Just For Now Jobs
by Ian Birnbaum
Everyone has had a "just for now" job. If you haven't had one, you will have one; if you haven't ever and won't ever have one, we, the people of Earth, would like to say that we despise you.
By Just For Now Job, I mean, of course, the position of secretary/waiter/librarian assistant/delivery driver/bitch that we, as members of the working class, drag ourselves to every day to pay the bills. We put up with these shitty, temporary positions as the bitches of society to make money, make connections, or make a resume in the hope that one day we will finally become the Doctor, Lawyer, Fireman, Ballerina, Astronaut, Queen-Of-Everything or Bionic Mercenary (that one's mine) that we have always wanted to be. We put up with the bitch-work of now in the hope that, when we get where we're going, we can treat other people like the bitches.
My JFN Job is working at the local newspaper in my college town. I work in the sports section, which is ironic because anyone who knows me knows how I hate sports. American Football is one of my Least Favorite Things EverTM, and Baseball and Basketball aren't personally held in much higher esteem. Still, I spend a lot of time working with the lowest minutia of these sports (and others) because that's what I'm paid to write by people who want to read such things. Such is the existence of a part-time professional bitch.
It's not all bad, of course. For one thing, the guys I work with a endless fun; for example, they have a game where they find the Out Of Context Quote of the Night and share it with the rest of us. The game goes like this: coaches never shut up, and will talk endlessly in sports jargon and euphemism about their team, strategy and sport. When taken out of context, these diatribes make for some favorites which are oft-quoted at the office, such as:
* The basketball coach who is STILL trying to perfect his offense "spreading wide and thrusting through" the other team.
But Master, you might say (hey, it's my column, I can make you say anything I want), Master - I love sports! Writing about sports would be a dream job for me. How can this possibly be a Just For Now Job?
Well, little Timmy, let me explain -exactly- what it is that I do. When I'm at parties hitting on girls, "writing at the [newspaper]" is plenty specific, but, to you, I promised honesty, so here it is:
I walk in at 8:30 with the fast food greasy meal of my choice, and sit down at a desk used by someone else for the majority of the day. I watch whatever sporting event is on the overhead TV, eat, and read articles and peruse the internet. When my phone rings, it is the coach of a local high school volleyball, football or basketball team. I get the names of the kids and their personal scoring contributions, a quick quote about how we "played a good game with a lot of hustle, next week we're going to work on the cohesive forward pressure of a dynamic offensive movement" and that's it.
I write this story into a 150 word blurb that will only be read by the mothers of the kids mentioned, and even then only to check that I spelled their angel's name "Jazzmynee" as it should be, not "Jasmine" like some common stripper. I will write many of these (sometimes as many as 20) in a night, and all of them are due up on the server by midnight. Most of the time I don't get a by-line (simply "Staff Reports") unless I go out and cover a big event in person. I am also, in the interest of full disclosure, paid $45 for three hours' work, no matter how much (or little) I happen to do that night.
High school sports coverage in small towns in Texas. That's my Just For Now Job. It could be worse but it could be much, much better. And, aside from freelance work, it's my first professional connection to writing for a living. So I put up with it, because, hey, it's just for now.
So, tell me: what are your Just For Now Jobs, and how long have they been Just For Now? Oh and kids, what do you want to be when you grow up? If anyone else wanted be a Bionic Mercenary, let me know. We'll start a Yahoo! club.