Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

The City of Madison is advertising a vacancy for the position of Parking Enforcement Officer. A Parking Enforcement Officer makes more than I do in my present position. He makes more than a police officer. Probably takes way more shit than either of us. I’m so tempted to apply for the job.

Obviously this isn’t a job for thin-skinned people, but even though I’ve got skin that’s about as thick as Kleenex, I’d really like to ride in that cool jeep with the flashy lights. They’re pretty ugly but they don’t have just a bubble on top, they’ve got bright flashy light-bars on all the corners and the indicator lights blink left and right when the Parking Enforcement Officer pulls up behind you and tells you to get a move-on if you’re parked under the signed that says “No Stopping Or Standing.”

I’m thinking I wouldn’t get to ride in the cool jeep right away, though. I see Parking Enforcement Officers walking around town all the time, going from car to car, punching license plate numbers into their hand-held ticket-o-trons, then slipping their calling cards under the windshield wipers of all those drivers who thought it would only take a moment to run to the place down the block, so why plug the meter? The job announcement warns you that you should be prepared to walk up to ten miles a day. That’s probably what the new guy does. The guy who’s been in parking enforcement for five years is probably the guy who gets to ride in the jeep.

The job announcement also mentions several times that you would be responsible for impounding illegally-parked cars. That’s the part of the job that really intrigues me, not because I’d like to make life hard on people just because they did a dumb thing, but because I wonder how that goes. When you ticket a car that’s been parked all night on the side of Willy Street that becomes an inbound lane at seven-thirty in the morning and the owner oversleeps, or he’s still in the shower when you come by, but then he sees the flashy lights and comes out wearing nothing but a towel and starts to argue with you as the tow truck operator is loading up his car to take it away, what can you say to him when he asks you, “How am I supposed to get to my job without a car?” Yeah, I got a job, too. This is it.

I suppose when someone comes out of his house with nothing but a towel and wants to argue with you, those are the easy times. The hard cases are the ones who come out with something heavy and blunt in their hands, and they don’t want to argue much at all. I’ve never looked closely; I wonder if Parking Enforcement Officers carry sidearms?

job hunting | 7:36 pm CDT
Category: adventures in unemployment, work
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