I've worked for a newspaper named The Courier for about 6 years now, in one way or another. For the last two of those I was actually a private contractor, but that changed a couple of months ago. I'm now a full-time employee again, with what was my job as of two years ago.
I have certain skills which make me just about uniquely suited for this job. Some of which you may have also seen in use in the forums here ... first of all, I remember stuff forever. I don't quite have a photographic memory, but I recall which houses got the paper on routes that I did 3 years ago. (Well, of course there may be some new subscribers since then, or some people may be on vacation or have stopped receiving the paper for some other reason, but I can tell you who used to be getting it.) When you consider that I've been working as a substitute carrier for the last two years and have delivered probably 100 different routes - well, you see how useful that can be.
How I ended up doing that in the first place though, I can rearrange a list of subscribers in my head, I know how the addresses are laid out in this county, and I never get lost. You know the old stereotype of guys who never ask for directions, they just drive around until they find the place they are looking for? Well, I do ask for directions, but in those cases where no one knows where something is I really can drive around and find it. Though then again, my background in math means I don't drive around randomly - I actually am using a search pattern. Knowing where I am and running a search pattern, I really will find whatever it is.
Put that together and what have you got? Someone that can handle any motor route that they need done when no one else can. That makes me too valuable to give me a regular route, if I had to do a specific route every day then they couldn't call me for other routes as needed. Like yesterday, one of our motor route carriers was in an accident (not while on the job), I got a call at 1 AM that they needed me to come in at 2 AM and deliver his routes. Two routes, 331 customers total along 140 miles of country roads that I'd never seen before.
Of course, being a substitute isn't exactly a full-time job. I did work for them full time in various jobs between 2001 and the middle of 2004. But the truth is, I really wasn't very experienced as a driver. I had a few more accidents with company vehicles than their insurance company could accept (generally minor, but you know how insurance is) and so they had to choose between trying to find a non-driving job for me and using me as a contractor. And of course, I wasn't very useful to them in a non-driving position. But I knew (and I'm sure they did too) that if I was able to keep a clean record for a couple of years they'd take me back - and they did.
You may be asking "Okay, if driving isn't a full-time position, then what else do you do?" Oh, lots of things. I seem to be the only person in the office who doesn't mind doing collections - and I do that extremely well too. I do well at getting people to subscribe, or at recruiting carriers. And one of these days I'll have to sit down and straighten out their route lists. Having driven - and still remembering - well over half of their motor routes, that won't be too hard.
Anyway ... you may have noticed that I'm not spending quite as much time in the forums as I used to. When I was only part-time at my real job, I was able to put as much effort into the forums as other people would a full-time job. But now that I'm back to full-time at my real job, the forums have to become just a part-time job for me. I take my work here very seriously (even if I don't get paid for it) and I'll try to do the best I can, but if it takes me a little longer to get back to a particular thread I hope you understand.
But as far as life goes, I'm in the enviable position of having a job where I really am irreplaceable. Not that they can't get along without me, of course they can, but no one can do it as well as I do. It is nice to be appreciated.