Friday, October 22, 2010

Doing what we have to..

More than a month has passed since my last blog. Economic conditions were such that it was necessary for me to take a part time job; I am now delivering the Philadelphia Inquirer. (Yes, I am aware of the irony). This particular job requires me to awaken by 3:00 AM, drive to the warehouse in Doylestown to pick up the papers and do some prep work then I drive back to the Perkasie area and service my route. The route entails much more driving that I expected, and is taking much more time than I anticipated, but is paying more money that I was looking for so the trade off is equitable. And since the work is done in the early morning hours, it doesn't effect my full time job as those hours are diverse, ranging from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM to as late as 1:15 to 9:15 PM. The key seems to be to maintaining the discipline of getting to bed by 9:30 (yes, even if the Phillies are on TV). Also, on most days I can sneak in a nap before going to the full time job. While it makes me sad that I have less time to write it is necessary so that we can stay economically comfortable.

A recent survey of Americans tried to establish the point where the happiness derived from income levels off. In other words, does more money make you happier. The research study questioned tens of thousands of people from all economic strata and established $75000 as the level of income where happiness does not improve commensurate with an increase in income. If you google "money and happiness" you will see many reports on this study and you can choose any of them to get a slant of its meaning. If you have read my story The Change, then you know where I stand on this issue.

For us, before losing my job in January of this year, we were above that magic number and we were comfortable. We had paid down many debts and did not find too much month at the end of our money. Since then, we have fallen below that level and have found it necessary to examine very closely all monetary outputs. While I have never been a pursuer of money for its sake, I have certainly experienced more angst this past year as I try to maintain my family's standard of living with creative economics. But in the end, the numbers are the numbers, hence this second job.

Like any new job or new experience, delivering newspapers before sunrise has presented a number of surprises. First and foremost, there is a lot of wildlife out there that we never see in the daytime. Deer everywhere, especially in those new cookie cutter developments. Also, skunk, raccoon, possum, mice, moles, cats, dogs and cows. I can't see into the trees for fear of hitting one of the above (or a tree), but I would bet that there are many fowl about as well.

Also, I am beginning to like the dark. There is much less traffic, which enables me to drive on all parts of the road, but the dark itself seems much more comforting that I ever thought. At times, I resent the appearance of the sun as it brings out obstacles to my pleasant morning.

Finally and much to my surprise, people still tip their newspaper carrier! In the four pay periods I have earned so far, I have received tips amounting to about
$75. It makes me mad at myself that I had not tipped my carrier before I began delivering my own paper but provides further proof that people are mostly considerate and good hearted. For those of you who have tipped in the past, whether it be your newspaper carrier or some other service provider (especially those unseen providers) congrats on your generosity. And for those who haven't, perhaps you might want to consider showing your gratitude in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Joe:
    Nice report.
    Made me well up a little.
    There was a period in my life when I couldn´t get an engineering job. To make ends meet, I worked as a hod carrier for a building contractor, operated a machine for making O Rings in a factory,sold tires, sold appliances, fixed radios and TV´s, and more.
    Fortunately, I had a wonderful wife.
    Remember that old expression: Tis always darkest before the dawn. Keep plugging, Joe.
    Keep me posted.
    Dominic Cinaglia