Friday, November 30, 2007

A Real Job

I had composed this long blog entry but lost it so here's my attempt to recreate it after watching and crying over, "The Pursuit of Happyness".

My family wasn't well off when I was growing up but we lived in a rich/well-off suburb. It wasn't that we were poor but I was aware that certain things were out of reach for me as I was growing up. I was teased in school for wearing the same winter coat year after year. The only reason why I was able to have a Cabbage Patch Kid was thanks to my Grandma. I had rich cousins and poor cousins. My family fell somewhere in between. That is why watching most of the movie was excruciating. Seeing this guy struggle and try to keep his son wasn't a level of desperation that I have experienced but it affected me. It was basically a primal fear of mine growing up. I had an active imagination and Dickeniasn levels of poverty haunted me. My mom likes to tell me that I offered to pay for my own ballet classes when I was 7. Maybe I imagined a job as a pickpocket or working in a mill?

After 3 jobs and 4 years of graduate school, I finally have a real job. A job where I'm busy for 40 hours or more per week. A job that can pay enough where I'm not living paycheck to paycheck (on a perm basis). A job where I would be earning as much as my dad in the 80's. I know from experience that money doesn't equal happiness. But taking money out of the worry equation, helps a hell of a lot! Since I was laid off, I had to face a lot of questions about my life and choices. For example, was getting an MBA a smart move? Also, wouldn't life be easier if I wasn't single? Why have lived in the same apartment for five years?

When this job fell into my lap after 5 months and 2 weeks of searching, I thought there was no way that the universe could be so kind. But after my interview, I knew I really wanted the job so I started researching unemployment procedures. Because if I really want something, I'm not used to getting it. Somehow I wound up getting it on a temporary basis! Since I'm still a temp, I know there's a wooing process and I really want to learn quickly and excel at every task. It looks easy in the movies. If only my life could be a movie montage...

I like my supervisor because I admire her brain and hidden sense of humor. But I do feel that she thinks light years ahead of me so I have moments of panic where I feel really stupid and overwhelmed. On the up side, she is willing to slow down her pace to explain procedures to me. It's kinda funny. She winds up slowing down so much that I ask questions way ahead of her and she winds up replying, "We'll get to that." I also work with two other guys. One is an awful explainer but is around my age so we get along on a social level. When he tries to train me on the ERP system, it is horrendous because if you have seen one, you've seen them all. Tabbing over fields and hitting "execute" is no big deal. But we can talk about our lives a bit and joke about rolling into the office barely at 9AM. The other guy is simply immersed in data and reporting 60/7 but he has such a warm and supportive demeanor, it makes up for his dry work duties. In fact, I have learned more from him than my supervisor!

The job is a lot of juggling tasks and 3 hour meetings where I only absorb 30 minutes worth. I have been working hard and learned a lot so hopefully I will be perm sooner rather than later. My goal is by the first week in Jan. Since I'm superstitious, I've made a point about greeting the security guards every day. Being friendly and conscientious never hurts!

It's weird now that I'm being forced to reconsider my outlook on the universe. I have spent so many years feeling like the universe owed me due to my stroke and shitty childhood and feeling like I will never be cut a break. It kinda reminds me of a quote from the final season of "Six Feet Under" - that I feel like each good act is a deposit into the universe that I feel entitled to drawing. Not anymore. I can appreciate the good things and work hard to keep them without a sense of bitterness or entitlement.

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