Sorry for the late comment; had this stashed in my read-it-later pile. I always enjoy your stories. That was good stuff, I dug it. If you'll forgive a long comment here, I actually narrowly avoided a similar situation. When I moved to Chicago about 6 years ago. My wife had got into grad school here and I felt like a bum living off of her student loans, but I had no job and no prospects after spending the past dozen or so years working in record shops -- an occupation that was quickly becoming obsolete. This local bookstore chain (aw heck, I'll name names, who cares, it was called Barbara's Bookstore) was opening a new location way up in the north suburbs, and they were having a day of interviews, which I went to and got hired on the spot by this textbook Chicago blue-collar manager type guy who was super cool and direct. He was telling me how I would need to start like the day after next and help them get the store set up in some crazy short amount of time, and he was possibly "looking at me as an assistant manager" if things went well. But later that day, I got a callback from another store I'd interviewed with (Half Price Books), and they offered me the job. It paid much less than Barbara's, but they guaranteed 40-hour weeks and you got company-paid insurance after 90 days. So I backed out of the first job (which I still feel a little guilty about) and took it. Then, weirdly, despite it being such an unexpectedly worker-friendly company, and a genuinely nice group of co-workers, I had some sort of existential crisis while working there -- it was like I could just see myself starting all over again with another dozen years in retail and I just couldn't do it. I quit after a week (which I still feel a little guilty about), pulled off a last-minute application into grad school myself, and, long-winded story short, that's how I became a librarian. Life is weird and happens fast. Anyway, that was a long and unnecessary way to say that I saw some little bit of myself in the character you wrote about, and I dug the story. Keep 'em coming!
Mike,So glad you enjoyed, and thanks for this thoughtful comment. This piece is, unlike most of my publications, a straight-up creative nonfiction, which is to say––á la DRAGNET––that "only the names have been changed to protect the innocent." It's strange how these things turn out. Though I have to say that the series of underpaid/soul-crushing/bizarre short-term jobs I worked the first few years out of college were incredibly formative. Thanks for sharing your own story!
Post a Comment