Friday, December 28, 2007

Coming Up For Air

I've been neglecting the regular updates lately, but not because nothing is happening. Indeed, more like because so much IS happening.

I got another job about a month ago, bartending in a small French bistro called Café Bernard. Yes, there is a Bernard. He looks a bit like Obi-Wan Kenobi, which makes me giggle. It's in the more upscale neighborhood of Lincoln Park, which means the clientele has more disposable income than I do (not a difficult task, frankly). It takes up my time every Friday and Saturday evening, and pays decently. I don't expect it to last more than a few months, however, as Wrigleyville bars will start hiring within a few months, and the busy season at this restaurant will be over about the same time.

Actually, I'm working enough hours at enough jobs that my income is nearly what it was in Dallas, which is nice. Bills are getting paid, credit cards are getting paid off—if only I were to make a few more sacrifices, I just might make a financial goal or three by this time next year.

Time is a sacrifice to be had, however. My office job is officially from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. In truth, I get to work as early as 8:30 and leave as late as 10, though 8:30 or 9 is the average. Also I've been working Saturdays and the occasional Sunday. It's paying off, though, because this could lead to a permanent position that's only being offered to a few of us; I'll have details on this if it actually becomes something noteworthy. It feels wonderful to be both appreciated and compensated for a job well done; I get a few advantages not offered to others because I'm on-time, I'm accurate, and I work hard. Let this be a lesson—take pride in what you do, and do it well. You never know who may be watching, and what they may be able to do for you.

So in short, I'm putting in about 70-80 hours a week. I bring my laptop with me to the office, and turn on TV I've recorded while I work. Since the data entry job started, I've seen the entirety of The Sopranos, The Shield, Entourage, Band of Brothers, half of The Wire, as well as keeping up-to-date with SVU, CSI, Life, The Office, Family Guy, South Park, and whatever shows I watch regularly. Data entry is easy.

Not true for everyone. It continues to amaze me how often someone can't do their job properly. Example—we're given a piece of paper. We type the information from the paper onto the screen. Once completed, there's a simple combination of keystrokes taught to all that allows us to check our work and make sure the numbers match, which is a fine thing to do before handing the work back in. Perhaps the key reason I work so many hours is that I spend them checking (and correcting) the work of others before it leaves the hands of the temporary employees and goes back to the people who handed it off to us. This leads to more people trusting me, and my superiors rewarding me. I love it.

I have yet to do what I came to Chicago to do, which is become an actor—yet I'm not distressed about this, not yet. I'm doing a job I enjoy (which, frankly, is any job not waiting tables). I'm respected, appreciated, and financially compensated for my work. I have comfortable bars in which I can sit and relax with friends. Best of all, I have Heather to come home to every night, who loves and supports me with her whole being. I'm in a good place, all told.

Shoulda done this years ago.