“How Many Jobs Do You have Anyway?”

Whilst walking through the hallways at work this morning en route to the office where I hope to hide in obscurity until 4PM, I crossed paths with one of the teachers who is always very nice. We made small talk and she asked “So I heard you drive for the ambulance now…how many jobs do you have anyway?”

Currently I’m at three.

Its not uncommon for someone to work multiple jobs this day and age. In fact, its necessary for many of us. I don’t mind it either. The screwed up schedule between the two actual part time jobs plus the ambulance work where shifts are scheduled (but calls are obviously not) is keeping me tired, to be sure. But it is also affording us the opportunity for my wife to stay at home with the boys rather than dump them in a day-care and rush off to a job she would have to be working full-time in order to even cover the COST of day-care. I have nothing against putting a child in day-care, but the cost is what flummoxes me. Where we live, you literally need a full-time job to pay for it, so in the end….you’re not making out any better off. The Narrator gets his social interaction and his education at pre-school, so its not like he’s being sheltered away from other people either. Anyway.

The Narrator knows I’m always running about too. “Daddy,what job are you doing today?”
All of this brings back some stark memories for me from when I was a kid. My father used to bust his ass 6-7 days a week on any number of jobs. At one point, he was working a full-time gig M-F, driving himself TWO HOURS round trip for night school to get his teaching degree, and on Saturdays he would wake up early, and work a few hours at one of the local churches getting it cleaned, swept, and mopped before weekend services. Whenever I start to drag, I simply remember that I’m not the only one who has had to deal with a bouncy schedule in order to make things right for the family.

If you’ve been with me from the start, you’ll remember that I posted about over-extending myself. It may still be true, but I’ve got momentum. I’m looking at the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve got a good crack at a full-time job which could get me (us) out of our slump and put me where I finally think I belong professionally. Hell, I’ll even have a retirement fund. Up to now, my retirement plan has been “die.” And as any athlete can tell you, when the finish line is close, you don’t slow down, you sprint.

The reason I write about this today is because something happened this morning that I wasn’t ready for. I’m always out the door either to work, some kind of emergency, or an interview-related appointment and Mini-Me finally grew fed up with it today. My 16 month old for the first time as he saw me getting ready to leave, tried to fling himself from his mother’s arms until I took him, then he clung to me and cried because I was leaving. When I handed the simpering mess back to my wife and went out the door that was all I could think of. I remembered The Narrator doing the same thing back in the day. And as I stuck the key in the ignition and backed out of the driveway to day #1 of job #1 this week and stared down the barrel of what promises to be a very busy set of days, I realized that this is exactly what fatherhood is about.
It is this blogger’s humble opinion that if you’re doing it at all right, then you hate leaving, but go anyway. No matter if you’ve got ten jobs that barely pay the bills, or one that nets you more rooms in the house than you have use for. My father did it. Hell, he’s been retired for a few years now, but STILL works odd-jobs here and there. (when he’s not trying to saw off fingers) I know now WHY he did what he did. I know why he broke himself for 4 years driving back and forth taking classes at night after exhausting himself during the day.
So when the inevitable follow up question to “How many jobs do you have anyway?” is “Jesus, why?” The answers I give aren’t the real ones, because the people who would understand the real reasons…they’re the ones that don’t have to ask.
My real reasons cried when I left the house this morning. My real reasons will be happy when I come home again. My real reasons will fight me at dinner time, cry at bath time, and snuggle deep on the couch before bed time. Its for these reasons that I don’t destroy the alarm clock when it screeches at me in the mornings, or I’ll haul my ass out of bed in the middle of the night for a call.
….of course, these are also the reasons that daddy is a 2-3 cup of coffee a day kind of guy. But that’s all for another day.

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