Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Jack of All Trades


            I am a Graduate Student.

            That’s an odd way to identify yourself, especially the area in which I live where you are pretty much defined by your job. In the Washington, D. C. area, you identify yourself by your name and what you do. It’s like the same way some wild animals tend to identify themselves in the wild, each one kind of wondering who the Alpha actually is.

            “Hi, I’m John Smith, and I’m the Deputy Undersecretary to the Assistant Vice President of the Secretary’s Office.”

            Which means he could do anything from going to get coffee to being the only guy in the office who knows what happens when the printer jams. But not really descriptive of the alpha role.

            “Hi, I’m Jane Jones and I’m the Assistant to the Deputy President of Vice President Relations.”

            Again, impressive title, but at some point someone is just throwing out words until something sticks.

            So I don’t say that I’m a graduate student lightly, because over the past couple of years that’s been my main identity. Well, not a main identity, but the primary way I identify that nebulous question” What do you do.”

            While I was going to school while trying to get my Education Degree, I was a Senior Analyst. That was a very impressive title, despite the fact that I was not senior, nor was I much of an analyst. I did a lot of data entry. I didn’t mind the data entry, I just did a lot of it. Plus they were just on the cusp of reorganizing as I left, which means my title could have been just about anything at that point, I guess.

            Somewhere along the line, I stopped being much of anything other than a Graduate Student.  If you really want to know the number of jobs I do, I have a lot of them. I’m a part time swim coach, which mostly involves standing on the side of a pool and trying to get the one kid that doesn’t want to do the drill to actually do the drill. The 99% of other kids who just want to swim make it really worthwhile, to be honest with you. But if you asked me two years ago if I was going to be the “coach” of anything, I’d probably laugh while changing the show I was watching on Netflix. This was back before shows just automatically started. It was a dark time.

            I’m a private tutor as well. That part is really interesting, because I get to see a little bit of what life would have been like if I’d continued on the path of being a teacher, without all the extra paperwork. Also, I get to teach what I want, so when I assign my kids to watch a few episodes of Doctor Who to get a Thesis down correctly, then you’d better be sure they’re going to watch Doctor Who until they can memorize the episodes. Or at least the better ones. More Tom Baker and Peter Capaldi. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I’m still not really sure what was going on during Matt Smith’s reign as the Doctor.

            I also work at a University. The same one I’m going to, actually, advising students. I find that this is my favorite job of all of them, to be honest with you. Some one comes in with a problem, we talk, and I solve it. Or pass it on to someone who can, because, well, I’m not all knowing. I’m kind of like Lucy in the Peanuts with my little “Psychiatry – 5 cents” sign. Only they’re being charged WAY more than 5 cents for me to hang around. Also the last time I brought a beagle into work it did NOT go well.

            The truly amazing this is that I do even more that those jobs. I think I counted it out and I had six at last count, which I guess is pretty incredible. But the great news is I don’t really have to wear a tie, which is a major bonus. With the coaching one, I even get to wear flip flops, which is incredible thank you very much.

            My point for writing this? Well, to be honest with you, sometimes I write things that I want everyone to read. I want them to disseminate the information, and try to figure out what it is I’m thinking, and hopefully walk away with a better understanding of who I am, and who they are. But for today. I mentioned in my big “don’t call it a comeback I was never gone I was just resting my eyes” post that I needed a break. One of the reasons I needed a break was the fact that yes… I was working a lot of jobs. And the thing is this, it’s rough. I’m not going to lie. I go to sleep tired, and I don’t get much time for breaks. I don’t even really get much time for sick days.  

            But the thing is… I kind of love it. I love not having the exact same schedule. I love all of my co-workers. I love knowing that I’m making a difference. Plus, it cuts back on a lot of those bored times that you often have at work. Those late Friday afternoons or early Tuesday mornings when you’re having a meeting, or trying to fit in that sodoku puzzle in between checking Pintrest for healthy recipes you won’t actually make. It gives me a sense of purpose, so when I’m billing for those hours, I’m less likely to surf the internet or goof off. (Not that I don’t. I’m just LESS LIKELY to do it.)

            I just wanted to post something to remind myself that I do a lot. And that even though I'm tired, I love every minute of it. So, today's post is more for me, but thanks for reading.

            I wear it with pride. I am a Graduate Student. And I do a hell of a lot.

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