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The Working Life

April 2, 2013


Getting up when it’s still dark outside seems so much earlier than when the sun’s already up. I get up at 6:30, and starting a few weeks ago, it’s still dark, and I am seriously dragging ass in the mornings. Luckily, we finish Daylight Savings Time this weekend, and the adjustment of the clocks will mean I wake up in the light again.

Changing the clocks won’t make it warmer, though. My wife, Karen, is already hassling me to put the heater on, but I’m hoping to hold her off for at least a couple more weeks. It’s not just the added expense of running the thing. It’s cleaning the filter, adjusting the thermostat, too hot, too cold, oops we left it on all day while nobody was home, etc. It’s a hassle. Maybe this is the year I give in and figure out how to work the timer functions.

So today is a work day. I work part-time at the Chifley Library at the Australian National University. Wednesdays, Thursdays and every other weekend. I work in Circulation, mostly in the Reserve room, and I enjoy it. But my schedule is a bit crazy.

I get up at 6:30, have a shower and get myself moving, then wake the two older boys, Jack (14) and James (11), at 7:00 and Tom (5) at 7:30. I get everybody ready for school by 8:30, and take Tom to school (he’s in kindergarten) for first bell at 8:50. Then I drive 20 minutes to work, park off-campus because I’m too late for a parking spot, walk 15-20 minutes to the library, and start at 10:00. I work from 10 to 1, then I walk back to the car, make it home around 1:45, grab something quick for lunch, then go back to school for last bell at 2:50. On Wednesdays I get Tom and James, bring them home, give them a snack and then drive them into the city to meet Karen. We swap cars, and Karen takes the boys to James’ kayaking lesson on the river, while I go back to work from 4 to 8:00. On Thursdays, we  do the same car-swap, but I only bring Tom, and Karen takes him to swimming lessons.

This split-shift thing is new, as of this year. I’ve worked at Chifley since 2007, and until this change, I just worked 4 to 11. We still did the car-swap, but I didn’t have to drive in to work twice. It’s not ideal, but unless we pay for after-school care for Tom, it’s the best option for now.

I’m complaining, but just a little bit. I know I’ve got it good. I enjoy my job. It’s my chosen field (I have a Bachelor of Communication, specializing in library and information studies), it’s low-stress, and I get to help people while also helping myself to the resources of a university library. It’s a pretty sweet gig.

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