My Co-Worker

There are four different kinds of people where I work.
1.) The full-time, gainfully-employed people with degrees related to their job who are paid by the company for which I work
2.) Domestic Peace Corps people paid by a federal agency who have to work “X” amount of hours in one year
3.) A version of #2 that I don't understand other than that these probably don't get health insurance – they are responsible for volunteer recruitment during their one-year commitment
4.) A version of #3 but only for the summer, 10 weeks full-time – yours truly – we are responsible for fundraising during our commitment

The latter two do not have to claim the pittance we are paid on our taxes (at or below poverty, according to the federal agency), although we do pay some taxes on the living stipend. We're considered volunteers but are “on-call” 24/7. We also get a certain amount of money to put toward student loans or the educational institution to which we are or would like to attend (it's good for up to seven years after your service, I think). I get a grand; the year-long people get about five grand.

There are about half a dozen of the first two types; two of the #3s, and five of people like me. Got all that?

'K, well, the second person who makes up the Type 3 has been causing massive amounts of confusion. For one thing, she is not in the office with the rest of us. She hasn't brought in a desk for herself, nor attempted to locate a PC. No one knows where to find her. She spends a lot of time talking to other people in the office, wandering from room to room, having cigarettes, pawing through donated supplies, taking other people's things, getting rides from other employees.
I shouldn't tell too much because I don't want to come off as a Gossipy Gertie or however the hell you refer to someone who gossips a lot.
But I'll tell you some . . . just a little bit.

So this employee, we'll call her “Sarah,” made her first mistake by complaining during training. On my first two days at the downtown office, she often brought up her issues with the different floors of the building in which we work. She had already been in the office for a few weeks before attending this training program. She said she wanted to find a way to bring “the upstairs and downstairs together.” This still makes no sense to me. I think she was insinuating that the administrative people on the second floor are snotty assholes and the support staff on the first floor are the “hard workers” who do direct care and get treated poorly. Or something.

Then she took stuff from the house. There are supplies donated by companies for the “students” to use. She took home an economy-sized box of tampons. Not to mention lifting my lighter when I gave her a ride to a facility a few weeks ago. And bumming cash off everyone during lunch to get something to eat.

Now, don't get me wrong – I appreciate her situation and feel bad if she's in a bad financial state. But so are the rest of us. None of us make that much money. But none of us made her have six (SIX!) kids.

In the car on the way back to our office she complained about getting over $740 every month in food stamps and how hard it is to use all of that, despite her six (SIX!) children at home. So, she said, she sells the remainder and gets an extra $400 or so each month in cash. Then she complained that we're not allowed to have other jobs during our Peace Corps service. And then Sarah answered her phone. “What happens in this car stays in this car,” she scolded me and the other person riding with us.
I managed to tune out most of the conversation but wondered what the hell this woman was doing. Long story short, she was setting up some sort of “event” for a man that would include “a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead,” all of whome were, according to her, gorgeous in bikinis or whatever else he'd like.

The thing that makes me uncomfortable about this situation is that she allowed me to overhear the conversation, despite not knowing me at all. We made a full-time commitment to work for a national agency that does not allow us to work another job. And she's . . what? Running a escort service on the side? The worst part is that I recognized the name of her “company” the last time I was reading NUVO and it kind of gave me the creeps.

Of course, I wouldn't say anything. I don't want her to lose her job since she clearly has a lot of mouths to feed. But part of being an adult means being responsible for the promises you make. If Sarah has issues with the requirements of her job, she should seek employment elsewhere. Besides, she could make a lot more money just working in an office somewhere.


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