A Leap of Faith
I had been unhappy with the work situation at my previous place of employment for some time. Job duties kept increasing while staff continued to turnover and disappear. Pay didn't match the level of responsibility. But still, I felt secure in knowing my job duties and being able to handle them well. The known is always safer than the unknown. The little demons of doubt told me to be glad with what I had and not to hope or try for more, that I could be risking all to end up in a worse situation.
Then came the devastating news that our family-owned company was being sold to a large corporation. Our roles would change, our duties would change, and we would become an employee number amongst many spread across the country. The only thing that wasn't going to change was our pay. I tried to be hopeful, and to ride out the bumpy transition process, but it only took a very short while to determine being a cog in a large corporate wheel wasn't going to be much fun. Since I was the only one in the office of three (already short-handed by one) with more than three months experience, many new responsibilities were heaped upon my desk. The promised trainers to "shadow" us during the beginning stages did not materialize and we were left to fumble thru and rely on instruction and guidance by telephone. Coupled with this was an unwieldy coworker who had proven to be unpleasant to say the least. It wasn't a fun place to work anymore. In fact it was miserable. Stress, anxiety and insomnia, accompanied by toxic levels of perfume, to which I am highly allergic, took a toll on my physically and emotionally to the point that I was wiped out and had nothing more to give. I lost my voice almost entirely, and my skin was a disaster.
It reached the point where I knew I could not continue, and I told my husband of my plan to turn in my resignation and seek new employment. He was amazingly supportive despite concerns shared by both of us that I would be able to find another job in a reasonable amount of time, since our finances requires dual income. On the morning of December 8th I arrived at work early and submitted my resignation effective immediately. Normally I would never do that, I believe in giving notice. However my employment with the previous company ended with sale and transfer of assets and I had worked with the new company less that a week. I could see no point in staying and learning to do things the new way when I had no intention of remaining in the position. I also knew physically, that I had pushed it as far as my body could go. My boss was very understanding and we parted on good terms. We remain friends. I don't expect he will be there for much longer either.
When I walked out the door that cold December morning with my box of personal belongings under my arm, it felt like the weight of the world had dropped off my shoulders. I could breathe! And for the first time in weeks my stomach stopped hurting. It hasn't hurt since. My skin cleared up too, but it has taken nearly four weeks for my voice to fully return, obviously it had been strained beyond it's limits.
I cannot tell you what a scary move that was, and how afraid I was. Everything in my German heritage cried out about being irresponsible. Never in my life have I left a job without having another secured first. Prior to the job I had just resigned from, I worked in one position for 19 years, leaving only to relocate so I could marry my husband! Security is my middle name, along with responsibility. And FEAR, I've spent my whole life operating in a state of fear, I was raised on fear... "don't do this because something bad might happen." It was a crazy move. I am old... I turn 58 next month, I am far from perky, and I am certainly not Barbie appearance wise. I've seen employers hire young and attractive over mature and experienced time after time. The job market here is limited, but despite it all, deep down I believed God had a plan for me, and that it was necessary to close one door in order for a new one to open. It was a leap of faith.
I spent December relaxing, letting my mind and body heal. It's been wonderful, and a break I badly needed. Two days ago I started job hunting online and submitted resumes to a few places. In the back of my mind I had envisioned what kind of place I wanted to work, with what kind of duties/responsibilities. I've done it all, and I no longer have the desire to be top dog, I just want to be a productive employee in a positive environment with a reasonable amount of work and equitable pay.
Yesterday afternoon a position for a Receptionist with a legal firm was posted online. I submitted my resume electronically (how I love the modern age of job hunting via the Internet), and less than an hour later received a call asking if I'd like to come in this morning for an interview. Definitely I would! I checked out their online website and learned that I'd be working for a two attorneys in the local branch of a small law firm that has a high volume of casework. The attorneys are a married couple. The attorney who owns the firm works at a branch in a city not far away. I liked the faces and eyes of everyone concerned. Yes, I do go a lot by that! Their firm handles primarily disability claims thru social security and private insurance companies along with some personal injury work and guardianship/conservatorship cases. Helping people negotiate the maze of government bureaucracy is something I can feel good about!
Needless to say, I didn't sleep much last night. I have interviewed for jobs just twice in the past 25 years, even though I've been on the hiring side of the desk many times. It doesn't get any easier. I went with the sensible approach... just be yourself, either they like you or they don't. I knew I was more than qualified for the position and I felt I had done a good job on my resume. I had excellent references including my past employer and HR person. Still, walking thru the door with "your hat in your hand" is scary! I left early to negotiate the downtown morning traffic/parking situation and arrived with time to spare, as is my way. Their offices are on the 9th floor of one of our two "high rise" bank buildings downtown... bet y'all didn't know we had any buildings over three stories tall in West Texas, did you? :-)
Both attorneys interviewed me together, and I immediately felt very comfortable with them. Office attire is semi-casual, slacks and tops, and Friday is jeans day! Whew, no dresses and heels, cuz I don't do that! Then they had me visit with the Case Worker and Admin Assistant who would be my coworkers. Two very friendly, warm ladies, younger than me, but not kids, and we hit it off well I thought. The attorneys told me they planned to do more interviewing this week, and make a decision early next week. I left feeling really positive about the position, and hoping I made a good impression. Competition is always scary.
Less than two hours later I received a call from the attorney. She told me they had all been impressed with me and asked if I would like the position. YES!!! I eagerly responded that I would love to work for them. I'll be starting next Monday morning, 8:30-5:00. No more 7 am starting time, no more working weekends, no more ten phone lines ringing off the hook... just 5 and a back up person to help with them! The pay isn't fabulous, but it's ok and increases in 90 days. Health, dental, and vision insurance are paid for entirely by the company, so that's a big plus! I am excited!
Yes, it will be challenging, there are many details and routines to learn. It is a paperless office, meaning everything is scanned and filed electronically, I love that... much less work and far more accurate! Documentation of all calls is high priority and I am good at that. Needless to say, in working with claims, there will be an abundance of mail coming in and out as well. No bills to pay... hallelujah! (Although I did it well, I hate numbers, always have! I am not a numbers person. I don't like absolutes.) The clientele will be interesting, and challenging, we are dealing with people in desperate situations, many who have medical issues and/or mental health issues, addictions, etc. It will be a good test of my people skills and I believe I'm up to the challenge!
The moral of the story is... if I would have listened to my fears that no one would want to hire an old fat lady, and that I wouldn't be able to find a job I would enjoy any better anyway... if I had listened to well meaning friends and family members who were shocked that I would even consider making such an "impulsive" move... I would still be in a miserable situation and so very unhappy. Life is too short to be unhappy about going to work everyday. God has once again come thru and rewarded my faith beyond what I dared to hope for. I know in my heart this is where I am supposed to be now.
Sometimes in life you have to push thru your fears, stop listening to all the negative messages in your head, and "just do it"... Josie Two Shoes is looking at a bright new beginning in this new year!