|view of the Merchandise Mart in Chicago|
from Union Station
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?
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