Saturday, February 4, 2012

Working Nine-to-Five (Sorry, Dolly, it’s actually Ten-to-Six. But never fear, I-I-I will always love you-ou-ou…)

In making the big move to the city, I have been incredibly fortunate.  I found a place to live before I moved here, and even if it’s not perfect, it’s on the whole pleasant, and I am becoming increasingly fond of the neighborhood, actually. I have people here in the city so that I’m not completely lonely, and I have people to make plans with and spend time with, and people that watch out for me and invite me in; I couldn’t do the cold-turkey move without any connections, I don’t think. I’m certainly not that brave.

And I found a job in a relatively short amount of time.  Two, actually.  I was officially hired by Panera Bread for a hot minute, but “quit” before I started training because…I found a little something else that makes me feel a little bit better about myself. During my first three weeks here in which I was as unemployed and unengaged as I have ever been, in between exploring and writing, I applied to a whole lot of jobs, career-track opportunities to which I’m only barely qualified.  I haven’t heard back from any of them and don’t really expect to.  But I did apply to the position I currently hold, to its somewhat shady advertisement.

It wasn’t an advertisement at all, really.  The job listing didn’t even say what the job really was or what company it was for.  (When I told my dad this, he asked, “Are you sure it’s a real company?”).  But the list called for a researcher/writer with an English background and, preferably, teaching experience.  Um, hello?

To this day, I have no idea why they wanted teaching experience, and I am still definitely working below my degree level (I hope that doesn’t come across as too self-important; it’s just truthful), but needless to say, the interview was short, sweet, and simple, and I got the job.  It’s a temporary full-time freelance position.  This basically means that it’s potentially only for two months (but my boss, Brett, has clearly indicated that there’s opportunity to stay on in the new but growing company), and the freelance business means that 1) I have to take out my own taxes, which is a pain and 2) they have the freedom to pay extremely little.  But it’s still more than Panera.  And it’s a standard, consistent schedule: Monday through Friday, 10-6. After so much craziness of teaching at random times and madly grading and lesson-planning in between, I appreciate the scheduled day…at least for the time being. And the little (ok, big) dreamer in me loves the fact that I go into a Manhattan office every day.

Here’s the breakdown: I work in the Herald Square building, literally right across the street from the gigantic Macy’s store.  Herald Square is the ending point for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Everyday I go in and…I stare at a computer for eight hours with my headphones in, rocking out to Pandora Radio, talking to virtually no one, and viewing my periodic trips to the bathroom as exciting changes of scenery.  But I shouldn’t complain – I have a job.  No, it’s not my dream job or a career, but with the circumstances of the position and my life, it’s a good temporary gig, and I did say I wanted something easy that I don’t take home with me.  I found it.

My work building

Even though it’s not challenging or intellectually stimulating, it’s really not awful, and I need to learn to be more grateful for opportunities! As I sit on the 24th floor of a midtown building surrounded by the “concrete jungle where dreams are made of”*, looking out at Macy’s, exemplar of everything materialistic in this urban setting, I research hiking and outdoor opportunities in state parks for developing apps called PocketRangers.  And I thoroughly appreciate the irony.

Looking out of my office window
When I do talk to people, they are really quite nice.  I share an office with three other people.  Two girls research like I do, but there’s an older fellow named Adam who has clearly been with the other company in the family, a marketing group that develops products like university admissions forms, for many years.  He is delightful.  He tells me little anecdotes about his grandchildren cursing in the car, and he chuckles with obvious amusement. He says, “OK, OK!” all the time and reminds me of Bill Cosby. He speaks really loudly on his many phone calls and always ends his conversations with clients with “Be Good.”  Together with Bob and other-older-gentleman-whose-name-eludes-me, he forms the troublemaking triumvirate in the office, sharing old-man jokes and saying things like, “Bob, you have to come meet Leah.  Quite a kind young woman.  Now, Leah, watch out for Bob.  He’s touched.  You know, he’s not right. Got something wrong with him.” Or Bob comes in (after a phone conversation that we all overhear about how to sell Speedos to a private school): “Adam, are your corrupting these young ladies?  Such a bad influence.  You girls keep it down now.  Don’t get too rambunctious.  Keep this guy in line.”  I was also incredibly excited to discover that there is an Italian on the other side of the office; hearing the language makes me incredibly nostalgic.

When I leave the city one day (who knows when?), at least I will know where to go hiking, biking, rockhounding, or skijoring.  And looking at all of these parks really makes me excited to do so.   Camping trip, anyone? I’ve got the inside info.

*Alicia Keys and Jay-Z, I tip my hat to you.


  1. wow, congrats buddy! may not be the most exciting job for you, but sure is an exciting location and view!! missing you...

  2. I'm loving reading about your life in NY! Very, very exciting! :)

  3. 1) I find it hard to believe Parker contributed to Jessie's comment. 2) Hooray for windows! I actually heard of a study where people are more productive when they have windows in their offices. I share with five people and there is no natural lighting to be found.

  4. Leah,

    I kind of like your is a window of opportunity that could lead to who knows where!! I think it is romantic and you will look back one day and enjoy the moments of "remember when?"

    So, have I told you yet how jealous I am of you? "You is kind, you is SMART, you is important!!"

    Mama Rieves