“Is that going to work for you?”
The question hung eerily in the air, as if this man had been reading my private thoughts. Here in this small, green office in front of an industrial-grade desk, surrounded by military gray file cabinets, breathing the chlorinated air of the pool nearby, this thin man with large, sympathetic blue eyes and wispy blond hair had no idea he’d just spoken to me from the Twilight Zone.
My wife and I had moved to Minnesota for better jobs, hoping to build some savings to start a family. But we had my school debt hanging over our heads. Houses cost more. Food cost more, too. And even with better jobs, we couldn’t seem to get ahead. It felt like we’d followed a big, empty hope.
We tried working second jobs. But, we were frustrated at how little time we could spend with each other as a result. So, we quit those jobs and kind of gave up on that idea. We knew we needed more money to pay off my loans, but we didn’t know how to get it. Then it happened. We learned we were expecting our first child.
In my frustration one day, I told my wife the answer to our problems: I needed a job that I could work from Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 8:00 that would pay enough to pay off my loans in a year. I said this rather sarcastically, because I hadn’t seen anything that would fit the bill.
Well, that little soliloquy of mine had been all but forgotten when I had a friend visit from Italy. During his visit, he took the local paper and decided to go through the job section of the want ads. This is something I had NEVER done. Don’t ask me why. But there I was, looking at the want ads with my friend. I saw two ads for swim instructors. And the pay was rather good. I took down the numbers and called them both.
A day went by and I got a call back from one. I set up a time to meet the pool manager. The pool was conveniently located only a half mile or so from my “day job” office. How nice, I thought. After work one day, I went to meet with him. I went in and basically started telling him the best ways to teach swimming. What can I say? I was young and brash.
Fortunately, he loved my ideas! Then he leaned forward and said, “I’d like to hire you and I’ll give you the top pay that we’re offering. But there’s one catch …”
Here’s where he would tell me the weekends I’d have to work, etc. I braced myself. I really wanted to pay off my student loans and the money he was offering would make that possible. I didn’t pray to God about this, but this HAD to work out!
“This job is Monday through Friday from about 4:30 to 8:00 ... Is that going to work for you?”
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