Monday, September 17, 2012

Best laid schemes o'mice an men

Yesterday, while cleaning out one of my book sacks, I ran into a very old journal I kept while I was a was a naive college student. Reading it was painful! I was still in college, holding my first "real" job, for the company Amtrak.  It was an ideal job for a college student for my hours were 3:30 p.m - 11:30 p.m. , Sunday-Mondays off; these hours allowed me to take morning and afternoon classes. The job however was mind numbing, the dead end for anyone of ambition or with a head full of active brain cells! I was an Information and Reservation Agent, handling non-stop incoming calls from the American public. And believe me, once you have worked with the public, you understand why there are so many bad government leaders.  For  an example, I would answer a call and state  my usual; "Amtrak Reservations and Informant" and I would get an inquiry;"Do you go to Chicago?" "Yes", I would answer,"Where would you be departing from?" And without missing a beat: I would get the answer;"My home." And these people are allowed to vote? It was a frustrating job and many of my co-workers were either pot-smokers or boozers or both. Every shift I worked on there was a group that would go to the parking-lot on break to smoke pot, they used a lot of eye drops. I did get an education in recreational drugs and the power of office gossip. But the greatest lesson I learned was the fact that, no matter what, never get romantically involve with a co-worker. He was a tall nice looking young man, who was a pot-head, as while as a coke head. He is now in upper management with the company.  The company paid for his wife (who also worked at Amtrak) to go to rehab, for drug abuse is no reason for Amtrak to terminate an employee;  only in America! I have no axe to grind with the company or the young man, who broke my heart.  The thing that was painful to read was the fact that I was so broken hearted in the first place. While reading my weepy journal entries, I wanted to shout at the  writer;"Girl; get a life!" I was lucky, that the young man, was wiser than I was, to see we had little in common(one being I wasn't a pot-head or coke head or any other drug of choice in that era) and told me, to take a hike I also felt blessed that I wasn't working for Amtrak. Not that there is anything wrong with the company, they provide a great service, it's just that working for such a major company, I felt like, I was on the road to no where. Not that I had a brilliant career but I love the fact that my resume has so many past job skills and a variety of work experience.  I feel in each job held, I grew as a person, I certainly learned different computer programs and skills,  Oddly enough, it was a blessing being: "Let go" from Amtrak. I was advised, to get a lawyer and get my job back but why would I want to? There was no great career opportunities open for me and my real goal was to get my B.F.A.  and due to the fact that my shifts kept changing, it would have taken me years to finish my college education.  There was a strange feeling of comfort reading that journal, for even though I was going through so much heartache and pain, things worked out better than that young college girl could  imagine. And going through such frustration helped me become a woman.as well as an artist. Thank you my ex-love and Amtrak for  leading me to s different track!

3 comments:

Cat said...

Happy Equinox!

goatman said...

A neat story; thanks for making my day with something happy -- not necessarily your past self on the Amtrack phone but your now self looking back from a different life.

My job during college was at a factory which made transformers (the kind that hang on the poles outside) and I had to clean the metal parts of oil in preparation for their being welded. My machine was ten feet high, five feet wide where I stood and about forty feet long. A set of horizontal hanging traveling screens would pass by and I would load the oily parts onto the screens so that they didn't touch. The machine would spray the parts with a solvent which would wash off the oil then dry the parts with a hot-air stream. Then I would take off the parts wearing heavy rubber gloves and stack them in big wire baskets to be shuffled to the assembly line for use. I often wondered how anyone could do this for year after year (I had only to do it for 3 months) but I guess a person will do what is necessary if depended on by a family -- I was not. I eventually graduated with a BSME and lived ever after.

Sorry for the old memory, but I had need no journal to bring back those feelings.

What kind of art do you do; what is your medium?

Boho mom said...

Cool story -
Love reading old journals....sometimes they show such clarity at a time in our lives when we thought was muddled.
I've been in and out of college, and in and out of dead end jobs - back in school again - the economy sucks and there are no jobs.
Happy weekend!