Wednesday, August 06, 2008

five hundrend twenty five thousand six hundred minutes

One year ago today I got up early, got dressed, ate the pancakes my brother made, drove 45 minutes into Lawrence, and started my new job. I had been in Kansas less than 24 hours, was a little bit exhausted after our 20 hour drive from Utah, and was nervous to meet these new people who I would spend so much of each day with. That first day I brought a polka-dot take-out container from American Crafts that Richard had filled with Hershey’s Hugs and given us as a going-away gift. I thought it would be a nice gesture to my coworkers as they came to say hello if I offered them some candy. When I walked in the door that first morning my two supervisors were standing in the entrance to greet me and one of them took one look at me and said, “Oh, look at that—she’s brought her lunch.” Only she said it in a “well, look what the little county bumpkin has dragged in!” kind of way that embarrassed me and caused me to not really offer those candies to my new coworkers. It sat on my desk for a while, but eventually I put it away because looking at it made me feel different and somehow na├»ve and quite a bit like I didn’t fit in. I still have that container in my desk drawer, and it still has some of those Hershey’s Hugs in it.

It comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me that the last year has not been a bed of roses at my job. I certainly don’t love what I do, but most days I don’t hate it too much. I understand my responsibility to provide for my family and I’m just doing it in the only way I know how—by getting up every day, getting dressed, eating something my dad makes me, and driving 45 minutes into Lawrence. Somebody and I have spent many evenings (and occasionally mornings) with me in tears pleading with him to not make me go back. And every time we have that conversation he tells me, because he apparently likes me more than he likes food and shelter, that I don’t have to go back. And yet every day I get up, get dressed…well, you know the rest. The truth is, while there are many (Many. Many.) reasons why I will never love this job the way I did my last job, there are at least eight (sometimes more) reasons that make being here bearable—fun, even, sometimes. I work with great people. I feel like I belong. I feel trusted, respected, accepted, and cared for. I feel like I would actually be missed if (when?) I leave.

Today, in honor of my hard-fought anniversary, I went to lunch with some of my favorite co-workers. Ah. The sweet joy of all having the exact same grievances. Anyway, pretty much on our way out of the door a coworker pointed this out to me.

Oh, Cowboy. What have you gone and done? That tire was totally flat. And then do you know what happened? One of my coworkers just followed me out to the car, removed the jack from my trunk, and proceeded to remove that sad tire WHILE I WENT TO LUNCH (where we laughed and chatted and someone on my team paid for my lunch). I know. Awesome. Josh is awesome. Someone else gave me a ride to a tire repair place where they pulled this tiny toothpick out of my tire and patched it up. And then Josh put the tire back on. Everywhere I turned there were FRIENDS willing to help.

One year makes a huge difference. Perhaps it’s time to take that container of treats back out and try again.


Megan said...

You just made me cry....and vow to be a better co-worker to new employees no matter what Judy says.
I have much respect for you Pigtails. Happy Anniversary.

Janice said...

We love you - and I hope you know that. Glad you made it a year....longer than ANYONE else has held your position. That says a lot about you.
I respect you and care for you....
Happy Belated Anniversary!

byufish said...

I haven't read your blog for soooo long but honestly Jennifer, you need to start the day job will be SECONDARY to your writing income!! I am so lucky to know you!