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Job: Technical Intern

A few years ago, say, fiveish, my sister got involved over at Raleigh Little Theatre as a part of their Teens On Stage program, a summer day camp where all the “campers” are the cast and crew of a show that is performed at the end of the summer. It works something like school, with the day divided into periods, the largest two being abstract acting classes and actual rehearsals for the show.

At any rate, before long the whole family was doing something or other to help out at RLT. My contribution, for example, largely consisted of all calls and strikes. But after a few years of this, I was presented with the option of volunteering for class credit as an intern through my high school. I, of course seized upon this. Instead of another filler period to complete my schedule, I got possibly one of the best classes I’ve taken in all of school. (The only ones that come close are my Computer Science classes, for obvious reasons.)

So starting on the first day of school for my Senior year, every day, at the beginning of the last period of the day, I would get in my car and drive over to RLT and put in a few hours each day helping out. There were some days better than others, and the lesson I had learned with the Library job about not letting yourself hate your job came in handy. By the terms of the internship, I had to do 180 hours of work over the semester, which worked out to about 2 hours per day with a bit of change. So each day, I had to do 2 hours worth of work, which was not always readily available. The stand-by activity when there was nothing else to do or I just hadn’t been given anything to do was to clean the shop. This is about as exciting as it sounds, but that’s the price that comes with the job; it was also rather helpful because I can now find more or less whatever I need from the shop without having to think for a while about it, which is obvious a useful skill.

But there were also the fun days. The days when we would load up the truck, roll down the windows and go for a drive over to the warehouse. There was some hauling to be done at both ends of the trip, usually, but the trip itself was always a a good chill out time to just let the day kind of roll off. So in the end, it was immensely enjoyable, not only because the work was — for the most part — fun, but because the guy I was working closely with, Roger, RLT’s Technical Director, is a generally funny guy. Plus he knows his stuff.

But come December, the first semester ended, and I didn’t have room in my schedule for another internship since I had to take German II in the last period of the day to graduate. I was very bummed out by this for a while until I realized that I don’t need a timesheet and a grade to go over to RLT and volunteer after school, as I had had with the internship class. And so, starting after Christmas break, every day after the end of school, I get in my car and drive over to RLT and put in a few hours of work. Well, sometimes.

See, one of the nice things about not working for a grade is that some days, when there is really nothing to do, I can just go home. And I get “my” afternoon back, except it isn’t really mine, because I’ve come to consider my work at RLT as another job. I have a boss, I’m expected to do a good job, and I have more or less set hours, although with variation as noted as above. And even though I’m still in high school, I feel like I work full time hours, which I basically do. I leave home at 7am and don’t get home until 6pm, usually. With about 7 hours at school and 2 at the theatre, I’m working more than the standard 40-hour work week.

And some days, it really kills me. But because it’s doing what I enjoy so thoroughly, it’s worth it to be terribly overworked, by modern standards. Which is why that, with graduation looming, I will be very sad to lose my daily time working with Roger, for two reasons. Obviously, the first is that I’ll be graduating and going off to college, where I likely won’t be able to dedicate 10 hours a week to RLT. The second is that Roger is getting married and moving to Washington D.C.. It’s a great move for him, and I know he’ll be happy there, but the fact remains that he won’t be working at RLT any more.

And so, like my final days working the Library job, I’m now finding myself wishing that this didn’t have to end. But it’s going to happen, so I just have to do my best while I still can.

And I know that’s a terrible ending to this little post, but I’m dead tired, so I’m just going to give up and call this done.

Categories: Jobs
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  1. May 7, 2010 at 1:57 pm

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