What is the nature of a part time job?
It is to be a swing person that can work in a finger snap? Or is the nature of part time to be willing to work the shifts no one else wants?
As a youngster, I was involved in radio a lot and I loved the live medium.
I was a part timer that worked the weekends and the weekend overnights. If someone took ill during the week, I had to sit in the chair and take over with less than an hour’s notice.
Wherever I was in the city, when the radio called, I had to go. That dedication to work meant I missed a lot of weekend opportunities to spend time with friends and to have any sort of a social life.
Being on the radio raised no peer chits. In fact, there was a certain resentment among my friends and associates that I was “too young” to be on the radio, and that I should be working as a waiter in a restaurant like them.
The moment of clarity about working on the radio hit me an hour after I had four wisdom teeth removed. I was pumped up with codeine and not feeling good. I could not speak. I could barely open my swollen mouth.
The phone rang.
My mother answered.
She came downstairs to tell me my boss was on the phone and I had to be on the air in three hours.
I tried to mumble that I was unable to speak.
My mother told me if my job called, I had to go.
I told her I was hopped up on pain killers.
She reluctantly told my boss I just had dental surgery.
My boss told me to come to work anyway and to work through it. If I couldn’t speak, I was to play stingers and jingles instead. The morning guy would come in a half-hour early to cover the start of Morning Drive.
When I began to protest I deserved a break because I was in pain — it was then I first heard that phrase from my boss’ lips, and it still rings today in my old ears.
“What? You want for me to work that shift?” he shouted over the phone. “That isn’t my job. That’s your job. That’s the nature of part time.”
I worked the shift — but after that I became less convenient and more selfishly pliable in pulling private, personal, time of my own as often as I could without again tempting the loss of the nature of part time.