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Ahoy, Tajikistan

July 3, 2007

While I’d like to think of my summer as simply the break time between school work, I do have real work, and this summer, its a full blown 40 hour 9 8:30 to 5 gig. Shades of the eventual working world that await after graduation, unless I make a run for academia at the last minute.

My job this summer is paper pusher/e-mail responder/instant access compendium of knowledge on 140 specific people (appearing as “Program Assistant” on my resume) for a State Department grant run by Georgetown U. that sends qualified people (unlike myself) to teach and to train local teachers in the art of teaching english as a foreign languge (or, by its fun-to-say paired acronyms: TEFL and TOEFL).

While my Spanish listening has gotten better, and I could tell you every single one of those 140 names (the best part – seeing if the passport photos match our imagination), my job requires me to keep tabs on a lot of information simultaneously. It’s not the most glamorous or creative of work, but unlike the hundreds of English majors who get culled into “consulting” every year, I feel at least I’m cast ashore in a sea of paperwork for a good reason. (And, as blood money for using my job as fodder, if you are a M.A. holder in a degree related to teaching English and have a burning passion to go to Tajikistan – a country I was sure the State Department was making up just to play a joke – have I got a job for you)

It’s not the mess of numbers, and forms, and rechecking of those forms (and the duplicate copies of the recheck) that bogs me down, its the reports. The reports span from 2 page “my dog ate my fellowship” attempts to 50 page novels with pictures. The reports go to various places to be read, including my work computer’s hard drive, where I save, print and respond that I’ve received said report in a timely manner.

And then the real fun begins. Reading them.

At first it was really interesting, and I started highlighting and sticky noting, but around report #10, I suddenly found myself wanting to go back to triple-checking the database. Yes, the sweet gray siren call of Microsoft Access was more intriguing than my fifth report that day. So I really have to give a big hand to ELF Erin Whittig for sending me a narrative that she reposted to her blog

Tommorow, the Fourth of July rings in another of year of us private school kids chiming “freedom isn’t free” and another member of next year’s apartment in town.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Erin permalink
    December 19, 2007 9:20 am

    thank you for the “hand” and the link to the post. It’s nice to be heard out here in blogland. And a hand to you for reading all the reports–I hope you’ve found your way into more stimulating work.

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