Back To The Mine

The unbelievable has happened.  After several months of furlough, my company has asked me to come back half-time.  20 hours a week.  Half of my regular salary and health-care.

I have to admit – it never occurred to me that I would come out of all this with a job.  I have been assuming that I would get the call any minute that I would be officially laid off.  My company was extremely generous to keep me on furlough despite how devastated the travel industry continues to be but I just didn’t think it could continue indefinitely. 

What this means is that I have completely given myself over to the idea that I am done with work, despite the fact that I certainly haven’t gotten the hang of retirement.  Even after all these months, I tend to beat myself up for “wasting” time when I don’t get enough done during a day, even when I don’t actually have anything that needs doing.  The house is cleaner that it has been in years, cooking is happening, crafts are being done, animals are happy but this is not taking up massive amounts of time.

I accepted the work offer (if I hadn’t, then I WOULD have been laid off at the end of March) and I “start” on Monday.  Of course, I don’t get my new equipment until Tuesday morning, so my 20 hours won’t really start until then.  Several of my previous programs have re-scheduled or are in the process so there is actual work to be done, just not sure how much time it will take.  Work will still be done from home – our company has officially closed its offices until June and I will stay home until the pandemic has passed.  So my “lady of leisure” phase has passed but at least it’s for a job I like.  For now.

What job would you REALLY not like to do?

66 thoughts on “Back To The Mine”

  1. Congratulations, vs! Everything sounds great except the half coverage of health insurance, but getting half is much better than getting none. Given how badly the virus has blighted the travel industry, half a job is way better than no job.

    What people who worked halftime tell me is that it is hard to keep the work at 20 hours a week. You don’t want to work 40 hours to get paid for 20. But I can imagine that even that might be better than having no income at all.

    I think many workers would prefer a halftime job instead of no job at all as a way of transitioning into retirement. It just doesn’t get offered very often. So, again, congratulations.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I’m so pleased, VS, that you’ll be going back to work, even if it’s half-time. I had shared your trepidation about whether or not you’d ever be able to go back. I took some comfort in your apparent equanimity about your while situation, but I’m sure you must feel a great sense of relief.

    What job would I really not like to do? If I’m honest about that, it’s too many to enumerate. Let’s just say that I’m glad to be of an age where no one expects me to go back to work. Been there, done that, and I’m now officially a woman of leisure.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I would not like to work for a health insurance company to assess claims. Yuck. I also wouldn’t like to work for the Social Security Administration or the Internal Revenue Service.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We are stuck in a nightmare IRS loop, according to our tax preparer. In December we got a blank form from them saying to complete it, but nothing they refer to, including the line on the tax forms, even exist. Our tax preparer called the IRS, got no answer, so then mailed a letter with the form, asking them “What Do You Want?” Then we started to get demands to pay money from the 2018 tax year that we have already paid (and yes, we can prove it). I talked to my tax preparer, who says she has about a half dozen clients getting these letters, none of them owe anything and are updated on filings, and the IRS will not respond. She says not to do anything, except write a letter to them stating that we are up to date on all our tax filings and payments.

      When that finally washes out, it will be an uproar. It appears to be some kind of a computer error.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I worked for the IRS, and it was actually a pretty good job, paid about twice the minimum wage at the time, plus they put cash in a flexible spending account for medical and dental expenses. I needed a crown around that time, so that cash was very timely. I worked in forms a publications, so I did not have to audit anyone or give them bad news about owing a lot of money. Also it was a work from home job, and I liked that a lot. I would take a break to put something on the stove for dinner, like a slow simmering bolognese sauce, and then for the rest of my shift I would be looking forward to something delicious. The cats liked having me home. I had three then.

      Liked by 7 people

    3. The only reason I haven’t shouted at any of the Social Security folks I have found myself dealing with over the last few months is that I know they are underpaid and working with crappy systems. Though really I want to shout at someone (especially when they “lost” the documents I had submitted for two months because they were mis-coded in the system).

      Liked by 4 people

  4. A job I would absolutely detest is being the poor wretch who runs the machines that clean excess flock from a sweatshirt carrying a design that has been flocked. Since this was the first job I ever did, and I had it for three summers, the intensity of my loathing should need no explanation.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I recall you describing that experience, Steve, and it has obviously left some deep scars. I can’t even imagine what a flocked sweatshirt would look like.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Flocked sweatshirts had their day and (thank God) are no more. A typical design had the mascot and the name of the college. Paint smeared on a shirt isn’t very glamorous, so they used flock to give the design a slightly luxurious look.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Flight attendants are now allowed to wear more sensible shoes, not high heels, but even that varies from one airline to another. I’d hate a job working with so many people shoehorned into tight seats, people often struggling with various anxieties about travel.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Having flown last August I can tell you that there’s no more waitering and waitressing and there’s no more worry about being shoehorned in and no more worry about room for your carry-on luggage. That will probably change once it’s safer to travel.

          Liked by 2 people

  5. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    I would not want to be a neurologist, giving patients the terrible and hopeless news about ALS or MS. That would be so depressing. No Proctology/Urology for me either. Anything with a lot of visual detail (i.e. bookkeeping, copy editing) is a nightmare for me, since I make many errors in those areas of life. I just cannot see the details. Nor can I complete a form of any kind with any accuracy. So no Department of Vehicle Services either.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Politician would have to be close to the top of my “ick” list. I just finished Michelle Obama’s book last month and I will tell anybody who thinks that she would run for office to read the book. She absolutely won’t. And I’m with her on that.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Tim Walz said in exasperation in a briefing one day, “There are people who, if I say it’s Saturday, they’ll say ‘No it isn’t, it’s Thursday.’ ” He might have been thinking of certain members of the legislature. But he probably thinks on a daily basis, Well, it could be worse. Could be Michigan!

        Liked by 5 people

  6. Accountant, actuary, really anything in finance – makes my eyes glaze over and my soul dies a little. Glad other folks do it, but not for me. Also not for me: day care worker (I like babies and kids, but not all day every day in large quantities…), vet tech or veterinarian (I would feel too horrible when I couldn’t make someone’s beloved companion better or had to put one to sleep), or dentist (just no – not putting my hands in someone else’s mouth). Also not ready for retirement – a day or two and I start to get antsy.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. great news vs
    i hope it works out well.
    in addition to cutting out 20 a week you also get to cut off 20 hours a month in drive time
    i have about 12 new jobs i’m trying to figure out how to prioritize
    as far as what i wouldn’t like to do i think my observation as a self assessment where i say i am a great worker and a crappy employee kind of wraps around what my issues are
    i liked working construction
    woodworking will be part of the work from home therapy but my wife doesn’t like sawdust and i am not a big fan of fastidious i did janitor work in high school at a nursing home and enjoyed cleaning and chatting with the old folks
    mable gave me her one armed rocking chair for front porch guitar playing and my friend roy who loved for me to bring him just a little blackberry brandy
    i also did some stuff shaving and wiping them down so although i wouldn’t head that way. love human interaction but not a a customer service rep
    40% doorknobs making complaining sounds into mr ear all day would kill me
    so vs do you still get travel benefits? maybe you can appreciate the half pay and figure out how to get that plugged in as an ongoing activity
    4 big trips and 8 little ones a year would be my idea of nice

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes, there is already discussion about a trip in the fall to Los Cabos. I love to travel and I will go and but there’s no way you can do a site inspection on 20 hours a week because the average site inspection date is 12 hours long, If not longer. So we’ll have to see how that plays out.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Ha. You’ve obviously never met my boss. I can guarantee it will absolutely be a point of contention once it rolls around.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. The list of jobs I wouldn’t want to do is long. Very long. And part of that because I spent a couple of years watching that Mike Rowe show called Dirty Jobs. There are so many filthy jobs out there that I had no clue about. And I don’t want to do any of them. There was one show in which they had to climb into some part of an aircraft through a very small hole that gave me a panic attack just watching it on the television.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I don’t believe I’ve seen any of the Dirty Jobs series, but I have enough imagination that I don’t need to. Can you imagine picking up and cleaning porta potties for a living? I’d handle insurance claims over that any day. I have a friend who worked as a nurse on the psych ward at HCMC, and some of the stories he would tell were disgusting (never divulging any personal information, of course). Likewise, I can’t imagine that it’s any fun to be a health care aide on the “memory care” unit where my friend Ken has been for the past several years. As such places go, it’s a well run, clean facility, and they do their level best to take care of everyone with as much dignity and care as they can muster, but even during the short visits I’ve made there, it’s clear to me that I wouldn’t last a day. Truly, I count my blessings.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I didn’t mind waitressing when I did it, but at this point I’d need to do it sitting down, and that’s tricky.

    In addition to several already mentioned, I would not like any assembly/piecework job, esp. where you had a quota of quantity per hour – I’ll post an example…

    Liked by 5 people

  10. One thing about working as a freelancer, which I have been for 20+ years is that you never really know when you are unemployed (as opposed to between jobs) or when you are retired, as long as you would be willing to take a job if someone asked.

    When I was young, I held a variety of jobs, as I’m sure most of you did. Probably the worst one was as a gas station attendant in the middle of winter at an all night station in the days when all stations were full service stations ( and winters were decidedly colder). The pay was low and the manager was cheating the employees. I remember one night when I got so cold pumping gas late into the night that when I finally got home I discovered I had lost five pounds shivering.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. At the other end of the spectrum, being on a road repair crew during a blazing hot summer day can’t be much fun either. The smell of that hot tar alone would do me in. Or construction work in either winter or summer, ugh.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. About your comment about not knowing whether as a freelancer you’re unemployed or retired, when I first started exchanging emails with Steve, he told me he was an unemployed writer. Considering his age (67 or 68 at the time, I think), I asked why he didn’t consider himself retired instead. It was that being a writer thing that was at work. I think he has since acquiesced to being retired, although I wouldn’t rule out that he’s secretly working on a novel.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. For me, the picture changed when I could not publish the book I worked on for years, the book about my parents. That book was as good as I could make it, and there seemed little point afterwards to pretend I was “between engagements.” When you have no prospect for creating something that will sell, you are unemployed (and not by choice).

        Like

        1. Talking about being unemployed, I just received an unsolicited email from some guy in California, here’s what it said:

          “Hi Margaret,

          I came across a new job listing that I thought may interest you. The full details and application process can be found in the job listing.”

          It then goes on to list a position as a “Chef Manager (OLCC)” for a “Senior Campus” in New Hope, MN. I have no idea what OLCC stands for, the only thing I can find is Oregon Liquor Control Commission, but that makes no sense in this connection. At any rate, I don’t care what it pays, or what it entails, I’m not interested. I’m not unemployed, I’m definitely retired.

          Liked by 3 people

        2. telling the story of an intimate family interaction vs how to appreciate pheasants wolves or fly fishing is a possible distinct line to be acknowledged

          Liked by 2 people

  11. I have great respect for the cart corral people. Nothing irks me more than jobs that don’t “stay done”. I can’t help but think “I just returned all those carts!”
    Which is a slippery slope about cleaning the house, washing clothes, sweeping the stage, cutting grass, or any other number of things. Every year I plant again, but that at least stays done for a few months. Maybe that’s the deal; it has to last a little while anyway.

    But the cart people, I could never do it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I can’t think of a single household chore that stays done for any length of time. And cooking, forget it, if it’s worth eating it’s gone in the wink of an eye. But I’d love to be a chef. Playing with food all days seems like a dream to me. Money is no object, obviously.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I actually took a class once called the Politics of Housework. And the fact that the jobs didn’t stay done was a huge part of the course that we looked at.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, I’d love that job, especially if it involves shaving with one of those old fashioned straight razors. Holding him by the nose with one hand, while carefully trying to avoid hurting him with the sharp blade, would be delicious.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Apparently no one wants to be his attorney either. All 5 impeachment lawyers quit—they did not want to argue that the election was stolen from him. And he did not pay them.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Perhaps the most intriguing question about that man is how aware he is of being a liar. I think the press and the general public has consistently misread him because they keep assuming he’s “just another lying politician.” My sense, after four years of anguished observation, is that he rarely lies in the sense we usually use that word. I think he genuinely believes most of the stuff he says. I bet he could pass a lie detector exam because he is delusional enough to believe passionately anything he chooses to believe, especially about himself.

        Decide for yourself which is the more dangerous kind of leader: the manipulative liar or the delusional sociopath. Both are terrifying.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. We often think alike, Barbara. In my undergrad college a history professor once asked what could be worse than the possibility that there is no God, or there was one but he is now dead. Students couldn’t imagine anything worse than that. The professor (who was a really great guy) said, “Perhaps there is a God . . . but he is mad.”

          Liked by 3 people

    1. Talking with a friend yesterday; he’s probably in his 40’s. He still has a day job installing cabinets, plus he’s working as a PCA (Personal Care Attendant) AND going to school for nursing. Still finishing his generals in order to get into the nursing program.
      He said right now they’re hiring PCA’s right off the street; they don’t need any training. And they’re getting paid the same as he is and he’s had SOME training and been doing it for a few years.
      It’s kinda crazy. But we all know they’re desperate for help.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. People used to say “Be nice to your kids, they’re going to choose your nursing home.” I would say, “Be nice to your immigrant neighbors, they’re going to staff your nursing home.”

      Liked by 4 people

  12. Daughter teases that she is putting me in one of the small, abandoned campers we see in the flood plain between Bismarck and Mandan, and she won’t tell her brother where I am!

    Liked by 4 people

  13. VS, forgot to say that I’m happy for you that the job has returned (if you decide you like going back to work), and especially that you get to do re-entry on a part-time basis… ease back into it. Will be interesting to hear how you like your “new” job.

    Liked by 1 person

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