Before I start work as a teacher I pay the bills by working as a temp. My first position was a cushy data entry job at a ritzy health spa. My current position is an office clerk for a popular journal for fibromyalgia patients.
What is fibromyaglia? The simplest definition is that it is soul-crushing, full-body agony of indeterminate origin. Societal ostracization is practically a symptom of the disease. Ostensibly my job is to take orders for subscriptions and renewals. But half the time my calls are hour-long variations on the theme of: "OH GOD IT HURTS PLEASE HELP ME NOBODY ELSE WILL AAAHHH".
This is something I never encountered as a seminarian, although I imagine it is a small taste of what my CPE would have been like. Gives me an inkling of why some seminarians have near break-down experiences on their CPE assignments. On the one hand this makes me thankful I probably won't ever have to do CPE; on the other it reminds me that the human population is truly being crucified and cannot be ignored by the Body of Christ, any one of us.
The worst part about my job is how little I can do. I can't even listen to people for very long because I have projects to do in order that our publication can get out to other people with "the fibro". So the long phonecalls wind up being a battle of wills - "HELP ME" - "Would you like a complimentary information packet? - "HEAR MY STORY" - "Perhaps a diagnosis kit?" - "UNDERSTAND MY SUFFERING" - "I do apologize but I need to return to work."
*sigh* Pray for fibro patients and for me.