Next, I was a custodian and hated that, too, but today I still love the smell of Pine-sol and pour it in all three toilets in the house, so the house will smell good when I come home from work or a trip. Then, I bused tables, washed dishes, and tried to cook in a restaurant. I got "deselected" (new terminology in the corporate world) from cooking. I moved on to hotel clerk and even worked for the U.S. Air Force as a civilian while I was in college. When I graduated, I still didn't know what to do, so I went on to graduate school.
So I went back to school for yet another degree and finally landed a teaching job. I really enjoyed teaching and still do. I could tell stories in class and write when I wasn't in class. At some point, someone talked me into trying an administrative job and it paid a lot more, so I took it and have been a college administrator and teacher now for around twenty years. You'd think it would be stressful and boring, and it is sometimes. Some days I feel like sawing my own damned heart out, but the stories I hear are worth it: one student asked if he could fax a check to pay tuition (the bank would deposit a fax, don't you think?); one student wanted to have a grade changed because he just didn't like the F (well, now, don't we all wish we could just twitch our nose and make the bad go away? This entitlement attitude, by the way, will become a major social problem soon enough. How about me telling Harper Collins, "I just feel my book should be published because I just know it will be a best seller"? Think that might work?); one student got a F on a paper because the work he turned in was not his (he'd bought the paper and paid good money for it, so it wasn't dishonest).
These are just drops in the bucket and why I believe higher education is an oxymoron, but it's all great fodder for fiction, and I don't think I'll ever retire. I think I'll just keep this day job. I don't think I could go back, but I do love where I've been and have no regrets. My all time favorite singer and philosopher Dolly Parton recently told the concert audience in Valdosta, Georgia that she was going to try to keep on singing and performing until she just dropped dead. I think I will keep on working and writing until I drop dead, too.
|left, Audrey Reddick; center, Dolly Parton; right, Niles Reddick. Valdosta, GA; October 2011|