A Part-Time Affair

Source: Clipartkid
Source: Clipartkid

As I signal my way into the left lane of U.S. 1, I immediately realize my mistake. Not five seconds after doing so, a pick-up truck also changes lanes and is now intimate and somewhat disrespectful of my car’s personal space. Tailgating is one thing, but this is more like bumper cars at the fair. When you can clearly make out the driver’s Circle-K coffee cup in his hand, perhaps things are just a little too cozy at 60 miles per hour

Ah, yes, the morning rush hour commute. I had forgotten its charms.

I am running late for work. How the hell did this happen?

It had always been a pre-retirement plan of mine to return to work in some kind of part-time capacity. After making a few rookie mistakes within a month or two of our settling in Florida (i.e. applying for so-called “jobs” on Craigslist or sites such as Monster¹), I quickly focused on a more comfortable pursuit: being a full-time blogger and establishing street cred as a self-appointed bon vivant. I was in no hurry to return to anything that resembled my former life.

My undoing was subscribing to an email list of actual library jobs in the state of Florida. Along with my morning cup of coffee, I would skim through the daily listing of vacancies while whispering faux indignancies of “never, “are you kidding me?,” “oh, please, or “when pigs fly, maybe.” The mere act of subscribing to this service provided me with a self-fulfilling prophecy to abstain from any formal working environment. Apparently no job in my former line of work could ever be good enough for me anymore.

Until that is when one that is perfect for me in every way ruined my beautifully constructed karma of late morning wake-ups and 9:30pm egg foo young runs. I had such a good thing going for myself too.

Without my knowledge at all, my computer clicked on a link, uploaded my resume, and applied for a job. It’s a scary scenario. One minute he and I are simpatico in spending our afternoons watching old Dean Martin roasts on YouTube (wasn’t Orson Welles freakishly scary when he used his immense girth to fake-laugh through those awful Foster Brooks jokes?), and the next he’s deciding that I need to get out more.

Everyone said, “Get a Mac, it’ll simplify you’re life!” I now live in fear of the damn thing.

Source: Clipart Panda
Source: Clipart Panda

Anyway, since August I have been working part-time at a county public law library. I answer reference questions from mostly pro-se litigants (people who represent themselves) and a smattering of local attorneys who use the library. I wouldn’t say I’m back in the saddle again, but it is pretty much like putting on an old fuzzy sweatshirt that’s sat in the bottom drawer for the last two years. It still fits, but it needs a good washing.

Because my knowledge of Florida law was sadly limited to media coverage of the “Stand Your Ground” statute only, I face a bit of a learning curve. But I quickly grasp the “Summary of Administration” rules to probate a will, how to change the terms of a court-ordered probation, and how to assist those who come in wanting to file for divorce or seek child custody. There are forms for each of these things, and I now (hopefully) know which of them to offer someone.

I spent my entire career focused on the sometimes high-minded and esoteric issues of federal law. This job, however, has me interacting with people who have concerns that are more immediate, pressing, and commonplace. It involves a slightly different skill set than the one I previously used. I noticed immediately that I’m rusty.

After three weeks of working alongside each of my new co-workers in informal orientation sessions, I am set loose to work my own solo shift. Poof! I’m an employed librarian again, skill set be damned.

My schedule is generally two days a week, approximately 8-10 hours total, with a mix of either morning or afternoon coverage. One Saturday a month I have to open and close the library from 9-1 pm. Back when I was working full-time I used to fantasize about having hours like these. So what happened the first morning I had to get up by 7:00am? I bitched and moaned, and Gorgeous gave me absolutely no sympathy. Put your big boy pants on, Dude, and bring a carton of milk home when you return. She’s strict.

Speaking of pants, I still have no use for my former work wardrobe, which continues to sit idle in my closet. I guess they remain for weddings, funerals, and bar mitzvahs only. This job allows me to come in wearing nice jeans, a casual button-down, and a pair of comfy sneakers. It reminds me of that silly “Casual Friday” phenomenon back in the nineties. I wish I had kept the missive management sent out giving us “permission” to dress down in an appropriate manner. In hindsight, it may have been my Buzzcocks t-shirt that inspired their memo. I certainly thought it was appropriate.

Source: Hottopic.com
Source: Hottopic.com

My start at this library coincides with an annual requirement that staff be retrained in CPR techniques. We all have to come in on a Saturday for a five and a half hour class on it, and are required to read a study book ahead of time. I skimmed the book only. Sadly, my interest in CPR and lifesaving is limited to watching Baywatch reruns and pretending to focus on the beaches and beauty of the California coastline. Somehow I made it through the class, though I clearly didn’t fool the instructor at all.

Next year Gorgeous and I will in all likelihood move to what I hope is our “forever home” in St. Augustine, which is about three hours to the north of where we live now. So I’ll lose this job. Perhaps I can latch onto something else similar up there. In the interim, it’s good to make a few extra shekels and build a tiny network of Florida library contacts. I even created yet another LinkedIn account after I unceremoniously ditched my previous one (“2014-2016: online philosopher, spirit mixer“).

So I do ask for your collective patience if you see me on the road on the morning or evening commute. I’m still a little out of practice with that whole rushing thing. And please: don’t be so intimate with my car.

Until next time…

¹ In hindsight I’m really, REALLY glad I never found a job from either of those sites. Only in some parallel universe can I ever imagine saying the words, “Yeah, I found my job off of Monster. Pretty cool, huh?” Who names a web site for jobs “Monster” anyway?

36 thoughts on “A Part-Time Affair

  1. Well…driving in FLORIDA! There’s your problem. I’ve never seen such a thing in my life as the drivers down there. Tailgaiters? I have always wanted to invent some kind of neon light that you can turn on that says “BACK OFF” or something a little more offensive. LOL
    If somebody is tailgaiting me (and I don’t mean if I’m parked in the fast lane, looking for dandelions in the median) I simply slowly take my foot off of the gas. Slamming on brakes…not good….but when they realize that you’re actually slowing down, they’ll either back off or whip around you. flicking you off or whatever those jackasses do.
    St. Augustine is a pretty city. I’ve been there. I enjoyed going in the fort but the ceilings were so low. I guess they made people shorter back then. I loved walking around, trying to imagine life there and what and who the men who were there were like.
    Okay….I’ve lost track. What was your post about? LOL

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laurel, you never fail to make me laugh. Except, of course, when you make me cringe. 😉 I know, I know, I actually did a post on Florida drivers and thought about including it here. But too many links is dizzying for a reader, so I decided not to include it. But you’re right — they are awful drivers here!

      My wife really loves the vibe in St. Augustine. It’s quite mellow up there, and not a place for snowbirds because it’s too cool for them in the winter. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ascuse please? I make you cringe? LOL
        I guess like Jacksonville, St. Augustine would be a little cool during the 2 days of winter that Florida has. The temperature plummets all the way down to 70 and it gets “bitter cold.” Ha.
        There are a lot of “half-backs” here. People way up yonder in the North, move to Florida and find that it’s just too hot, so they settle in the Carolinas….”half way back.” 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Re: driving. When we were being taken around by a real estate agent up there, we came upon a car accident that took the lanes down to one in order to pass it. Being sharp-eyed and quick as someone in her profession should be, she quickly pointed out to us how everyone one was waiting their turn and not trying to go around. Sure enough, she was right. I wondered if I was in the same state! lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I especially appreciated your footnote about Monster.com. This year I was a presenter at a local law librarians’ conference and my topic was recruitment. I stressed the importance of the personal touch in applying for a position in your career field, since the recruiter/applicant exchange of information is a bit of a dance. I even asked the group if there was ever a worse named service than “Monster.com” for bringing together two people who will be having a fairly close relationship. It completely misses the personal aspect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right? When I first started looking at the job sites (none of which, including the one called “Career Builder,” are worth wasting any precious time) I thought for sure the Monster one had to be a joke.

      Craigslist jobs are an exercise in pfishing control for your antivirus software. Many are real, but others are just after your personal information.


  3. I laughed! Out loud! I took a training gig in the spring. It was six weeks, 2 days a week, 2 to 3 hours each day. I’m an early riser but I don’t like to rush. Being ready to speak lucidly before 9 a.m. almost killed me. I enjoyed the people and the money and will do a again but it’s always a long 6 weeks! So you are choosing St. Augustine! That should be an interesting blog.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Amateur. Alas, I was one of those tailgaters there in my youth. No one was fast enough. I had places to go and things to do. It would infuriate me when traffic would come to a halt on I-95 for nothing more than a fallen palm frond. Now, 30 years later, older and calmer (because I didn’t take Xanax back then), my plans to spend half the year in Ft. Lauderdale, will probably teach me to be a better driver. Thanks for the reminder about South Florida traffic.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I get all twitchy when I think about working again… even part time. A few things get me into rush hour traffic – my evening book club and dinners out with friends – but I’ll do just about anything to avoid it. Even during my last few years of full-time work required only a few mile commute on surface streets. Please be careful of those semis – they can be crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You need to talk them into arranging a work from home part time position. But it does sound like you’ve hit on a perfect job for you. I like the lack of dress code part the best. But if you worked from home you could actually wear your pjs.And if you move, and be really secretive about it, they’ll never know and you can keep your job forever. I loved St. Augustine when we visited.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have my moments, Donna. Like right now, for instance. I’m up early and need to leave the house by 8:00am. I much prefer the afternoon shift instead! All of this ends when we move next year, so if there’s another job in my future I know now to protect my mornings!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. hehehe and I thought I was bad..gave up my two days a week 16 hours for 10 hours a week spread over 2 days. Um and 4 hours on a Sat so all up 14 hours a week. Looks good on paper except work keeps on giving me more shifts. So now I’m averaging 40 hours a fortnight.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I do understand. I have limits to how much I can make so that my retirement annuity from my former employer isn’t jeopardized. Now in truth, the cap is high enough so that I don’t really have to worry about hitting it. But I’ve used that penalty to make it clear to my new employer that I can’t work too much. Sadly, it hasn’t worked out so well for me. After working one eight-hour shift recently, I made it clear I didn’t want to do that anymore. I was exhausted! But sure enough, they ran into a scheduling snafu later this month and I agreed to do it again. Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. 8 hours is exhausting ..at least you’ve got an excuse . I told the manager last week don’t give me anymore extra as I can’t juggle..I get text messages asking me to start early ie . 730am-6pm with half an hour break. If I sleep in then it’s too late to work the early 😊 as my shifts are 1230pm til 6pm

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Never too late to volunteer. I love it so much that I kind of miss it when I don’t. Might give work a break after my contract ends so I can volunteer more. Plus plenty to do as is. Not sure about being a lady of leisure though. It’s the boredom that gets to me .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I run hot and cold on the whole “leisure” thing. I spent two years after retiring doing nothing but reading books and going to the gym. It was, well, heaven. But then I decided I had to do something, so getting the part-time job was good for me. It’s only going to last until we move, and then I’ll have to start over. But, yeah, volunteering is still something I want to do. I really, truly do want to help others and contribute to something other than my laziness. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hehehe it is easy to let the days just fly by. I know I do some days and then hate myself for it. I’m one of those that get bored sitting around . Then I fill my days with so much that I need a break and the cycle starts all over again

        Liked by 1 person

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