It’s exactly one week until the madness of school and work (simultaneously) begins. With the release of one of my class schedules a full week early, I’m happily confident that the classes themselves won’t be a problem. In fact, I think I knew that from the beginning… since my last experience with college was graduate school, and I’m going back for an undergraduate degree (so the work load will be significantly easier). And, of course, there’s the fact that I’m majoring in something completely different this time (Communication vs the History degree I have already) that requires a lot less reading than before (one book per class vs. seven or eight in the History department). And at any rate, I have always been good at school, having the ability to hear or read something once or twice and remember it, and the writing quotient… which is nothing.
No… school doesn’t scare me.
Work scares me.
It has been eight months since I left my full time job in Tampa and moved up here. I’ve dabbled with Ormsby’s business, of course, played a whole fuck load of World of Warcraft, and have focused on my relationship – a needed change in my life that required that attention toward the beginning. I’ve had a lot of interviews, I’ve retooled my resume several times, and am happy to say that the last major overhaul had a fairly significant role to play in getting this new job that I start on the 24th. I interview pretty well, too, as I’m well-spoken and am very good at giving clear, concise answers when asked a direct question (Dad used to say I had an answer to everything – he was right about that).
But you know what… now that I have a job, now that I’m starting said job, that I earned by the qualities of my resume and not because I was in the right place at the right time, I’m scared shitless. But let’s begin at the beginning.
My tenure in Tampa began with a document management company. I started as their receptionist and had aspirations of moving into Accounting, because I’d dabbled in that before during Louisville Part I and liked it. I liked the self-reliant aspect of it, the fact that with those numbers in front of me, I could get lost in them and not have to answer phones or talk to anyone. It’s a good profession for an introvert (as long as I made my math-phobias get out of my way). Receptionist was not so much, but they didn’t get many direct calls to the line, and I spent my very short, ten day tenure, as a receptionist there making tea for the owner and running personal errands. My only beef was that they would not let me drive my own car and, as I have serious anxiety about driving any car but my own, that wasn’t a good fit, but I needed a job. It wasn’t a great paying job, but I needed it. And it was enough to squeak by for awhile.
Ten days into the Receptionist tenure, the Trainer quit. Rather than hire a new one of those, and I guess recognizing that I was more intelligent than what was required for a Receptionist at that company, I was offered the job and a raise. I took it because, I mean, hell… more money. It’s a no-brainer. I was scared shitless of training people, especially since I didn’t really know my way around a computer (and still don’t for the most part, but I’m better now than I was in 2010). But I took my test account home one night and learned that program backward and forward. And then I blundered through the first few trainings with live clients. In a month or two, I was relatively comfortable with it. And by six months, I was training in my sleep. Because it was the same program every day… three times a day… I repeated myself so much that I didn’t even have to look at my computer anymore.
The company I worked for was pretty lax. And by lax I mean that they served alcohol pretty much all day, YouTube and Wii were highly encouraged during working hours, and the pranks that we played on each other during vacation times were over the top (and funded by the owners). Work didn’t feel like work because of this, and also because I could dress casually every day. Like jeans and a T-Shirt casually. And barefoot. Or flip-flops if I really needed shoes.
Two years later, one of the systems that the Document Management company had developed was sold to a larger insurance company and thirteen of us, myself included, went with the acquisition. I got a fifty percent raise and more vacation time than I could ever use (at least that’s what I thought then), simply for taking the job offer and continuing to do the same job I’d done every day for the last two years. The culture didn’t change (though maybe it should have… because the sexual harassment at work started with that transfer) in that we were still able to wear what we wanted, but we couldn’t drink anymore and the pranking fell by the wayside. There was no onsite HR and management was overloaded and understaffed, so people still pretty much got away with anything and everything. I didn’t really take the time to consider whether I was doing things that made me worth the 40-50 thousand a year I was making. Because that was just what it was, and I was lucky to have a job like that.
I moved back to Louisville, though, eight months ago, feeling entitled to something that was the same as what I’d had before. I mean I’d done it for four years, I had (presumably) been worth that salary (and had gotten used to having extra money in my pocket every month). I wanted my life back. And finally, after a lot of interviews, and a lot of hoping, and a lot of wondering why the fuck that wasn’t happening as easily as I thought it would, I found it. And I start it on Monday.
But now that I have it? I realize just how lucky I was to find what I found in Tampa. Luck is not a translatable skill, but you know what, Luck is how I got that job there, and Luck is how I got that transfer. It had absolutely NOTHING to do with SKILL, and that’s the point. All of my other jobs I’ve gotten either because they were brainless and needed to be done and I applied for them and got them for no particular reason other than the fact that I played World of Warcraft (seriously, this got me the job at the document management company, as well as the job at the plumbing company in Louisville in 2009) or because I happened to be in the right place at the right time (in other words, Luck). I got this new job based on merit… merit that I’m not really sure I deserve, despite what my resume says (because let’s face it… Word will be still and let me type ANYTHING on it).
I’m scared shitless that I’m going to walk in there a week from today and I’m going to find that I really have absolutely no idea what the fuck I’m doing, that I was being overpaid in my last position, and that I would be better off settling for a $12 an hour receptionist position because I suddenly find that there is no way in hell that I can do this on a bigger scale (webinars vs. in person training; one technical manual vs. ten very specialized ones).
I am terrified. And I’ve never wished for time to slow down more in my life… because I feel like I could use a few more weeks to find my (figurative) balls, pull the badass out of retirement, and prepare for the inevitable… whatever the inevitable will be.