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work_life_bannerEven though I have never had a full-time job in my nearly (gulp) thirty years of life, I’ve always kept my part-time jobs for an inordinately long time.  My first job not answering phones for my father or baby-sitting, was Dairy Queen when I was fifteen.  I kept that job for a full year, and picked up another one on top of it just to break the monotony of making Blizzards.  That next job– Bjornson Oil– I stayed at for four years.

After setting that precedent, I kept my two main jobs– TV station and Barnes & Noble for five years each, and interspersed those with other more minor gigs, most of which I worked at for at least two years.  Basically, except for a two week stint as a hotel housekeeper when I was 21, I had never had a job for less than a year that wasn’t a temp job–ever.

Then I moved to Rhode Island.

I was thinking about this yesterday, as I updated my employment section on Facebook.  I’m very meticulous when it comes to that section, for some reason, and feel great annoyance with people who aren’t the same about theirs.  Those people probably only have one job, and have had it for years, where I update mine every three months or so.

Since moving here I have worked at three libraries–two public, one private; done a year as a URI Graduate Assistant; was hired as an adjunct professor, and then got cut along with the budget;  and I am now a magazine editor.  That doesn’t sound like a ton of jobs– 6 in total–but I haven’t even lived here two years. That’s a lot of paperwork.

I sat down with a friend who works in public radio a while ago, and we talked about my many jobs for a piece she’s working on.

“Why do you think it is that you’ve never had a full-time job?” she asked.

I sat there for a full minute before admitting that I really have no idea, but that I’ve never really known what I want to do, therefore, never wanted to commit to something full-time that I was half-hearted about.  Also, doing something FULL-TIME always sounded so time-consuming and dull, so much like my parents.

Now, I would really like a full-time job, but no one is offering me one– bittersweet irony.

What I really don’t know is whether or not it makes me look bad for never having had a full-time job, or if all the part-time work I’ve done makes me more well-rounded.  Even though I have all these degrees, whenever someone says something like “professional job interview,” I get very sqeamish and feel like a dirty-faced kid again.  Professional just doesn’t sound like me.  Perhaps if I got a suit and wore it around the house…

I moved out to Providence with only what fit in my car.  I found out that it would cost $2000 to rent a truck that I wouldn’t be able to drive, and then Jill and I would have to ride in separate vehicles thereby ruining the whole “roadtrip” aspect of the moving.  My stuff was not nice, it was not worth even $500, as I found out when I tried to sell it.  So I arrived in New England with some clothes, cookware, and my cat.  My landlady was nice enough to lend me a bed and TV for the duration of my tenancy, and she gave me a wingback chair.  I figured that I’d just sort out the rest once I got settled.

 When I arrived, landlady’s boyfriend said that he has a couch and table and chairs that I can have, but he has no truck so I’d have to figure something out. I said “yes” I will rent something, no problem.  Then I never heard anything else about it.

 I called and left a message asking if I could still have the stuff; I don’t want to be too pushy since this is a huge favor, but I want to know if I can still have this stuff or if I need to make other arrangements.  Then I called again, and found out that he may have a friend with a truck and he’s trying to sort that out.  That’s cool.

 Meanwhile, my apartment is 1100 square feet, and all I have is a chair and a trunk that is serving as my desk.  I’ve got stacks of stuff to put on the walls, but I don’t want to pounding holes if I need to move it after I get furniture. Sometimes, I move the chair from the sitting room to the living room and work at the kitchen counter so I don’t have to have my laptop on my lap.  A while ago, when I had one of those irritating hangovers where reading hurt and all I wanted was to watch TV and overeat, I dragged my mattress into the sitting room and laid on that all day, then dragged it back to my bedroom when it was time to sleep.

 Then I ran into landlady’s boyfriend on the stairs and he asked, “Do you still want that stuff?  I have a couch, a table and chairs, and I think, like a lamp, maybe an end table.”

 “Yes, I will take whatever you have.  All I have right now is a bed and a chair.”

“Well you got the TV, right?”

“Yes, I have to TV too.”

“You get your cable set up?”

“I don’t need cable.”

There was a long pause as he digested this bit of information, finally, when it got awkward, I threw in, “I have an antenna.”  I’ve only remembered to actually watch TV twice because this is the first time in 3 years that I’ve gotten any channels. I don’t even know what’s on besides the news and Heroes, but I didn’t tell him that.

“Well, then you’re set.  Maybe we can move the stuff on Friday, I’ll let you know.”

Friday has passed, and I’m still without options as to what to sit on.  But I have the TV–so I’m set.  I just don’t get that.  I can’t sit on the TV, I can’t eat off of it, I can’t keep my clothes in it, it doesn’t provide very much light.  I’m glad I have it, I’ve watched lots of DVDs on it, but I’d trade it for a couch.  I’m not trying to be one of those “I don’t need a TV assholes,” like Vincent from Pulp Fiction, but it is clearly a luxury item.  Isn’t it?

 When I told people that I was selling my TV and reluctant to spend money on a new one (I’ve never paid for a TV and I don’t ever want to), they were horrified. More horrified it seems that when I said I wouldn’t have a bed.  Then I’m made to feel extravagant because I have 2 Ipods.  My best friend LeAnn, just moved into a new apartment and had to leave her bed, but took the TV.  She’s sleeping on the floor, but has a TV and DVD player.

 I don’t get it, but at least I’m set.