Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fair P(l)ay and Fun


"Clutter? Nawww.....this is our desk . Desks are busy - remember that bumper sticker: 'A Clean Desk is a Sign of an Empty Mind'?" (I made that up, that's a paraphrase, but it's right there in Volume I, Rationalizations for the 21st Century.)

All right. First things first - I was moved by the comment from "Anonymous" regarding the fact that museum staff are underpaid....and I absolutely agree. And it's also true that most museum workers feel passionate about their work -- otherwise they probably wouldn't do it. It's very MUCH like teaching, and we're blessed that there are dedicated teachers - and nurses, and other assorted positions.

But I've left off a major piece from all my descriptions of my position at the Museum: while it's true that I'm "paid staff", and sometimes referred to the fact that I "make almost enough to pay for yarn" -- Ladies and Gentlemen! I am NOT regular Museum Staff . Mr Dearling and I are RETIRED , which means that we separated from our long-term, full-time jobs.

No, my position at the Museum is "LTE" - Limited-Term Employment. It's a State designation, and is pretty much support work based on availability of funds. It's NOT even a regular part-time position, but does have certain benefits: we have full access to University Libraries, &c, as "University Staff"; we also have benefits of access to the State Historical Society headquarters -- and a pretty decent discount at our Museum Shop (if you know me, you can appreciate what a biggy that is!).

There are other benefits -- free admission to any of the historical sites and museums in Wisconsin (we often pay anyway, to support the system), for example.

Our "bosses" - and the Directors and Curators and proper Museum Staff receive competitive salaries, as I understand it (I admit it, I've never asked our Director her salary......) but they're long-time staff, so I believe they're content.

Mr Dearling refers to our jobs at the Museum as "our hobby jobs", which is close -- truth is, we were volunteer docents putting in as much time as we could (I even got a cute little plaque saying "Volunteer of the Year" once).

I don't mind saying, I think I'm good at it. And he's good at it. We've earned a reputation as storytellers, and I'm pleased to say we've both had teachers request that we guide their groups. "Paid what we're worth" -- well, my feeling is that the access to the University libraries and Historical Society Archives would be incentive enough.

I'm glad for your rant, Ms A. Nonymous, because such passion is a good thing in cases like this, is my feeling. I do know the feeling of being shockingly underpaid -- when I was a Legal Secretary, part of my duties included writing out checks for my boss's personal expenses, like his wife's department store tabs. When a friend who was a manager at McDonald's mentioned his salary -- and it was MORE than I was making as a lawyer's private secretary -- it was an eye-opener. (For the record -- I told my boss about that and requested a raise - I had three children, mind you; he said I should post my job in the paper! I did, moved on to a University job, and Joy Rang Throughout the Land.)

OK - 'nough said, I guess, but I wanted you to know, I DO hear you, and concur.

Now then --

STICKS update: Guess what I'm knitting? No, really, guess. PREEMIE CAPS? Oh, man, can't fool y'all. I'm at 35 - and there's one on the needles. They're all variations of that same simple pattern; some are striped, some variegated, but pretty much of a style and size. A few are really tiny, a couple are larger. Can you say "RUT"? But right now, with other things going on - they're perfect. In fact, they're small enough that I can knit surreptitiously in my lap, like during meetings. I'll get my knitting books out shortly - and I'm thinking of doing a "just-from-stash" period.

BOOKS update: I think I mentioned, I ordered the one existing biography of Mary Hayes Chynoweth, finding a copy at ABE Books, from which I've gotten out-of-print books before. I think it'll be no surprise to hear that it isn't a high-demand best seller at present. In fact, they probably didn't print a bazillion copies right outta the bag, when you think about it. So I was very happy to find one, and ordered it (even at around $50, shipping included). The copy I AM reading, in our Archives, has to be fetched out from the Rare Book room, so it's not like I can tote it home.

Well -- before the day was out, I got an e-mail from the seller saying, (I'm paraphrasing) "Neener neener someone beat you to it - maybe they walked into the actual shop and bought it right out from under your grasping research-y hands." In other words, they're not charging my card AND not sending the book.

Was I distressed? Was I bummed? Did I repeat some words which would shock Mrs Hayes Chynoweth (not to mention my parents or children)? All of the above.

THEN -- I went to Amazon, purveyor of all kinda stuff, and found another copy! So I ordered IT right quick, and so far (typing with crossed fingers, toes, &c) so good. I'll let you know when it arrives. Positive thinking along those lines would be appreciated.

NOTE: I had a wicked thought - imagine my taking MY COPY into the Archives, getting all set up - and then pullng out a yellow highlighter....lawsy it would freak out the harridan who was there the other day...snicker snicker . ANOTHER NOTE: I would so not really do that. I'm passive-aggressive is all. Also I would so not really highlight my copy, although sticky notes and light pencil marks may occur.

And lastly - I'm about to get dressed up in hoopskirts and furbelows....for a 45-minute ride in the Subaru to do my presentation. Love it. I'm bringing regular clothes to change back into afters, though. Also - heard yesterday that Chastity Bono is 40 years old. And my new favorite Hated Teevee Commercials (huh?) are the one with the lady that appears to have glowing boobs but is actually just asthmatic...and the soothing, gentle voice saying there's hope if it's "uncomfortable to go to the bathroom". I mean. Seriously.

"Just checkin' to see if we won the lottery, Mom"


Linda L. said...

My mom's dining room table is like your desk. We call it "the black hole" - things put on it tend to disappear forever.

As for your work at the Historical Society - in my opinion, the most important jobs have the lowest pay. I don't know the name of the bank president from my childhood, but I'll never forget Mrs. Hanna, who babysat me when I was a preschooler and both of my parents worked outside the home. Often, the people who leave the greatest impression on you aren't in it for the money; they do it for the love of it, like you.

Jamwes said...

Gotta love those jobs where you spend more there than you make...

Yarnhog said...

Hated TV commercials? Try explaining "Enzyte" and "male enhancement" to an eight year old.