John PowellBad Habits and New Knowledge Acquired While Scoring Essays
1. Twenty-four years ago when I was pregnant with first son, I gave up caffeine. I’m now an addict. One cup when I get up, one on the way to work, a big mug of black tea at 10. Another after lunch. A large diet soda to sip on from 2-5pm. All without my hands shaking.
2. I can close my eyes and fall asleep while sitting up. I just use my hand to cover the side of my face that has a supervisor glaring us all down to make sure we’re reading and rest my eyes for just a few minutes. I only had to catch my chin crashing into my chest about 50 times.
3. As those around me were let go from the project due to their inability to master the scoring rubric, I gained an ottoman and an armrest. Sort of like making a chaise lounge out of whatever is available. Management didn't approve of my comfort zone, but since I cranked 200 essays a day for them they didn't say anything.
4. You can take Advil five times a day, really. (Note to self: Always carry Tagamet in purse.)
5. Although hopeful that getting up at 6am every day would turn my nighthawk habits, I learned I can still go to bed at 12 or 1am and get up at 6am. Oh, how I wanted to be a 10pm sleepy person.
6. My family really sucks at giving massages. At night, the knot in my upper back is so big and just out of my reach. My husband’s attempts last about 31 seconds. My oldest son much better at 2 minutes (can tell he’s got a girlfriend). Finally learned if you lie face up on the floor and place one your weights in the center of the knot, you can roll back and forth like a writhing idiot to handle your own massage, and hope no one sees you through the window and thinks you are having sex by yourself.
7. I discovered the cure for hot flashes: Sit in a room where the temperature looms around 40 below. Wear long sleeved shirt with hooded sweatshirt and cover yourself with a not too thick blanket. Can’t be too thick, as you still have to maneuver the mouse while hands are covered with said blanket. (Side note: Some people have those gloves with the fingertips cut off and mufflers wrapped around their heads.)
8. There is an entire community of temporary workers. They float around the city throughout the year, passing information to each other as to the whereabouts of the available jobs. Many others in my job are retired folks getting in a few months pay to supplement the fixed income. Have to be pretty sharp old folks to keep this job.
9. While focused on a computer, I can be completely unaware of my surroundings. Can start out with 100 people in a room and after a few hours or days, notice there are only 24 left—the rest lost in the abyss of not surviving the rubric scoring process. Sometimes if those leaving are noticed, a pang of jealously fills my heart as I watch them take the walk to freedom.
10. I'm very good at this job. Was in the bonus each week. Breaks my heart to discover that. Just what I’ve always wanted to be good at. When asked to continue on more projects, I merely laughed, shook my head, and raced for the door. I’d honored my contract; we're not starving. I am so out of there.
Whatever lessons I’ve learned from this experience are still floating in my head. Hope to report on them later. Meanwhile, putting life back together, and I’m thankful that the part of this road trip for scoring State required essays finally found an exit. A most tedious, eye-sight costing and long stretch of road it was. I'll rest for a while while examining the next turn with a much closer eye. I’m anxious to discover another, although not quite sure what that is at this time. But I do believe this is only part of the process. Now I just have to remember the goal.