Sunday, November 05, 2006

Drive, Driving and Driven and the gifts we unknowingly give ourselves...or not

Again, it has been almost two weeks since I have written. A lot has happened...

I saw a movie once (oddly I don't remember which movie, the title, the plot, nothing but this scene) where a couple of kids were filming an empty brown paper bag caught in a cross wind between some buildings. The bag was blown this way and that, up, down and in circles, battered and torn in the strong gale. That is how I have felt lately. There is so much happening, and I feel tossed about here and there, barely able to get my bearings. It is not all bad things going on: rather, it is bad and good and in-between--just a brutal onslaught of life from which I have been powerless to escape, merely reacting to the force of it like a helpless, lifeless sac.

Or have I, like the lifeless bag, allowed the forces of this earth to breathe life into me? Because it seems that in this ruthless flurry of activity, it has once again been decided, for various reasons as a proactive approach to resolve some lingering issues that have been brought to fever pitch in this recent storm of activity that I will get a part-time job.

I want to take a moment to interject how strange, how funny, life is. When you are a young adult, no more than a grown up child really, and you make certain choices, who could know that those choices in one way or another open up or close so many doors for you in the future? Despite having a child just after graduating high school, I went to college. During my final years of college, I married a man who married me despite the fact I had a child out of wedlock (I really hate that term, but there it is embedded in this language of ours). When we got married, I thought I was so lucky to have found a guy who would take in damaged goods like me. Little did I know I married a guy with a work allergy. So I went to college full-time and worked two to three part-time jobs at any given time to make ends meet because my husband was always off work for some imagined work injury or some such boloney. And I was apparently the only one capable of cleaning the house, also. So I worked hard when I was married: I wanted the family, I wanted the degree, and I wanted my employers to like me. In my senior year, I found a part-time job with perfect hours for me and paid decently even if it seemed somewhat unorthodox--School Bus Driver. The bus company tripped all over itself to hire me. Let's just say that although there are a few retired old ladies and men driving bus, the majority of drivers are people who for some reason or another can't hack it in a real job. And there is a very high turn over rate--meaning, it is a job that goes through employees with a quickness. It is not a very glamorous job. Think about it: you are driving around a self-contained three-ring circus on a sugar high. Spit balls, paper airplanes and dozens of children teasing and fighting for the whole two-hour shift twice a day--what could be worse? For the bus company to get their meat hooks on a real live Magna Cum Laude college grad....well, it was like pennies from heaven. They soon took me under their wing. After I graduated, I worked as a stand-by driver for a while, then as trainer, then an assistant in the dispatch office, then the Charter Dispatcher/Payroll person, salaried, full-time. I did not immediately apply to graduate school, as I should have to get the credentials I needed to practice in the field I earned a degree in. Instead, as I achieved in school, earned my degree plus honors, and earned promotions and praise at my job (even if it was just at the bus company), I also earned something else, something priceless--a sense of myself--self confidence. In my newly discovered self-confidence, I realized my marriage was a farce. I was carrying too much of the load; it was holding me back. I finally realized he did me no favors when he married me and I was not damaged goods. I had something--many things: talent, a brain, and a desire to win. So I moved on. Unfortunately, it wasn't back to grad school--it was into full-time employment with the bus company so I could support my daughter, and myself but eventually, it was away from the bus company. Don't get me wrong--I have occasionally taken some steps backwards and far off the track (such as Eight-Eight Finger's so-called-father). But even as I walk backwards on the path, get lost and make wrong turns, I have the value of the correct choices I did make to bolster me, to be my platform and key to something better. I was pregnant in high school, yes: but I graduated at the top of my class nonetheless. I was a single mother, then married to dead weight in college: but I graduated at the top of my class, landed a career (kind of) and shook off the baggage nonetheless. I have chosen to not only succeed, but to be the best I can at whatever happens to be buttering my bread. The funny thing is, it is like an unconscious drive. I don't remember ever consciously saying: hey, I'm a winner. Of course, I do remember berating myself for being a loser on occasion, and it was well deserved. I have made some grievous mistakes. But I think I am going to take a minute and say: good job MacBoudica; you've done all right.

Why am I recollecting about all this at this particular time? It is because it is my history, the platform I built for myself, that I landed this particular opportunity. I never would have scored this new job if I had given up, dropped out and sunk into the depression of a failed marriage. I put some hard work into this life (haha and on my birthday on a whim I paid the extra $20 to renew my long-dormant CDL). And it seems I am reaping some small reward for that now. I applied to this job soon after it was posted on a local job board. By the next day, the Human Resources manager had called me three times, leaving frantic messages for me (wouldn't you know it was the one day I am out of the house with the little guys--their first day of preschool. I think the first time he called I was in the process of freezing my ears off on the playground with EEF thoroughly enjoying mammy and me time). The guy called again (his fourth or fifth attempt) just as I was getting the little guys back in the house to schedule an interview for Friday. I checked on the job board later and the ad had already been removed. Strange. And the interview was the strangest I have ever been to. Like any interview, I drove to it anxiously, taking deep breaths and rehearsing the pat answers to typical interview questions. But he did not ask me any questions, really, not any of the typical interview questions. Actually, he spoke to me as if it was a second interview, as if I was already hired. He was merely explained everything he could think of about the company. And half-offered me a promotion to front desk and veiled references to management somewhere in the future in the process as I sat and nodded and made the required uh-huh, uh-huh, oh, of course! noises that signaled my understanding and interest in what he was saying. It was like it was understood and already decided I would be working there. Weird, really weird. What is the job? Well, it is not rocket science, and even the HR guy said he knew I could do the job in my sleep (hopefully not literally as that could prove quite dangerous!)-- A chauffeur/shuttle driver for a high end, elite health club/hotel for the wealthiest of the wealthy. It seems like it is going to be a really low stress job, just keeping the customers happy, driving them to and from events in town and whatever. Lots of ass time, free food (the chef used to work for the Queen of England). They provide the uniform. Perfect hours--the shift doesn't start too early or end too late. And tips in addition to wages. It is not official, of course, the background check must come back clean, but he made it clear that if it did I could start as soon as next week Friday for their big open house event. Wow.

Why me? Let me put on my Recruiter/Human Resources hat (my last professional experience before divorcing from professional work to stay at home with the Fellers) for a minute here: because I have a degree, professional experience, I can talk to big-shots without embarrassing management (hopefully!). So, a payment long ago when I was such a child--how could I know that the degree and driving experience, enduring and excelling in those areas that seemed like such a little thing, just what I had to do to get bye then, has opened the door to a perfect opportunity for me now? Spoken like a real B.S. college grad: I have a really good feeling about this job....

Has the wind died down, or just shifted direction? Because for the first time in quite some time, I feel like I have some direction, there is some foundation beneath my feet. We will see...If nothing else, I will no doubt gather some interesting stories from my clients. And I love new stories.

Hopefully now that I am done looking for work and have shopped for all the birthday presents and planned and executed all the birthday parties and events for the time being, I will have some time to post some Feller/ EEF stories this coming week.


Anonymous Susan said...

Glad to see you back. Congratulations! Sounds like the perfect fit for you at this time.

05 November, 2006 10:48  
Blogger Karen said...

Life never takes us where we think we're going. I know of what you speak: with BA/MS from good schools, who thought I'd sew for a living? Not I, I'll tell you that much.

05 November, 2006 17:07  
Anonymous wolfbaby said...

Hey congrats on getting the job;)

05 November, 2006 19:31  

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