Off To The Salt Mines

I am a couple of days into my new job, and the early verdict is positive. It’s a great place to work!

I’m not sure exactly when this became clear to me. It could have been the moment I spotted the framed Blitzen Trapper and Jack Johnson posters hung up on the wall. Or perhaps it was when I stepped into the warehouse for the first time and saw stacks and stacks of CDs lining the shelves. It might have been during our monthly new release conference call, when our reps were talking about which new album and video titles they expect to be big sellers. Or maybe it was simply during my initial introduction around the office, when I realized how friendly and welcoming everybody was. In any case, I am already feeling at home there, and while there is a lot of information to process and steps to learn, I’m excited to be there and think that this position is perfect for me at this stage of my career.

Rock ‘n roll posters on the walls. I love it here!

I still can’t believe I’m working with record labels and movie studios. It seems too good to be true. I keep pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming some happy fantasy. Then again, I’ve been doing that for the past ten months with Tara, and every morning when I wake up her head is right there on the pillow next to mine. Guess I just lead a charmed life.

I was pretty nervous when I woke up Monday morning, but that’s to be expected. I pulled out of the driveway at 10 minutes past 7:00, allowing myself plenty of time before I was scheduled to start at 8:00. I was in the parking lot twenty-two minutes later, and had to kill some time before actually walking in the front door. There was that moment when I was strolling toward the entrance, bag slung over my shoulder, headed inside for the first time ever as an employee, and the butterflies were fluttering around like crazy. I will never experience this moment again, I thought to myself. And then, thankfully. Because really, first day jitters suck! The receptionist greeted me, I told her I was a new employee, and she told me to go ahead on back. The only problem was, I had no idea where I was supposed to go exactly, so she ended up walking me to H.R., which is really just one office containing a pleasant older woman named Donna. She gave me the requisite forms to fill out and went over a few things, and then Andrea – my supervisor – took over, giving me a tour of the building and introducing me to the other employees there. Then I was released to Vanessa, the current Sales & Marketing Coordinator whose last day is the 13th. She is training me for two weeks, and though the amount of information I’ll need to learn is nearly overwhelming, she’s patient and a good instructor and will have me pretty well up to speed by the time she is gone, I’m confident.

Here’s my cubicle. We’re sharing it now, but once she’s outta there it’ll be mine all mine to do with as I please. Err, work related, of course.

My home for 40 hours every week.

I love all the rock ‘n roll posters on the walls. That is just so me. 

Actually, I love everything about having a job again. Being out of work so long, it all seems novel to me even though I’ve worked in offices for some twenty years. Cubicles and water coolers. Conference rooms and printers. Receptionists and shipping managers. I love it. Guess I’ve missed working more than I thought!

A real life salt mine. (Courtesy of

I’m not crazy about getting up early and leaving Tara at home while I trudge off to the salt mines, but it’s great coming home to her every evening, and she does sweet things like making sure there is coffee before I leave and surprising me with love notes in my lunch bag. And we’re able to text each other during breaks and lunches, so it’s all good. Besides, she’ll have a job of her own soon, and we’ll both be heading off to work every day. We were fortunate to have two and a half months together to do as we pleased, and we definitely took full advantage of that time.

On a side note, who came up with the phrase “off to the salt mines,” anyway? Is salt even really mined? I thought it evaporated and was simply scooped off the ground. One of these days I’m a-gonna look into that.

So yeah, work is good and the people are nice and the position is both more challenging and more important than the one I had before. And also, I’d say, more rewarding. I can tell already, just based on the work I have done and the other tasks I’ve yet to learn. I will never be bored there, that much is certain. I’m not saying that was the case at my last job, but…umm…well, yeah. That was the case at my last job. I blame that on a lack of direction. Nobody ever really knew what to do with my position there, which probably explains why they ended up eliminating it after awhile. And why some days I was left twiddling my thumbs and begging for something to do, while other days the stuff I did do was glorified step ‘n fetch it grunt work. Whatever, it’s all water under the bridge now, and if nothing else gave me the experience I needed to land this job.

It was nice working two days, then having a holiday, before going back to work for another couple of days. Remember, I had 618 days off in a row. I need to ease into this new position. I’d kinda like to have a midweek holiday every week, but that’s not likely to happen. As for the 4th, it was very laid back, which was fine by me. Last year I was on the final leg of my road trip, enjoying fireworks (and Sizzler) in Boise, Idaho before heading home the following morning. This year, Tara and I lounged all day. We slept in, watched a bunch of TV, listened to records, read on the patio, drank margaritas, and grilled steak. Neither of us cared about venturing anywhere to see fireworks. I told her that as fun as last year was, it didn’t hold a candle to this year because I didn’t have a wonderful woman to come home to then. That, my friends, makes all the difference in the world.

Hasta la vista and enjoy the rest of your week. As for me, I’m off to the salt mines again!


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

17 thoughts on “Off To The Salt Mines

  1. So glad to hear that your new job is going well! 🙂 Sounds like it’s all very positive things!

    And sometimes its the quiet holidays that are the best. Shawn and I ran errands yesterday and came home and relaxed for the rest of the night. We also have a party to prep for this weekend so there’s not going to be much more relaxing for the next 2 days. LOL.


  2. I travel across country for vacation and you get a job! If only I had known it was that simple I would have left earlier. Congratulations! Sounds great so far.


  3. I’ve never known what it was like to work in a cubicle with a real watercooler and whatnot. Thanks for sharing a little bit of your 40-hour workweek.

    The love notes in the lunch bag got me right here (hits myself in the chest), right here!! Man o’ man……


    1. Got me right there, too. That daughter of yours – she’s a keeper!

      My brother has also never worked in an office and always found my stories of cubicles and water coolers difficult to fathom. I think he thought I was making half the stuff up!


  4. Howdy Mark!

    Listen, I’m sitting in a Starbucks in West Palm and using their wifi, but my computer battery is getting ready to die so I have to make this comment quick….

    CONGRATS on your first day at work, buddy!!!!!!!!!

    LOVE your cubicle!

    So glad to hear that you’re enjoying your new job!

    You GO, boy!!!!


    1. That’s dedication, man. I appreciate your comment while on vacation and while stealing somebody’s wi-fi. Thanks kindly, my friend, and enjoy the rest of your visit. Try not to die from heat stroke!


  5. Hi Mark!! Congrats on your new job! The position sounds like it’s a perfect fit for yoU!! Yay!!! I’m not going to wish you good luck because honestly, you deserve all the blessings you are enjoying. I will however wish you much joy and much happiness! Yay for Mark!! (So, do I get free CDs now? LOL)


    1. Gracias, Rish! I keep marveling over what a perfect job it is for me, too. One of these days it’ll sink in that this is really happening.

      And I do get free music, actually. I doubt you’d be familiar with most of the artists in our catalog, though there are a few household names. Metric and Jack Johnson, for instance. Even some Bob Marley stuff.


  6. The job looks and sounds amazing! I’m so pumped for you! It truly is all so fitting. Guess you do lead a charmed life, Mark. And here’s more good news. I asked Joe to draw a name from my Life List giveaway commenters and you won the $10 I-Tunes gift card! Woohoo! I instantly knew you’d be psyched. Email me your address again and I’ll send it out right away! Congrats, Sir!


  7. Sounds wonderful, Mark. Sounds perfect. And guess what? I’ve never heard that expression–off to the salt mines. Might it be regional, or the hole I’ve been living in for half a century? On second thought–don’t answer that.


Add Your Two Cents!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: