I worked in the bookstore-café of an acupuncture school, then known as Tai Sophia Institute, near my hometown of Columbia, MD. It was the summer after my sophomore year, and I needed a job. My manager David was a former bassonist and was obsessed with Mahler - when we were closed he would put his complete collection of symphonies on, I can’t remember the orchestra. He also loved Harry Potter - he got me a pre-release copy the Friday before it came out, and I opened the paper to look at the cover that night. I read it in one sitting on Saturday, the official release date - I didn’t want to cheat.
I learned POS, how to open boxes with a box cutter (quickly and carefully), enter inventory, and stock shelves. I cleaned the café area before closing, straightened the shop, watered the bamboo. It was a beautiful community, for those two summers (I returned the next); a good hourly job, a 15-20 minute drive from my house. I haven’t worked retail since. At least I could sit at the register at that store - often part-timers, particularly post-COVID, are expected to work overtime until late at night, without a dinner break. It’s exhausting! Particularly floor work in a clothing or shoe store, where you never get off your feet and take stairs and carry heavy boxes frequently. Register isn’t as bad, because you’re customer facing, but often the staff floats. Target looks like a half-decent place, as does Starbucks - decent benefits, flexible hours, good for freelancers and those with another career.
I now seek office jobs, where I answer phones and schedule appointments/meetings. Something local, Brooklyn or Manhattan, where I can work from home (by that I mean outside, on my iPad with my wireless keyboard, as I’m doing now from the steps of the Brooklyn Museum), or remote. Ideally I can make my own hours, still play with Duo Phoenix on Wednesday mornings in the subway, do therapy on Thursday afternoons. It’s important to maintain these things. Maintenance - a key word in our post (post?) COVID world.