January 1986

Philadelphia_skylineWell Lou and I are both miserable at our jobs. I finally got a position at a small company in Philadelphia I thought would be good, but it is an absolute nightmare. The money beats what I had been doing before I got hired, which was waitressing at a Greek diner in Jersey. The restaurant owner was the epitome of a male chauvinist pig. He was short and fat and greasy and kept hitting on me, saying he wanted to make a baby together. When I left, I told him that I had to quit because my husband didn’t want me working anymore. I figured I’d go with something he could comprehend. I never told him I had a college degree and that I just hadn’t had luck finding a job yet in my field. I was so frustrated being home not working and not going to school. One day, I woke up to a phone call from a woman from personnel at a local company, who said they received my resume, and asked if I was still in the job market. She said Mr. Johnson would be giving me a call later that day for a telephone interview. I was so excited, and waited all day by the phone, but no call ever came. The next day, I called the company but there was no Mr. Johnson there. I didn’t know what to think. I must have made the whole phone call up in a dream, because they never did call me again, (or ever I guess, for that matter). Anyway, after that I started looking at jobs in restaurants so I could make some cash and kill time until I got a real job. It didn’t take long.

In October, I started working at a very small company in Philly. The guy who owns it is really quirky at best. When I first got there, his employees were still mad because he had gotten behind in payroll when he used the money to buy and scalp Live Aid concert tickets over the summer. My job was supposed to be temporary office manager while the regular woman was on maternity leave, and then I was to transition to being a programmer when she returned. The reality is the company is so small, that everybody is everything. I even clean the toilets because nobody else will do it, and the bathroom was disgustingly gross before I got there. Shipments received are all on COD because the company’s credit is shot. I have to dodge phone calls from bill collectors all day. He has some great clients who are doctors at the local hospitals, but he is mainly hoping that money will come in from a government contract we just put in a bid for, where we would build portable computers to be used by the military in the field. We put in a lot of work into that proposal, and barely delivered it there in time, but we made it just under the wire.

I’m still looking for another job. The only thing good about where I am is the money and the location. I take the train from Jersey, and sometimes I meet Lou for lunch downtown, but that may not be for much longer. He’s looking to get out of Price Waterhouse, because it’s such a bureaucracy there, and he’s frustrated because he does all the work and the more senior people take all the credit. He was so pissed when someone took Lou’s name off a report he had prepared. Now they want him to go on a long-term assignment down in Washington, DC working at the Mint, doing the same type of project he did here at the Philadelphia Mint. He thinks it is just going to suck, and doesn’t want to go. His manager has been trying to coach him, and called Lou a one-man band, and told him that he can’t just take his bat and ball and go home when he doesn’t like how the game is going. Lou basically told him that he could and he would. His previous manager told him that when Lou liked what he was doing, nobody could do a better job, but when he didn’t like it, there was nobody who could do it worse. That’s why it was time for him to move on before, and why it’s time again now. It just hasn’t been that long, so he’s worried that he’s going to get a reputation as a job hopper. I think wherever he goes next, he’s going to have to stay there for a while, so he’d better make sure he’s going to like it. He didn’t argue with what the managers said, because he knows they are right. We joke about the one-man band thing all the time. When he gets going about his work issues, I’ll pretend I’m playing a trumpet and banging symbols between my knees. It makes him laugh. I tried to buy a little one man band statue for Christmas but couldn’t find one. Maybe I should get him a bat and ball.

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