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How In The World Am I Getting To Work?

June 26, 2011

Listening To: “Calling All Cars” – Sean Hayes, “Big Black Hole & the Little Baby Star”

A quick realization:

So the summer school at which I work is located in New Oxford, but we are here in Gettysburg. It’s about a twenty-five-ish minute drive to get to the summer school, but I don’t have a car. For the past couple of weeks, some of my coworkers have been picking me up because it’s the only way that I could get to the school and back. This upcoming week, the students will start coming to the summer school for the first time and I am technically signed up to take the school bus with the students. Unfortunately, this causes quite a few issues. First, there is the fact that I am staff at the summer school, not a student, so it is expected that I show up to the school BEFORE the students, but if I ride the bus, that obviously won’t be possible. Additionally, one of my responsibilities is to make sure all of the students get off of one of the buses, get them to where they need to go, and make sure the bus driver is able to discuss any issues that may have occurred on the ride up. If my bus has not shown up to the school yet, I will not be able to complete this duty. After work, staff members are expected to stay later than the students in order to attend staff meetings, clean up, prepare for the next day, etc., and I would be able to help around the office if I were able to stay…but if I ride the bus with the students, I would have to leave before any of those things would happen.
All of these concerns have been causing me a lot of anxiety.
No permanent solution has been made at this point, but as of right now, someone will be driving me to work tomorrow. My parents ran into similar issues for the past couple of years, as they both worked peculiar schedules in different towns, but only had one car. In neither of our situations is there the possibility to take public transportation, and we all worked too far away (or need to look too nice for our job) to bike or walk. My parents and I are lucky in that we have a support system that helped and will help us figure out a way to get to and from our jobs every day.
But this is not the case for everyone. Fortunately, my boss has made herself responsible for making sure that I have a ride to and from work, and she is also concerned with making sure I get there at the same time as the rest of staff. But it could be totally different – my boss could have nothing to do with my transportation, and could fire me because I can’t get to work on time or figure out a way to get to work. I am not making anywhere near enough money at any of my jobs to afford my own car and gas. So what happens if I am working jobs with the same pay but I am an adult with no car? It becomes incredibly difficult to maintain one job. If I live in Gettysburg but work in one of the surrounding towns, I am unable to get to any of those towns without a car. And once I get fired from my job, how am I supposed to look for another one? I have no way to get to interviews, or I have to limit myself to jobs that only exist within walking distance of my house (and weather concerns haven’t even come into play yet – will I still be able to walk 30 minutes to work if it’s snowing or thunderstorming?). And I am already feeling stressed about my transportation situation, but I know that my boss will ensure that I can get to and from work (and that if my boss at the LIU can’t help me, my bosses at CPS will certainly step in) – how stressed would I feel if I did not have that safety net? How would I be able to be fully successful in my work and family life if I don’t even know if I will be able to get to my job, let alone perform well at it?
My situation is simple in comparison to many who are unable to afford the luxury of a car, something that most Americans take for granted. Maybe public transportation should be looked at a little more closely if we are trying to get more Americans to have jobs. It would certainly make my life a lot easier, so I can’t imagine the help that it would be for individuals who don’t have the same good fortune to be guaranteed transportation.

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