, no one had any idea, and if I did bring them to work, they’d just see a lot of scary-looking equipment and minor, local celebrities.
  • Stupid pepsi–admittedly, when I tell people about this job, I usually say something along the lines of  “I used to work in a call center selling Pepsi products over the phone.” This prompts people to say, “Who doesn’t know about Pepsi that you would have to sell them on it?” Then I explain the situation and how it actually worked, and watch their eyes glaze over.
  • Librarian–this is one that I’m still exploring, obviously.  I read yesterday in one of my library blogs that a woman told a used-car salesman that she was a librarian, and the man laughed out loud, then mumbled something about a dying profession (clearly, she did not buy a car from him).   Thankfully, I haven’t had that reaction yet, but I have encountered a certain amount of skepticism, in particular, when I was in grad school for library science.  I was in the Virgin Islands over the weekend, and I got to chatting with a couple guys on the local bus.  One lived in Puerto Rico, and the other on some other small island, and were the kind of people who talk about buying boats as investments and how great it is to live on a small island in the Caribbean.  When they asked what I did for a living, and I said librarian, the more chatty one said, “Good for you!”  That, or something like that, is the reaction that I get most often.  It’s kind of like if I said that I feed the homeless, or rescue animals or something.  It’s not quite what I expected, but I don’t mind either.

Because this is something I’m intrigued with, I asked The Ausausin, who is now a nurse, how people react when she tells then her job.  “If I just say that I’m a nurse, then they usually seem to feel sorry for me, ‘just a nurse, huh?’ kind of thing.  If I tell them what kind of nurse I am, or what my work actually involves, then people think it’s pretty impressive.”  When my friend the Lutheran minister meets people in social settings, she almost always has to reassure them that she’s not there to judge their choices, just to hang out.

calf_tear_bannerI used to always be jealous of sports-related injuries.  Since I missed out on the glory of being a high-school athlete, I would watch enviously those who were shambled around the halls on crutches with people constantly running up to them asking for progress reports and making sympathetic clucking sounds.  In all actuality, the main reason I was not a high school athlete (besides lack of ability) was because I would not have cared for moments like this, but I still remain oddly jealous.

After high school, I worked at Barnes & Noble for a general manager who was the most terrible human being I’ve ever met.  For example, when I came back from a semester in England, and reluctantly went to ask for my job back, I was told that she was out on medical leave.  When I asked my boss what for, he replied, “they tried to give her a heart, but her body rejected it.”

She was also of that certain age where she had had polio when younger and had one leg shorter than the other.  She had a big shoe, but still had a very pronounced hobble which made her both creepy and zombielike.  It didn’t seem like anyone as gimpy as she should be able to approach so quickly, but you’d see her from across the store, and then next thing, she’s right there with a syrupy smile that always made me feel like I disappointed her just by showing up to work.

It’s funny, because all of these high school athletes were constantly pestered by questions about their injuries and recovery, but no one would have asked her about her limp–the big shoe said it all.

Since I started running, I’ve had a couple injuries. I got a stress fracture about two months after I started running, probably because I was wearing $5 sneakers from Target designed more for fashion than function.  It turned my foot a disgusting shade of purplish green, and made it swell up like someone had injected me with marshmallow fluff, but healed in a few weeks, and hasn’t really been an issue since.  Then yesterday, I was running along merrily, ignoring this twinge in my left calf that I assumed was a strange kind of shin splint that stretching wasn’t helping.  I was determined to “push past the pain” and “overcome.” I was rounding in on mile one, just starting to accelerate, when I felt a pop in my left calf followed by an insane amount of pain.

After freaking out for a while about whether or not I should go to the doctor, I asked the internet what was wrong with me, and it told me that I had a calf pull or calf tear.  It’s not nearly as bad as it could be, it’s barely swollen, and there’s no bruising, but I now have a pronounced limp, especially if I’ve been sitting for a while.  Add this injury to the plantar fascitis that I’ve got going on with my right foot, and I now shuffle out of bed in the morning like an old man grunting and groaning.

The worst part of it all, is that now when I’m at the library, I feel like my old boss at the bookstore.  I shuffle along with patrons feeling like they’re annoyed with my slowness; I see my destination on the horizon and feel like it takes forever to get there; and I feel like everyone is looking at me wondering why the hell I’m walking so strangely, but they would never dare ask.