Thursday, September 5, 2013

My Current Gig

Background information: my resume.
I sorted moss, was a carnie*, and worked for a moose selling nachos with the fake cheese poured atop. I mentored middle-school girls and their mood swings. I worked two whole days at Hollywood Video and probably triple that at a burger joint.
I earned a high school diploma.
I taught kindergarten in a village in Honduras. I managed an FDA medical device case study by morning and flipped and rented apartments by afternoon. I taught Mexican immigrant kids to read in Spanish so they'd have a foundation to work from in their regular English classrooms. I designed and sold greeting cards.
I graduated with my bachelor's degree.
I was a "stay-at-home" foster mom Monday through Friday to 6 teenagers who went to four different schools. I administered state reading tests in elementary schools. I kept company, fed and bathed an aging woman. I ran an after school program for middle-schoolers.
I earned my master's degree.
I substitute taught on the first day of school and somehow mysteriously became the teacher in that same room for several years. I sold stuff on Craigslist. A lot. And translated newsletters.
I moved to the Dominican Republic.

*carnie = funfair employee should you be sophisticated and therefore unfamiliar with the term

While I think we can both agree, dear reader, that working for a moose is awesome, my current gig is the best yet. Its easily the worst paying (yes, less than even sorting moss into piles), but I am the absolute happiest. That is saying something, because I never stayed in a job I didn't think was wonderful for at least one reason (please see Hollywood Video job). So I have enjoyed my varied employment. Honestly.

I am not a librarian, but I go to a small, community library every day. I work with kids struggling to read. I fix, paint, sand, rearrange, organize, clean and problem solve. I'm a matchmaker: shy 8 year old, meet Hugo Cabret. Rambunctious boy, this is "Ferocious Reptiles." Teenager, allow me to introduce you to the beauty that is Isabel Allende. I teach parents how to support their kids' reading at home. And I struggle with the fact that to a person, parents end up confiding in me a laundry list of relationship/job/life problems to which I have very little to respond considering I am neither a counselor nor terribly experienced at life.
The learning curve is more of a sheer cliff. I often turn to Josh, "I'm tired," and he nods knowingly. It's the kind of exhaustion that a good night's sleep or caffeine won't fix. But we enjoy it all the same. Slivers of light are breaking through as we experience small successes. We're overcome with gratitude and awe any time we look back on our journey from there to here: from the hundreds of hours logged in late night conversation to individuals the world around who have contributed a few bucks, a few books, and bunches of emotional boosts.
I like to come in early, hours before we open. There is always so much to do. Some snapshots taken during one such morning:

Our youth & adult section.
Announcement board and upper-elementary & middle-school section.
From the front door.
A recent acquisition: enormous world map. It has already sparked many conversations with patrons about the world and it's immensity.
If you need a new gig--even a short term one--consider this one. The internet says Gandhi once wrote, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." Come and get lost.

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