The next night Jessica dragged herself out of bed. The sky was black as she went to take a shower. This is not when human beings should be waking up. She hadn’t even fallen asleep until the sun went down, despite lying in bed for several hours utterly exhausted. Jessica had no interest in going to work, but the responsible adult still conscious somewhere in her mind knew that she must.
Jessica felt as if she was rushing, but every time she looked at a clock, she was falling further and further behind. She would be late. From experience, she knew that if she left late at all, the crowd leaving the gym at closing time would slow her down. It sounds silly, but that is small town living. When the gym is the town hangout, not even a bar to go afterward that’s where the crowds are.
By the time that Jessica arrived at work she was nearly 15 minutes late. She ran in the door apologizing to Suzie, who rushed to the door so fast she nearly forgot to clock out. For every time she was later than normal, she knew she was pushing her luck with the daycare.
Once Kenzie arrived, Jessica supervised as Kenzie ran the shift. Kenzie did everything by the book, direct from her notes, like a robot. She did not stop doing everything on her list, even when it was time to wait before starting the next thing. Jessica did not stop her from doing the paperwork early. Kenzie would find out why it was advantageous to wait eventually. People do come to check in at three in the morning, and how you tell the computer about them gets far more complicated once the nightly paperwork has been done. Jessica did stop Kenzie from setting up breakfast so that it would be steaming hot at 2am.
So instead of having fifteen minutes here, and thirty minutes there to keep the girls occupied all night, they had more than four hours straight of dead time. Kenzie stood by one of the computers for awhile before turning slowly to Jessica and asking, “Well, what do we do now?”
“That is part of why I break up the work on this shift. But to answer your question, stay near the desk and do what you want. You can turn on the TV, use your laptop, or the work computers if you feel like standing. You can read a book, do homework, or hell, you can paint a masterpiece.” Kenzie turned back to the computer and stared at it some more.
Jessica was standing at the other computer looking for inspiration how to get her life on track. She searched the country for jobs in her field, only to find that they required a related minor or even a masters degree.
About this time Kenzie spun around on her heel in a hurry and went to the back room. She came rushing back with her phone and hunched over the computer to get to work. Jessica leaned over to see what all the fuss was about. As it turned out Ms. Thomas had assigned Kenzie some online training videos she had nearly forgotten about.
Jessica turned back to her own workstation as she decided to switch from looking for engineering jobs to design, but, as she expected, had even worse luck, since it was only her minor.
From Kenzie’s computer poured the party line about upselling, customer relations, and how making money for the company keeps you employed.
Jessica huffed before she decided to start her own business where she could sell her own work, “Elegant Engineering” she would call it. Then she asked the world wide web about business startup loans. After filtering through several websites she realized that either she would have to fork over money upfront to get more money, which would still require convincing people who do not believe in Jacks-of-all-Trades to put faith in her. So it seemed she would have to build something like this from the ground up by herself. With her own money. And her own time. Both of those requirements were positively laughable at this point. She could not find time nor energy to hang out with friends, when would she be able to work, and where? She couldn’t even pay her bills, how on earth would she afford materials to work with, unless she took the ‘reclaimed treasures’ route, which did not sit quite right with the ‘engineered for comfort’ bit.
Jessica decided to contemplate material to re-use that would work well and be easy and cheap to find. In the meantime she took a break for lunch, or dinner, or midnight snack. Whatever you call eating in the middle of your day when that happens to be in the middle of the night. As she ate, she listened to Kenzie’s computer spewing out this years buzzwords, “Motivation!”, “Upsell!”, “Goaldigger”, “It factor”, “Growth”, “Market”, “Passionate”, “Driven”.