Finally: A Beginning
On a day when I woke up literally questioning how I was going to find the motivation to get through the day, I got a phone call. THE phone call.
I got hired for what is essentially exactly what I could have ever hoped for. As of Monday, I will be the new resident services director for an assisted living community. The job is what I went to school for, with “normal” working hours, better pay, a real chance at advancement in a solid company, paid holidays, good benefits – the only thing they didn’t do to make this job more enticing is promise me lunch with Benedict Cumberbatch.
I received lots of congratulations these last two days on my new job, and that is really cool. Your support in the last 7 months has left me speechless. I feel like I need to send thank-you cards to a whole mess of people who have listened, encouraged, and put up with a frequently crabby me.
One thing that I feels weird is the idea of “deserving” this job. More than a few people told me that I deserve it. I worked for it. I kept at it, and in some ways, I earned it. Hearing that I deserve this job made me uncomfortable because it kind of implied that I was better than someone else, like people don’t all deserve to have this kind of a job.
My friend Allyson is an outstanding woman, with a real gift for words and a humbling heart. She has been generous with her wisdom and counsel over the few years I’ve known her, and her advice this time was to write down some of the things I have learned in the past six months before rushing on to the next thing. Though there is more to be remembered, the first thing that comes to mind is the answer to my discomfort about the “deserving” comments:
I don’t deserve this job because I am any more special than anyone else. I deserve this job because I am like everyone else, and we all deserve it.
Everyone deserves a job that pays them well enough to live independent of charity. People fall on hard times, and I am not saying that there is shame in needing help. But no one should work a full-time job (or several jobs) and still have to rely on food stamps or charities to make it through the month.
Everyone deserves a job that respects their time and family lives. This last job didn’t. Employees were expected to make work the sole priority, and anything else, from sick kids to car wrecks, was a massive inconvenience and cause for retribution. Your wife is in the ER? Not only do you not have insurance to help with the bill, but now your hours are cut for being “unreliable” and missing a shift.
Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity. For the next two weeks, I will work full time at my new job and work part-time at the truck stop, training my replacement. Who I am in one job is not any different from who I am in the other, but as a truck stop employee, I am treated like dirt. I’m harassed, cussed out, and insulted by customers on a daily basis, and the response from corporate is that it “comes with the territory.”
Everyone deserves a work environment that does not needlessly endanger their health. At the truck stop, we were not allowed lunch breaks, no matter how long the shift. We were prohibited from sitting at any point in the shift – even when I worked 14 or 15 hour shifts. Sometimes, we were able to eat while working, but more than a few times, I would leave work with most of my lunch uneaten, still in my Avengers lunch box. As a result, my weight loss stopped and I plateaued. Much more worrisome was the horrific change in my legs. The only skinny part on my body is my ankles. They are delightfully small most of the time. When I stand for eight to eleven hours at work, they get massive. More than twice their normal size. If I wasn’t so vain, I would post pictures. My health was starting to tank, and it was closely tied to a job that needlessly required unsafe habits.
I am so excited for my new job. My coworkers (the ones I’ve met) seem pretty great, and I am giddy about it all. A small part of me is frustrated in leaving my truck stop coworkers behind. I don’t like that they are going to continue to be stuck in a place that does not realize that its most valuable asset are its people. It feels selfish to say that I deserve this new job, but really, I do. We all do.