Neo News

I survived leaving my old job where I have been since 1996. The last day, Thursday, was quite emotional. The whole last few weeks, between giving my notice and leaving, have been emotional, many tears every time my leaving came up in conversation. Tears and sadness mixed with glee.

During the fall and spring terms I like to take one day off every week – the day depends on the schedule of available courses where I go to school. I normally take one course, which is plenty if you also have a full time job and maintain a small building, but this fall term two courses were offered that I really wanted to take: Print Media 205 – Alternative Processes, a 6 unit all day studio course, and English 200 – Creative Writing, a 3 unit on-line course with a writer whose work I enjoy. I had decided to take both courses, had even registered for them, then I was told I was not permitted to take a day off every week to go to school. I was feeling a bit disgruntled, and got a bit grumpy.

UBC, my employer, contracts with a company to provide the employees with assistance, legal, financial, emotional, so I decided to call the company and make an appointment to visit one of these employer provided therapists. When I called I told the receptionist that I was pretty assertive and requested a therapist who was strong enough to hold me accountable for my situation. I told her that I was pretty tough and I didn’t want any namby pamby “it’s okay to feel angry” therapists who speak in the sing song voice as though speaking to a recalcitrant pre-schooler on a time-out, so she recommended Nathan. “He has a reputation of being assertive” she said, and booked my first appointment, Friday night at 7:45 p.m.

There is something confident and assertive about a counsellor who works on Friday evenings, a counselor who doesn’t need a social life synchronized with the social norm to affirm him/herself. Cool.

When I explained my grumpiness and its roots in my disgruntlement, Nathan asked me how much sleep I got. When I outlined my sleep schedule (bed by 1 am, alarm at 6 am, out of bed by 6:45 am, out the door by 7:15 am) he suggested that I was sleep deprived and might benefit from rearranging my sleep schedule. He then suggested I try going to bed earlier.

Over the next four weeks I was able to move my bed time to 11:30 pm, which helped a little, but not quite enough. So Nathan and I went through how I could further help myself. I came up with this: a work schedule that would allow me to sleep until 8 am. Some job where I would earn enough money to survive, but would allow me to have a cycle more in tune with my natural rhythm.

A week or so later I was reading the UBC job postings and I found one for a front counter person in an outreach operation a ten minute walk away from my house. The hours were 9 – 5, and when I did some research I discovered that this facility brings UBC people – faculty, staff, students – into the inner city to volunteer in the communities. They offer educational opportunities to the people of my neighbourhood, computer classes, ESL classes, computer access, and creatived writing workshops. It sounded perfect so, even though I am not a great reception person, I applied.

A week later when I got a voice mail asking me to come for an interview, I looked back at the job postings and found that a job more suited to my skill set (same facility) had been posted the week before the receptionist position.

Around this time I was starting to feel a bit deceitful – I like to know what’s going on with people around me – so I told my managers that my commute (2+ hours per day on the bus) was wearing on me and affecting my health, and that I was looking for another job closer to home. They told me I’d be missed, and agreed to act as references for me, and to give me time off for interviews.

I called the woman back, and we talked a bit. I told her that I thought that the other position was more suitable for me, and told her that if she had other candidates to interview that it might be better just to go ahead and interview them. She agreed and said that she would give my resume to the person who was hiring for the other position.

Cynthia, the woman who was hiring for the other position got in touch right away: within an hour I got a voicemail and an e-mail with the job description attached. She wanted to meet with me, so I called back, we talked and arranged an interview for Tuesday the 8th of July.

The interview went well, my in basket went okay, and I didn’t hear anything for a few days. Then on Thursday morning Cynthia called one of my managers. An hour later she offered me the job, and I said I needed to think about it for the weekend. She agreed, so I thought about it and on Monday morning the 14th of July I called her and accepted the offer. We agreed on a start date of the 28th of July.

Two weeks notice is not very much when you’ve been at a job as long as I had been at mine. I could probably have continued working at my old job until retirement, but this job came my way, and I took it.

I got a plum job that I didn’t apply for, a job where I feel like I am doing something to help people in my community who have nothing to get something. I like the people that I work with, I like the patrons, I like the hours, 9 to 5, because I can sleep until 8 a.m., shower and still get to work with time to spare. This is good, >so good, in fact all good.

~ by thiscassandra on Saturday 9 August 2008.

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