Sometimes, I fondly remember my days as a state employee. You know, a public servant. I could show up at 7:59 a.m., sign in, and go to my desk to pick up where I left off. That would be writing up statements of claimants and employers involved in unemployment claims, or calling numbers out of the crowd to file new claims, or sorting the office mail if it was my week to do so.
As if that was not paradise enough, I could count on a thirty-minute lunch outside or in the break room, or even walk a block down and buy twenty-five-cent Little Debbies at 7-Eleven. If the mood struck me, I could stretch out under the table, arms folded like an 1800s-era corpse, and catch three-and-a-half winks like my colleague, Cliff. But a lunch without watching claimants and claimants watching me was not all. I also had two fifteen-minute breaks per day! To gossip. To go get a Slurpee. To sit in the sun. To watch people smoke. To hear stories of how my buddy, Shirley, sat on a bee and had to have the office counselor inspect her butt for the stinger. Good times!
Never did I ever have to attend a game of basketball between our office supervisors and those of the Crestwood office. Nor did I have to watch out for hanky-panky amongst the staff at an unemployment service/job service prom. And I most certainly did not have to patrol outside with a whistle around my neck, lest one claimant decide to beat another claimant to a pulp...or even worse, follow him around, looking at him.
When the clock ticked 5:00 and the receptionist gave the all-clear, my working day was done! And nary a vocational thought danced in my head until I signed in the next morning. I did not have to plan what I was going to do each day. Or call a claimant's parent if he did not show up for his four-week, in-person interview. Or make sure nobody cut donuts on the parking lot. Or take away claimants' cell phones.
Granted, I was not feeling so mellow at 5:00 p.m. Christmas Eve. Or all day on Good Friday. But I did not begrudge myself June and July. I could still stay up late. Go fishing after work. Not be recognized if somebody twisted my arm to enter an unsavory establishment.
Once Genius was born, my rose-colored glasses fogged up. How unfair is it for a baby/toddler to be housed in daycare all the live-long day, five days a week, forty-nine days a year? Because Karma and Even Steven have my back, I had an opportunity to return to teaching the year The Pony reared his precious little head, when Genius was three. Teaching. With glorious chunks of summer interspersed with frantic late-night scrambling.
Life. It's all about the trade-offs, isn't it?