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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Microstory 793: Argine

Argine Agliana was one of the hardest working people that anyone who knew her knew. When she was but a child, she started babysitting for families in her neighborhood. She was often not much older than the children she was charged with taking care of. As she got older, she started doing even more things for people; mowing, raking leaves, walking pets. As soon as she turned fourteen, she was old enough to find something more regular and formal, so she started out as a violin teacher at a small shop on Pebble Road. When she turned fifteen, she became a certified lifeguard. Her parents thought she would quit her first job, but she ended up doing both. Somehow, she managed to work at least two jobs throughout her entire school career. One summer, she even had four at the same time, and though she felt she was handling it, her parents forbade her from continuing like this, and made her taper that back down. By the time she graduated from college, her résumé was two pages long. Movie theatres, libraries, delivery sorting facilities, and warehouses. Sadly, though, even with all this experience, she had an incredibly difficult time finding a more mature position. She was an adult now, and had completed her studies, so it was time for a yearly salary. She had the right education to be a copyeditor, but no one would hire her. It seemed like they were all looking for experience in the industry, which she was unable to accumulate, because...well, no one would hire her without it! All those other jobs were all but pointless now. Still, she had saved up so much money from them, that she was able to stay afloat without much.

At this point in her life, she was only holding one job as a maintenance contractor, working at the best rate of pay she’d ever had, but limited to minimal shifts. This was meant to give her the extra time to dedicate to her job search, but that didn’t appear to be helping much. She was doubting her whole life’s choices, and thinking she had wasted all that time she could have spent gathering interesting and memorable experiences with friends. And then the contractor she was working for started having some legal troubles, which pushed her out of the workforce for the first time since she was seven. Worried this gap in her résumé might reflect poorly on her, Argine’s father suggested she start volunteering. “Pick a cause, and support it,” he would say. This was the best advice she could have received, especially since she had saved up so much money that she could spend an extended period of time with no revenue. She went back to her roots, and started working with underprivileged children at a nonprofit organization. Many had learning disabilities, but came from families who could not afford formal care. Her supervisor was so impressed with her that he recommended her for a paid position, of which there were very few. And this was what she did for years, until she had accrued enough contacts to start her own nonprofit, which worked to build homes for these families. She died at the age of 107 as an unsung hero, but was soon thereafter recognized by the committee responsible for granting individuals the Carina Olguin Industry Award. She kept the award on the mantel in her home in Heaven, and it was the only thing she took with her when the War came.

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