I managed to feel good about my new job for two entire whole weeks.
Until I had a conversation with the girl they hired a few days after me to take care of their accounting. She's in college, and probably more than a decade younger than me.
She found out I wasn't from Columbus, and asked how I'd come to be here in Ohio.
"Well, I grew up in Texas, and went up to Indiana for grad school. I got my MA, worked for IU for a few years, then came out here for a job."
Her eyes widened in disbelief. "You have a Master's degree?"
"Yep. In journalism."
"And you're working here?"
Suddenly I was flashing back to my second day on the job when I'd just been hired on as the webmaster at the Ohio Consumer's Counsel. I was talking to one of the lawyers there about what I'd done before when she looked at me disbelievingly and said "What are you doing in a place like this?"
I'm working, and trying to make a little freakin' money. Thanks.
"I mean, you can't possibly like it here, can you?" the collegiate accountant persisted.
I knew what the look on her face meant. People often assume that employers will fall all over themselves to hire someone with a graduate degree, when the reverse is often true. If your chosen field isn't hiring, even if you have other mad, marketable skills, your "overeducation" leaves you in an employment situation comparable to not being able to get laid in a whorehouse.
"No, I like it here fine," I replied. She was still staring at me with utter disbelief, so I added, "The job market's really bad right now, you know."
"I don't think the guys think you like it here," she said. 'The guys' being my boss and our sysadmin. "I think they think you don't like them cuz you just sort of stay at your desk with your headphones on."
And then I was flashing back to the advertising job I had at IU. My supervisor had brought me in for my first evaluation and said, "Lucy, it's good that you come right in and get right to work, but you need to mix a little more." That job ended up not going well, not because I didn't do my work well, but because my supervisor decided I wasn't a "team player", despite my best efforts to be one of the social butterflies she wanted us to be.
"No, I like you all just fine," I told her.
And I do. But the boss has given me a target of 100 annotated sites to add to the database each day, which is a nontrivial amount to do.
"I have quite a lot of work to do, and I'm always falling behind," I continued. "If I'm not out here chatting with you guys, it's because I'm trying to get my work done."
The look of disbelief never left her face.
... And now for something completely silly, with apologies to The Cure
Picture, if you will, a lonely stretch of beach somewhere between Toon Town and Sin City.
Bugs Bunny lies on the wet sand, bound hand and foot.
Elmer Fudd stands over him, surly and menacing in his Doc Martens and black jeans, his shaved head shining dully in the weak light filtering through the overcast sky. He lifts the collar of his black motorcycle jacket against the chill wind coming off the waves, raises the barrel of his sawed-off shotgun, and begins to sing:
Standing on da beach
With a gun in ma hand
Stawing at da sea
Stawing at da sand
Stawing down da bawwel
At da wabbit on da gwound
I can see his open mouth
But I hear no souwwwnd
I'm da stwanger
Kiwwing da wabbit!
Bugs struggles against his bonds. Elmer stops singing, his finger tightening on the trigger ....
Does Bugs escape, or does the sand run red with acrylic bunny blood? It's your call ....