…More Than Sweet Potatoes

Chicago: Work

With Gizmo and Debbie’s Great American Road Trip (Part 1) complete, it seems logical to start regaling you with part 2 (since it’s done and complete,) but that sounds entirely too logical for me.  So instead…let’s talk about Chicago.  I will cover each section of my life while there in separate posts.  This one is about work.


I landed in the suburbs on September 18th, 2015.  Once unpacked (which took about an hour) I headed out to Northwestern University to secure my job at the gym for the quarter.  The gym (henceforth referred to as SPAC) employs a ton of work study students as CSRs and Supervisors.  It’s a bunch of 18-22 year old kids who are in college.  They all work 9-12 hours (typically) in any one of a number of positions in the gym.

And me.

I was trained by an 18 year old and a 20 year old.  I felt old and uncomfortable, and honestly, way beyond being told that missing my shift was a major infraction – three of which would lead to my termination.  Pretty quickly, however, probably due to the fact that I was working 33 hours a week I started feeling like these kids were my family/friends for the time being and I was okay with that.

I told my managers that if there was any additional work I could do, to please let me know.  I wanted the hours.  I needed the money.  I required a way to keep myself out of trouble.  And soon I was also working 5-6 hours a week in the back office.  After a week or so, I found I quite enjoyed this time due to having a chance to use the business connections I had made through the printing world and spending my time bantering with coworkers (who weren’t college students.)

Here’s a little list of the fun things that happened while I worked at SPAC:

I learned that I SUCK at chess.  I’m perfectly capable of playing my 6 year old nephew, but terrible at playing real adults.  I hate this.

I’m capable of doing all sorts of cool kinds of planks.


This one is cool…and hard to do

I found out that I have tendinitis in my left foot.  I basically need to do a crapton of physical therapy and stay off of it…which I’m not planning on doing….

I can’t do a G D push up.  This isn’t for lack of trying.  Three people I worked with tried like hell to make this happen for me before I left… I still haven’t done it.  I promise a picture/video once I do.  I feel decently close and yet SO FAR away.

I lost my cool once at the rudest bitch.  As she finally walked away I said (loud enough for her to hear) “you certainly don’t have to be rude about it next time.”  When she turned around, I focused SO hard on my computer screen that I’m pretty sure she considered the chance that I hadn’t said anything and it was all in her head.

I re-learned how to make origami cranes.  I don’t know if you remember this book, but there was a book I read in school once about a girl with leukemia who folded a thousand paper cranes or something?  Well one of the girls I worked with brought origami paper one morning and we folded cranes.  I made three: a brown one named Brownie (creative, I know,) a pink one named Molly and a white one I named Popcorn and gave to someone as a symbol of our friendship.  Nerd alert.


 I watched a few games of dodge ball happen between staff members at our holiday party and then lost – BADLY – in a game of Horse to an unnecessarily tall boy I worked with.  Fun fact, the last time I played a game of Horse, it was a first date.  It went well.  Dated the guy for a few months.  This time didn’t end the same way…shame really.  Kidding!

At the end of my three months at SPAC, I was fortunate enough to have made a few friends who I already really miss.  I also had a great time working there, which I really didn’t expect.  The staff (and many of the kids) signed a card for me and I got a gift card as a going away present.  Who would have thought that I would have made that much of an impact in such a short time??

Who would have thought it would have had such an impact on me?

Ever had a temporary job that you ended up really enjoying?  What are your best and worst work stories?


One comment on “Chicago: Work

  1. Ben Cotton
    December 21, 2015

    I had forgotten all about Sadako! I loved that book when I was younger. I wonder if it’s still floating around my parents’ house somewhere.


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This entry was posted on December 21, 2015 by in 2015, Chicago, Uncategorized, Work and tagged , , , , , , .
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