Tag Archives: work

Working Girl Once Again

In June I was on a blogging roll. I hadn’t written that many posts in a month since — well, since last summer. July has returned to a slower pace, and perhaps you are wondering why. (Probably not, but humor me, won’t you?)

The reason is a happy one. Last week I started a new job! I’m working part-time for a national bookstore chain. (Surely you can’t guess which one.) Part of my plan for the next year was to get a retail job with flexible hours, and my dream scenario was getting to work with books. So far the new job is working out wonderfully. I was a little nervous about returning to a customer service job after a year in teaching, but those old habits are coming back easily. So although it pains me slightly to be working for the Man, at least I’m working for the Man who sells books. And gives me an employee discount on said books.

Working is definitely better for my overall well-being. It gives structure to my days and makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. I should still have plenty of time for blogging and other creative projects. I just need to be a little more organized. It makes me glad that I added weekly features to the blog. They make consistency much easier.

The other big news in my life is that I’m moving to a new apartment at the end of the month. My roommates of the past year have returned to their home states, and I will be living with two friends from Carleton starting in August. The new apartment is lovely, as are the new roommates. It’s an exciting time!

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The Best Time I Got Fingerprinted

Yesterday I found myself at the Clay County Jail. No, I hadn’t committed a crime. The latest and most bizarre step in the MRC employment process was fingerprinting and a background check. It’s as if they don’t want criminals working in elementary schools. Shocking, I know. Needless to say, this was a first for me.

In a burst of self-reliance, I drove to the jail with only a vague idea of where I was supposed to go. I figured that it would be apparent once I got there. Not so, as it turns out. As I approached, there were signs directing me to the jail entrance on the other side of the building. However, what I found was a windowless metal door that was marked as the “jail visitors’ entrance.” A high, fenced-in area with basketball hoops stood a few yards away — a real life prison yard.  “Well, this can’t be right,” I thought to myself.

Back around the building to the police entrance. The doors were locked beyond the entryway with no signs of life inside. A large notice proclaimed that fingerprinting was indeed done at the jail. Great. I returned to the oh-so-welcoming “visitors’ entrance” and went inside. There I found another locked door. To my left was literally the area where people visit with inmates across glass partitions. I had to pick up a phone and tell someone what I was doing there. The woman on the other end said that she would be with me in a moment. “I have someone in holding,” she explained. As in, holding cell.

Finally an officer emerged and led me to a smaller building next door. Apparently other people knew that this is where the fingerprinting took place because there was already a line. The rest of the outing was fairly mundane. I filled out a form and had my fingertips pressed onto black ink pads. This building was almost cheery compared to where I had been before. The fact that men in orange jumpsuits seemed to be wandering freely through the lobby was only mildly alarming. I’m sure the nice police officers had the situation under control.

But kids, don’t go to jail. There are lots of depressing metal doors and glass plates between you and your visitors. And Lady Gaga won’t be there.

*This blog post is inspired by a series of columns on The Hairpin called Personal Bests.

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From the iPod Archives

Today I started my semi-annual stint as an office temp at my mom’s place of work. My main task is sorting through files and recycling documents that are more than three years old. Not exactly glamorous, I know. It is, however, time-consuming, so you can see why they hire a poor college student to do it.

You know how Mary Poppins tricks her charges into thinking chores are fun? When it comes to mundane activities (or Calculus homework), I continue to employ that method with myself. Usually my distraction is simply music. Then the temp job becomes listening to music in an air-conditioned room, which sounds pretty cushy actually. The only problem is that I work for hours at a time. That’s a lot of music decisions to make, and sometimes I even find that — gasp! — it loses its novelty after a few days.

Last summer I combated boredom by putting my iPod on shuffle. I’m normally a bit of a control freak about what music I listen to at any particular time, so this was a radical move. It exposed me to some songs in the SHeDAISY catalog that I might not otherwise have heard. Still, I got annoyed by how the shuffle seems to get stuck on certain artists and plays an unnecessary number of songs that are already on my Top 25 Most Played list. I preferred that it remind me of songs that I wouldn’t have chosen for myself.

This conundrum illustrates how digital music has changed my listening experience. Back in the day, I would buy a new CD and listen to it from beginning to end. New music was scarce and, therefore, to be treated with reverence. Now I can get hundreds of songs at once from a friend. The music lives on my computer, and I’m probably at least surfing the internet while I listen. In the olden days, I also avoided buying more than one CD at a time. I knew from experience that I would fall in love with one and not give the other a fair shot. Imagine the phenomenon multiplied by ten when I have a digital music exchange. There are a significant number of songs in my iTunes Library that have never been played!

That was a situation I set out to remedy this summer, and filing seemed like the perfect time to start. I began with some of the most recent additions from a spring term exchange with Katie, one of my roommates. I had latched on to the fun pop music and neglected other offerings. The most obvious oversight was an entire album by Laura Veirs, a folk musician who also happens to have a geology degree from Carleton. Her song “July Flame” was free on iTunes last January, so I downloaded it on a whim. Unlike most free downloads, this one thoroughly impressed me, eventually rising to the famed Top 25 list. So why had I not listened to Year of Meteors, an entire album languishing on my computer? There was no logical reason!

In case you’re wondering, I liked the album because it felt very “Carleton.” Her lyrics were also very geological, which isn’t something you often get to say. It reminded me of some of my favorite geo majors. Who else would write a love song called “Spelunking”?

If geology references really peaked your interest, here’s “Spelunking” with a fuzzy/cool video.

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