The New Me!
September 13, 2012
The last time I posted, a “real” post, nearly a year ago; it was to inform the world of my impending unemployment. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I got to keep my job, which one would think would be a good thing. Not so much in my case. I could go into a lot of detail. Heck, I typed 3 pages of “detail” and was nowhere near done saying what I wanted to say. So I’ll give you the Cliff Notes version.
When I accepted “that” job nearly 5 years ago, I thought it was the answer to prayers. As it turns out it was the devil in disguise, with the disguise being a big fat dollar sign. Most weeks I worked 6 days. I always worked on Saturdays. I could never get off when I wanted or needed to and I missed a lot on the home front. Even when I was home, I wasn’t home. I was too tired to really be there. My house was a wreck, my family was a wreck, and I wasn’t really happy, even though I convinced myself that I was. I made a lot of money, but I paid a high price for it.
The last straw came when I was transferred to another office last March with 2 days notice. Transferring to this office would more than double my daily commute, costing me a lot more just to get to work, and it wasn’t a good work environment. I was told that they didn’t need me at my original office anymore, and I didn’t have a choice. Word to the wise, there is always another choice! I began searching frantically for another position, even before I started working at my new location, and my union steward began fighting for my job to stay where it was.
My first day at the new place was a Saturday, naturally. Friday night’s sleep was hard to find, as I was sick at the thought of having to work go to work at a new place. I awoke that morning and with sleep still in my eyes I caught the reflection of my wrist in the bathroom mirror. The thought that went through my head still scares me, although it served as a very effective wake up call. “You could get out of this whole thing by slitting your wrist right there”.
That thought scared me, it still does. I cried all day every time I would think about it going through my head. Not because I was scared that I would do it, but from the shame of letting something and someone have that much power over me. It took a while before I even shared that with anyone, and until now only my sister knew.
My unhappiness intensified over the next few weeks, as I was constantly harped on by my new management team for not being fast enough. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the fastest, not by a long shot, but I’m good at what I do. My speed had been good enough for 5 years at several other offices. I finally had to resort to skipping my breaks and taking an abbreviated lunch just to keep them off my back, and some days that wasn’t even enough.
To make matters worse, there was a lot of sickness at my old office, and I was only getting 2 days a week at my new one. Therefore, I had to help them 4 days a week. It wasn’t pleasant being miserable with your circumstances then having to go help the very people that put you in the situation to begin with. It was ironic that they “didn’t need me” but yet I worked there every single day I was available, and on the days I wasn’t available, the brought people in from other offices. Still yet, a bad day at my original office beat the heck out of a good day at the new one. Also, the amount of hours I worked there were evidence of the fact that they did indeed need me. Myself, as well as the people working to get me reinstated at that office kept meticulous records of every minute I spent on the clock there.
Most weeks I worked a 2 days at my new home office, and 4 at my original one. Some weeks I had to cover for vacations at my new office, and work there exclusively for a week or two. Naturally that was when I reached my lowest points. I spent my own vacation applying for other jobs. I had excellent connections at one place and applied for a clerical position there. I knew the pay would be less, but I had 10 years experience and a business degree that I might as well put to use. After a month of not hearing anything, I had all but given up, especially when my connection informed me that someone internal had applied for the position. I had a few other nibbles, all of which I didn’t even pursue once I found out the starting salaries. I was really discouraged with the whole situation, to say the least!
During all of this, my friend and union steward was going through the lengthy process of appeals to get me moved back to my original office. Given my track record I was incredibly shocked one morning to be told that following an upcoming 2 week stint at my new office, I would be moving back “home”! Permanently! Not only that, my moving was unfair, and they would have to pay me mileage for every day that I worked at the office I had been transferred to! The frown I had been wearing for the last 3 months turned into a smile that wouldn’t go away. I resisted the urge to shout, “Winning” a la Charlie Sheen.
Near the end of my final 2 week stint at the other office I received a phone call one afternoon around 2:30 from the place where I had the connections, asking me to come in for an interview at 5:15 that evening. I don’t feel comfortable saying where I was working, but I worked outside, all day, everyday, and it was July 5th, and it had been approximately 7,800 Farenheight that day. I was disgusting, to say the least, and I wouldn’t get off work until after 4:30 and I was about 30 minutes away from where the interview was. I tried to talk them into letting me reschedule, but they insisted that they wanted to see me, and they wanted to do it as early as possible. I warned them that I would stink, and they laughed and said they would sit across the room if need be!
So, a few hours after getting a call I went in for a job interview smelling like sweat and dirt, in a dingy uniform, with my hair thrown in a messy ponytail. Not ideal interviewing conditions for anyone, let along someone whose self esteem was in the gutter. I was very self conscious, but the interviewers put me at ease quickly, and made sure I had plenty of water to drink. Following the interview I had to complete a series of “tests” to check my computer skills and abilities. The interview and testing process took over an hour and I was ready to go home!
Once I got home, I told my husband about the interview. He asked if I thought I might have it, and I honestly had no idea. I had prayed and prayed for something new to come my way. I knew God was in control, but I couldn’t understand why he would let me suffer for so long. With my degree and experience I would be making a manageable salary. I would have paid health insurance, vacation, holidays, sick leave, and retirement. I never had all of those provided for me by my employer, and having been without those luxuries that most people take for granted; I definitely knew how valuable they were. Most importantly, the type of organization offers job security second to none. Out of everything I had applied for, this was the first position I could really see myself doing. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I had done the best that I could, and the rest would be up to fate.
I didn’t have to wait long for an answer. My interview ended at approximately 6:30 pm, and I knew there were other candidates in the office when I was there. By 7:30 they were calling me to offer me the position! They wanted me to start immediately, but I requested they let me give my present employer a 1 week notice. Looking back, I have no idea WHY I offered my previous employer that courtesy. It’s not like they had shown me any respect in the 4 plus years I had been working my tail off for them. That’s just how God made me, too nice sometimes, not nice enough at other times.
I spent the next week in complete shock and amazement at how a person’s life can completely change in a matter of hours. Suddenly, a world of opportunities was open to me, and to us, as a family. Things we couldn’t do before, due to time constraints and work schedules, were now options. It’s a great feeling to know that you will never miss another of your son’s ballgames, or karate belt ceremonies, or that you won’t have to plan his birthday parties on Sundays anymore! It’s nice to know that you will have 3 day weekends, for the first time in your life, and that every day you will get off work at a decent time. My first weekend off we went with our church group on a trip to Saint Louis, a luxury we had previously been denied.
It’s not all rainbows and sunshine though. 2 weeks after I started my new job, my son got terribly sick. After nearly 2 weeks in 2 hospitals (one 2 hours away), it was determined that he had HSP. It made me sick that I was taking so much time off from a job that I had just started, and at the time of year when they needed me the most. My supervisors were amazing about the whole thing, calling to check on us and praying for us regularly. My new co-workers picked up my slack in such a way that I knew I had made the right decision.
Another bummer, my new job only pays monthly, and because of the way the pay periods run I would have to wait 6 weeks before I got a check. Couple this with a week at an out of town hospital and it can get difficult. Unless of course God puts wonderful people in your life, some of them strangers, to meet your needs! As for the needs on the home front, they were provided by that payment for all my back mileage that I mentioned earlier!
Looking back I now know why I had to go through every trial and tribulation that I did. I wanted relief from my work environment, and I couldn’t understand why God would let me hurt so much. It all makes perfect sense to me now. With my old job I didn’t have sick leave. I would not have been able to get off work when my son was sick, and even if I did, I wouldn’t have gotten paid for the time off. At my present job your sick days for the year are given to you on day one. Although I hated to use a week’s worth of sick days on my first check, it was such a blessing that they were available to me. Being sent to the other office at my old job provided me the kick in the pants to start looking for better options, and it provided me with income (through the back pay for mileage) during a time that would have been financially difficult otherwise. Finding out that I would be transferred back to my previous office before I made the decision to change jobs, provided me with a clear conscious with no regrets. I was able to make an informed decision about my future. I can’t say, “If I would have known that maybe I wouldn’t have taken the new position”.
Most importantly, and as cliché as it might sound, the experience has made my family appreciate each other in a way that we didn’t before. Missing out on so much for so long has made me happy about getting to experience the little things. The things that others take for granted, such as taking in your sons football game, spending a lazy Saturday afternoon watching movies, or going on a church trip, now have new meaning for us. Things people may despise, such as spending a Saturday morning cleaning house, running errands for your grandparents, or having a yard sale, I find myself so incredibly happy to be doing. I’m not happy because I like cleaning (okay, maybe a little), I’m happy to have Saturdays free to do it, and to know that if I get it all done on Saturday that we can relax on Sunday. Before, I would work so hard on Sunday just to get things ready for the week, that I felt like I needed a vacation.
My boys and husband tell me every Saturday, and sometimes on the other days, that they are so happy to have me with them, and I couldn’t agree more. I’ll leave you with a smile on my face and one word: