many office phones ready to be answered
nigelpepper, CC-BY 2.0

The first paying job I ever had, was in a company my father worked for almost all of his my life.

My father took me to help on what was called “inventory day”. Back then I was pretty big for a boy of ten and when they paired me with the shortest man in the company. Everyone laughed because I was as tall as the man was, almost. And I could almost see straight to his eyes.

We worked from 9:00 in the morning after breakfast; to 8:00 in the night. I loved it. Years later, I worked nights and weekends at a family owned video club. The pay was three dollars fifty cents when I started. Four dollars twenty five when I left. Sometimes, I would work fifty hours a week (same rate). I loved that too. After that, I got into college again, and it wasn’t long before I was recruited by the college to work as algebra and pre calculus assistant teacher. After a year I was assistant computer lab administrator. Then I got my own computer labs. Meanwhile, I got 16, 17 and 18 credit semesters. College work and college studies where taking upwards of sixty hours per week. Of course, I loved it.

Right after finishing college I went to work for the local government. I led an IT office for a small government agency. I could dictate my own work hours; Mostly, I arrived shortly after nine in the morning. But although in the beginning I never left before seven, by the time I was leaving that job I was the one closing up the building for the night most days. Most times I left after eight o’ clock. Yes, yes, I loved that…

All through the years, in all the lobs I’ve had I’ve managed to gain everybody’s trust.

But now. I’ve changed job again. Still in the government but it has changed

Now, I try to get to my job as early as possible. Because, then I can leave as early as possible…

I hate myself for doing that, I hate myself for feeling this way. I hate myself for what I have become. Just another government employee. I used to look down on “government employees”, with disdain, it was a learned thing. In my mind, I was a “public servant”. The difference being that a public servant is committed to do the best possible for Puerto Rico; meanwhile I reinforced in my mind the public view that government employees where there just for busywork and a paycheck.

There is, in this new job, a feeling of being untrusted no matter what you do. I think I’m not alone feeling this way. Some people get fired, others “quit”, some more leave. Some have something to hang on to, others don’t. All the while I fear… and grow desperate.

I would like to get back in the private sector. I’ve sent out dozens of resumes. Precious few calls for interviews. No calls for something definite. I’d love to return to the days when I got home fully spent, but happy; instead of brain-dulled and self-hating.