Thursday, June 24, 2010

Give Me an Extension

Lately what excites me is hearing that my unemployment benefits have been extended.   But before I get myself into big trouble,  let me make it perfectly clear to the Employment Development Department that Yes, I want to work,  and No, I have not misrepresented myself on any of the paperwork that I've sent back to your office.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let's say that I've changed.

In the past, raising young children made taking any kind of job okay. As long as I got a regular check and benefits, I could endure an amazing amount of corporate dysfunctional nonsense, a typical parent who put my kids first, glad to have the financial stability and structure, plus I liked what I did well enough to make it all acceptable. As long as I came to work every day and responded to the requests of a manager whose primary modus operandi was to cover his own posterior, I could tick off the months into years. 

In a way, the job and I used each other. But now that my children are grown, for the first time I have a chance to demand something else from my job, something that matches who I am, something that might allow me to be a singer instead of slogger, if I could only find the right stage.

For example on my way to a real interview, a plum position for a major health organization, I shuddered as I entered the building. It was the first thing in the morning, one of those typical sleek and sterile office monoliths. I walked into the lobby and signed in at the security desk, as instructed. This involved being photographed, after such time, I was handed a white identification badge to stick on to my clothing. Properly identified, I climbed aboard one of the stainless steel elevators as people crowded inside. I got off at the 22nd floor and followed a circuitous route until I found the hiring manager who invited me to sit down.

Without going into great detail, I bombed, nervous, tongue-tied, a maniac. I beat myself up about it for several weeks afterward, having made the cardinal error of handing over a less than perfect resume.  After healing from my self-inflicted stupid wounds, I realized that shutting myself away for another long stint inside a corporate castle, sitting at a computer all day and walking back and forth between my cubicle and the bathroom with only five o'clock to rescue me, was no longer appealing.  I didn't want to do that anymore. But I hoped I could find out what I did want to do before my unemployment ran out.

So in the language of genre writing, I had a "a ticking clock," something that Alfred Hitchcock built into his plots. The birds are going to invade the town, Mrs. Danvers in going to go off any moment now,  the other shoe is going to drop. In my particular case, I had only so much money and time, but isn't that what we all have?  Ask not for whom the clock ticks...Nevertheless,  how was I going to plot the journey between Point A and Point B and be ready for the  journey to points unknown?

I could not rely on the universe to drop something into my lap. These days, the universe seems to be in serious survival mode. Networking, success teams, and job clubs were helping, but I needed to back up a bit.  Maybe I was the kind of girl who needs to finish the peas on her plate before attacking her potatoes. I wanted to find out who I was at this juncture of my life. I wanted to believe that I could create a new way to work. I wanted to know what I wanted.

I Need Something Sweet Chocolate Croissant

Sliced whole grain bread
1/3 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (dark chocolate is good for us)
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Lightly toast the whole grain bread.  At the pop,  remove from toaster
Sprinkle the semi-sweets on the bread.  Depending upon your appliance situation, heat a standard oven to 250 degrees until the chocolate is melted or place in a microwave for 30 seconds.

Spread the softened chocolate on the bread. Sprinkle on the cinnamon.  Roll up. Ummm.

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