Let’s just say, I don’t have piles of “Employee of the Month” awards hoarded in a drawer – for starters I was rarely employed for a full month. Outside of academia, I was successfully challenged by the concept of a work ethic. I tried to get the hang of it, kind of, but I am what I am, I can’t deny it. I’ve got a real affinity for sloth. My mother complained I was lazy and inept about helping her with housework. (An effective combination. It was easier to do the dishes herself than enlist me.) Exasperated, she warned me to get rich because I’d need a maid. She intended it as a threat but I heard a swell idea.
During my high school and college years, I worked at various part-time jobs. Bulletin-folder for my father. Neighborhood babysitter. Corn dog cashier at the Santa Clara County Fair, salesclerk at San Jose State bookstore and UCLA bookstore – perfect, except when I had to wait on customers. Paper slicer for two days. UCLA Med Center OB/Gyn ward clerk. Typist at the naval base on Coronado Island.
When I graduated, I figured my days of dead end jobs were behind me. I was eager to launch myself into a fun career like Mary Tyler Moore did on her show. Something in the entertainment business with a warm family atmosphere and witty supporting characters like Mr. Grant and Murray.
At my first employment agency interview, I took a typing test and dazzled the room. (I was not Outstanding Typist of the Year at Wilcox High for nothing.)
“Honey, if you learn shorthand, you can rule the world.”
Hmm, a lack of shorthand didn’t hurt Mary Richards. Why is it a problem for me? In a moment of clarity, the illusion of living Mary Richard’s life dissolves. I face a future as a secretary in a coma-inducing office devoid of wise-cracking curmudgeons.
I know what I have to do. There’s just one place I function slightly better than average instead of below the mean and I can stay there forever if necessary. Grad School, here I come!