The lady who lives in the apartment downstairs from me was laid off several months ago. I saw her the other day and asked how her job search is coming. “Terrible,” she said, in a voice channeling one of the bailiffs from Night Court. “There’s nothin’ out there. I still got my unemployment and my husband has job security at the cemetery,” she said with a wheezing smoker’s laugh, “but I’m bored out of my mind.”
I slowly shook my head, which she no doubt interpreted as an empathetic gesture. In real life, I was thinking, “You lucky stiff!”
I started my first job back in 1971 at Colonial Cleaners down the street from my house on Lincoln Avenue in Albany, New York. In 110-degree heat from the machines, I tagged and prepared garments for dry cleaning, which often involved the revolting task of pulling dirty Kleenex out of old guys’ pants pockets. From the very first day, I knew that work would be a part of life that was going to suck. I don’t know who came up with the big idea that women have to have a career—I guess it was intended to be a perk of some kind—but 36 years later, I can tell you I’ve never had a day at work that was better than a day at home.
It’s not exactly like I’m toiling in a third-world sweatshop—I have a master’s degree from one of the best technical writing schools in the country, a resume that would knock your socks off, and references that would make you wonder if I paid them handsomely for extolling such high praise. But I repeat: I have never spent a day writing a proposal or some of the other stuff I come up with that was more enjoyable than a day spent cleaning the house and watching Guiding Light. And with a ton of creative projects running through my brain at any given time, I would never, never be bored!
What do you think? If money were no object, would you still work?