Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Job Offer

view of the Merchandise Mart in Chicago
from Union Station
I've always gone wherever the agency has sent me. Up until today.

My regular readers (and you three know who you are) know that I was turned loose on the world after my 30-some years of managing a contractor's office.  I finally ended up as an office temporary. I've had some glorious assignments, including a digital imaging gig in my own cubicle nest to a window on the 13th floor of a prestigious Downtown Milwaukee skyscraper. My last assignment lasted about 2 months, counting the part-weeks.  I was even put on overtime during the height of a massive secret project.  And before I left, the office manager informed me that The People In Chicago were considering me for a permanent position that will be opening early in summer.

Then, as often happens, the assignment ended, and I was once again leading the carefree life of the janitor/handyman in commercial rental properties that my wife and I own. This can get quite desperate, money-wise, but the next assignment always comes just in time.

Yesterday, I got a call from the agency.  "How would you like to work in the First Wisconsin building?" "Great - get me up in the clouds!" - 20-some stories taller than the 411 building.

"It's general office type work - I'm sure you can handle it, based on the good reviews from  your last assignment."  "Yes, yes, send me!"

:"Oh, by the way, it's part-time - seven hours a day" "Well, I suppose they'll insist on deducting a lunch too, so it would actually be six and a half hours a day, probably some Dickensian task-master that expects 8 hours' worth of work in 6 hours - I can do that!"

"And, it's second shift - 3 pm through 10 pm five days a week."  "Well, seeing as how it's such an inconvenient time of the day, must pay a lot more."

"Actually, it pays less than we've ever sent you out for"  "Time to weigh some pros and cons - I'll call you back and let you know."  My mind started reeling as I began to imagine myself as a second-shift worker.

With me on second shift, all activities in my Real Life would all be curtailed. This Thursday for example, my wife's store is staging a fashion show for a suburban event. She can't do it alone. And musical rehearsals -  two shows coming up, and the only time people can come to rehearse is evening hours.   Meeting with tenants for repair/maintenance issues.  And on and on. The "supper hour" is the main time when I see my wife, even when I'm working at home. Under the new hours I would see her rarely.  And the "part-time" aspect of the job, at a very low rate, would bring in less money than I'd ever made in a week. The only "part time" aspect about this job is the hours on the clock - going to/from work by bus, getting ready, coming home, will take the same amount of time out of a week that a full-time job would take.

So the question came down to this:  Would I give up Life as You Know It in exchange for making less money than the lowest-paying assignment I have ever worked, at an odd and inconvenient time of the day?

somewhere in Chicago - ever notice that
sometimes the pictures have nothing to do
with the story? 
How much could I put up with, without refusing work from the agency?  I'd never refused a job before - I'd like the agency to view me as versatile, hardworking, and dependable. Although the answer was obvious, it was still an agonizing decision.  At the end of The Day I Said "NO", I went to bed exhausted.

I hope this does not discourage the agency from offering me future assignments.  Nevertheless, deciding not to accept this assignment has, in its way, affirmed my self-esteem. My time has value, and I do not feel compelled to trade my life for ever-decreasing compensation.

Thank you for shopping at GAR*MART


Samantha Mozart said...

Make me your fourth reader. I have been following your blog for a while, starting with when you went to Paris, and then a long hiatus for whatever reason, until recently when I started receiving your posts in my email again. So, I am one of the phantoms of your blog.

I enjoy your blog and can relate to much you write about, especially the rutabaga.

I can relate to your anxiety-ridden decision about not taking that temp job. I have been there. I like to accept every assignment and show my reliability, but there are just some....

I write a blog and love comments -- we need that feedback. I know some of my readers (my 3 or 4) do not comment. So I determined that they were padding around in there, going through my stuff, very quietly. Therefore, I now have an official Phantom of My Blog. His name is Moriarty.

Samantha Mozart is my pen name.

Thanks. You are a very good writer.

Leslie Hanna said...

Hey, Gary! GOOD FOR YOU! I whole-heartedly support your decision, though I'm not paying your bills, so take it for what it's worth.

I hope the other company comes through with the real job offer early this summer.

PS: I've been taunting you on Twitter with BABY TAPIR ALERTS! Miss you over there.

Stephanie Hart said...

Come...join the ranks of the Night People. Come...learn the joys of becoming tired when the Early Morning News shows the sunrise. Come...join our not offer feeble and tired excuses about other commitments. Come...learn to tolerate comments from less-enlightened types who call you a vampire, witch, zombie or worse. Must go...chores to do and then shower & off to bed with my big black cat.

Still love ya. Love to Joyce, too. Keep in reach, huh?