Having just completed the third day of my new job at the animal shelter, I feel like I know enough and have done enough to at least start to make some generalizations about it for you.
Not to start off with the bad, but the first one feels obvious. It’s really, really hard to write right now. Work takes so much out of me that I don’t have much left. I certainly don’t have enough left to be funny or creative. I’m hoping that, given some time, work won’t take quite so much thought and will be a little more automatic. At the moment, I’m constantly thinking and rethinking everything I do, and it wears my brain out. I’m so afraid of messing up. But, I think that after a few moments, I’ll be comfortable and won’t have to think so darn hard.
Also bad, I’m having some trouble with all the socialization. It makes me want to hide out by myself for all the hours I’m not at work. Luckily, I work 5-11pm, so I spend my days at home while my parents are off at their jobs. I even had trouble hanging out with my mom this weekend. Because I’m in training at work, I spend every minute with another person. Usually that person is A, a guy who goes to the local university for physics. He doesn’t talk too much, and he’s generally pleasant to be around. Still, being with him for an entire 6 hours wears on me. I don’t like to be with anyone, except maybe Leigh and my mom, for that long. I honestly can’t tell if anyone at work likes me or not, and of course I feel like no one does. I have myself convinced that the boss doesn’t like me. I try not to worry about the people and focus on the animals, but I don’t want to be hated, either. It’s confusing.
There are other, little bad things. I don’t see my mom for two days on end. Even though I spend the entire time at work with cats and dogs, I really miss Elsie (though she greets me in the basement when I get home). I could bring home the cat version of HIV or ringworm or something else nasty home to my own cat (I reduce the chances by changing my clothes in the basement the second I come in the door and washing my hands like crazy). Work makes my legs quite sore by about 9:30pm, and I’m ready to have a seat (I assume this will get better over time). The dogs bark really loudly and hurt my ears and my brain, but I can’t wear ear plugs yet because I have to be able to hear what A is saying. I miss Alton Brown (he’s on while I drive home)… but Mom records him for me.
Now for the good things. I love the animals! There are 250 cats, dogs, and rabbits under my responsibility. I clean cages (yes, I deal with a lot of poop, and I’m perfectly okay with that) and feed them, and say hello along the way. My favorite is when I come into the cat condos to feed the cats dinner and they all start meowing. I know every cat in the shelter by name. I know who’s nice and who’s mean and who hisses but is just all talk. Tonight, I met and got to pet a few rabbits while I cleaned their cages. I really like the rabbits. The dogs… well, they’re very cute, but they’re also very loud, and that turns me off to them. When one barks, they all have to bark. And when you come in the room, whoever can see you has to start barking, so they all have to start barking… and with 30 dogs, in the room, that’s a lot of noise.
After going since November without a paycheck, I’m earning some money. I only make $7.25 an hour (not sure if that’s truly minimum wage or just really close to it). Unfortunately, the government thinks that 24 hours a week at minimum wage is enough to live on, and I’m going to lose my Cash Assistance as soon as I get my first paycheck. Boo. This means that I’ll be living on something like $7200 a year for the foreseeable future. That’s just ridiculous. Half of my income will go to housing, too. I’m a little worried about how this is supposed to work. I had better win my SSI hearing, or I might be in trouble. Big trouble. Still, for right now I’m living at home and doing okay, and it’s good that I’m making money again, however little.
Alright, folks. My brain is done thinking tonight, apparently. Although it seems that there is a lot more bad than good about work, that’s false for two reasons. One, my brain just wore out while I was doing the good, so I didn’t even get to tell you about the little good things, like kittens and puppies and getting to walk dogs and Alberta (the once super-matted orange cat who got shaved and must feel incredible!). Two, the two that I listed are really good. Hopefully, they’re good enough that they outweigh the all the bad things.
Thanks for joining me on this less-than-really-entertaining post. Over and out!