Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Story of My Life...Er, Job

So I have a new boss at work, which is a good thing overall. It's a bit weird, as we got off on the wrong foot when I started and she seemed to hate me with the white hot intensity of a thousand burning suns. It made my first few months a little uncomfortable, I'd say. Let me tell you a story...

I first applied with "The Company" in March of last year. I went through the interview process and met "Cass", as I'll call her here, and we hit it off pretty well. She's an intelligent and passionate woman, tall and skinny with a lot of energy and a motor-mouth to match. She speaks fluent Spanish and is well-respected throughout The Company. At the time, I was applying for a different position, which I obviously didn't get. Cass would have been my supervisor and she was kind when she told me that I didn't make the final cut. She really wanted to hire me and she encouraged me to apply for another job, a new position that would open later in the year.

I was already in the process of leaving my last job at that time. My final day was in mid-May, but the new position with The Company didn't open up until nearly the end of June. I'd been unemployed and hunting for work for nearly a month and a half; FMC and I had just broken up and I was visiting my sister to get over my heartache and bitterness. Cass emailed me during my trip and told me that the job had finally posted, offering to chat by phone to give me more details. We talked for almost half an hour, during which time she offered pointers, gave me hints about what would be important during the interview process, and wished me luck.

After I applied, the interview process started fairly quickly. I had a telephone call from HR, and an interview within another week with a head honcho, but after that, I heard nothing for several weeks. Time seemed to drag on endlessly. I started applying for other gigs and kept myself busy with volunteer work.

Around the second week of August, I had a panel interview with The Company and provided references, but September rolled around and I hadn't heard any news. At that point, I couldn't wait any longer for The Company to make a decision. I'd racked up thousands of dollars in debt on my credit card just to pay rent and my monthly bills. I temped for a bit (at a temp agency office, no less - a whole other gory story) but I was making less than half of what I'd made when I was working full time. As luck would have it, I connected with a large non-profit I'll call "Do-Gooders Inc." about a communications position that was looking for someone with my mix of experience. I shot through a quick interview process with people who seemed eager to hire me and I was hearing great things about the atmosphere of the workplace. Just before a final interview for that position, I received the call from HR at The Company.

"Hello, City Elf! We have good news for you," said the cheery HR lady. "The Company loves you. Your references were impeccable and we want you to start in one week. We're offering you scads of money, vacation time, and a raise/bonus combo every April. What do you think?" I wasn't thinking. I was so excited I nearly wet my pants. I was sitting at my kitchen table surrounded by moving boxes and marketing materials that I was designing for my parish's annual festival. I had under a hundred dollars in my checking account. I composed myself and calmly said, "Ohmygod! I'm so excited! Yes, yes, yes, I will take the position!"

I called FMC immediately to share the good news, before making the flurry of calls to family and friends who had supported me through the many months of uncertainty and struggle. (My mom actually cried with joy. She thought I'd be living in my car and eating out of dumpsters soon.) The hardest call for me to make was to Do-Gooders Inc. I felt badly that we were in the process of interviewing and I had made a decision to go elsewhere so suddenly. They were disappointed and I felt a little twinge of regret that I hadn't asked The Company to wait on my decision for at least a few days. Within a few weeks of starting my new job, that twinge was back with a vengeance...

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