Friday, March 11, 2011

S is for Selfish...

Yes,alive, well and kicking. So a hearty THANK YOU for not giving up on me.

I've given myself some time and space this past month to just see what life has in store for me. Here's what I've discovered....

1. I'm really good at laundry
2. I'm a kick ass cookie baker
3. I'm really glad that if I was going to have a week-long debilitating head cold, I wasn't two weeks in to a new job.
4. If I don't sweep EVERY DAY it looks like there is a molting grizzly bear playing hide and seek in our house.
5. 14 is the magic number

After 14 job applications to any job that remotely interested me, I finally had a call last week for a job interview. The posting is very similar to the last job I had in Not For Profit, so it was a relatively easy chat.

Following a five minute conversation which felt like a lovefest of ME ME ME, I waited to see if I qualified for a face to face interview. I did, and yesterday I made the hour-long drive, 70 km return trip, for the hour and a half meeting. Each mile down the road, I'm thinking about how long this drive seems. How much driving time is going to eat out of my day. How the plan to keep my truck indefinitely will have to be revised since I will be driving the crap out of it.

The office is in an impressive building. I felt like Melanie Griffith in Working Girl. This was the vision I'd have for myself for a long time. Beautiful lobby, elevator, office. Just what a career-oriented person would shoot for - and I'm not going to lie - it felt right.

I feel I did well. Probably because I went in with about as much expectation in getting the job as I did about winning the last seat on the final shuttle mission. So I let it all hang out. No nerves, no stress and no hope in Hell. Could I do the job? Absolutely. Do I want it?

Tap, tap...hellooo? This thing on?
Perhaps it's my previous experience with charitable organizations, but for me the question is the pay. Show me the money. I'm at an age where I won't undervalue myself. I know what my skill set is - I know what I'm capable of. I know what the next step in my career should be.

But I've also had six weeks of home life where I've had a bit of a revelation.

I'm a disappointment. A traitor to the Women's Movement. I like being at home. I find myself keeping very busy around the house. Not just with traditional house work, but with the activities I have long yearned to do and simply not had the time to do. Unpacking and settling the house. Reading. WRITING! I feel more creative than I have in years. Probably because other than being off for the maternity leaves for my two boys, I've never been off work in more than 20 years. By MYSELF.

I have days that I can plan for myself. I have been freelancing like crazy for the local paper and truly enjoy it. I'm spending less on groceries because I'm planning, not reacting to meal time. I actually have "down" time where I can watch a movie without guilt, because I have all my work done. My stress level is barely registering.

It was a long drive home from the interview. Pondering and consider the impact of various options. Calculating my mileage, the in-freaking-sane gas prices and the time away from home. What I will give up if I'm offered the job and accept it. What I will give up if I don't.

I don't know that it will be worth it. And I'm trying not to dwell on it and let the pieces fall where they may. I think part of my warped psyche said if I didn't go to the interview, I would jinx myself from ever getting another one.

Fortunately, The Big Guy is totally supportive. I explained that I want to find a job that excites me. Something that can challenge me and give me the financial reward that will justify my skills and dedication. He gets it. Likely because he finally has that kind of job and understands the satisfaction it brings. And I've seen the postings - the jobs that as I read the description gives me shivers. Yup, I get tingly over job postings. You would too if you'd been on poggie for three weeks.

For now, I suppose I'm putting the price on my head - which means I'm worth more at home right now than I am an hour away.

Gloria Steinem is pulling my Woman Card...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

When I Grow Up I Want to Be......

The search for the perfect job has been far from idylic.

But then, being laid off during one of the biggest "economic downturns" in recent memory...and during the winter at that, probably isn't helping the situation. Neither is the fact that I'm so used to being busy that having any kind of down time is rather unnerving. Oh, and add to that the daily updats that I'm asked for. People are genuinely interested and concerned, but one does tend to go against the odds when they are looking for employment in a rural area with a Communications background.

There is always another school of thought...

"What did you want to be when you grew up?" asks First Born Son.

The laughter that comes from me takes him back - and in that split moment the hurt and confusion that crosses his stabs at my heart. At what point to we stop believing in what we could be? When does the reality of mortgages, bills and responsibility cloud over the sunny possibilities?

I don't believe in regret. There is nothing in my life I would do over differently - even this time I'm in now. I'm heading toward something, I just have to wait until the timing clicks and I set sail again in a new direction.

So I'm not wallowing in self pity, or despair that I should have done something different with my life. But FBS's question has brought to life a new consideration - I want to love what I do.

If you look at the School Days archive my parents maintained for me, you would have seen a young girl who dreamed of being a cowgirl, a vet and eventually a stewardess. This echoed my interests at the time, animals and travel.

While I have been fortunate enough to travel without having to incorporate handing out snack-sized peanuts, my extent of being around animals has been limited to have a dog - and I look forward to someday having the time and resources to have a horse once again.

What I have now is a young family and I love the time I have right now to do all the cliche house-mommy tasks I've struggled to cram in while balancing a job - baking, cleaning, getting jobs done while the kids are at school so I can enjoy my time with them when they are home. Was it what I planned when I was seven? No, but at the time I didn't realize what all of my options were.

So as far as what I wanted to be when I grew up...perhaps I still have some growing to do!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For

So, how's your 2011 treating you?

Just days shy of the first month ending and a month since Christmas (longer since since I've checked in here - more on that in a minute - patience!)

At Casa Bowery, life has been nothing if not unpredictable. Starting back at the week before Christmas - The Big Guy was head hunted and accepted a job that not only offered greater compensation, but also recognized individual achievement. He has a company truck which means we only have one vehicle on the road. After 23 years with his previous employer - this was as close to a Christmas Miracle as we were going to get!

The Christmas Holidays were frantic, visiting with family and sharing the good news. Hosted Christmas Morning Brunch, add a hockey tournament, no, actually two, and enjoyed a small get together with our friends for New Year's Eve. Put this all together you can imagine why at the end of the week, I was practically in the fetal position. All I could think of was, I need a vacation from the vacation!

I had my next entry all ready - the week that The Big Guy started his new job, I was ready to share the big issue facing my little family - how to share a morning with a father who's had 23 years of peace and tranquility - aka - Welcome To The Real World Big Guy! It still may come, but isn't really relevent right now...

But Life - well, every now and then Life likes to pick you up by the back of the collar, hoof you in the hiney with a frozen work boot and then wash your face with snow, just for laughs.

This cruel form of karma came back the first day of TBG's first day on the new job. We all made a fuss when he left - as proud of him for keeping his cool with two kids and wife "underfoot" as we were of him heading off to the next stage of his career.

When he came home, the kids were all over him. They wanted to know every detail of his day - which he gave in spite of the fact that he was mentally exhausted and looked like he'd run a brain marathon.

So I let him share his stories, show us is lap top, the truck, the new cell phone and all the other details that make little boys glow with envy and pride. After the kids were weary of his accounts, I took the moment to give him some news about my day.

I was laid off. Indefinitely.

Happy First Day at Work Honey!

Being in the manufacturing industry, I had some idea that things were slow, but to say I was caught off guard by this news would not only be misleading, it would be hilarious.

He was very supportive and understanding and I felt like a heel for raining on his parade. We agreed to save telling the kids until the end of the week - which was to have been my last day.

Except, it wasn't. Higher ups in the company decided it would be best for me to leave immediately, as is the nature of Sales. So on Tuesday, I was packing up my desk and back to the house by 11 a.m. As long as I was being paid, I might as well start looking for the next job, right?

Finally, the Heir and the Spare come home from school.

"What are you doing home mom," asks First Born Son.

"Where is your brother?" I reply - yes, diversion is an acceptable tactic.

"He's coming - I threw his toque in the ditch and he's gone back to get it. Why are you home?" he repeated.

"Oh, I've been home all afternoon," I respond - do you see what I'm doing here???

"MOM Why are you home?!" At this point, I realize the poor little bastard is JUST. LIKE. ME. I would totally have done the same thing. Your Spidey Sense is tingling, isn't it FBS?

"JEEZ FBS, take it easy, you just got in the door, I'm wondering where you brother is - do you need to go help him?!" The tone tells him to take a break, and he does, but only for a moment.

Second Born Son finally arrives, asks almost the same question but is satisfied with the "I've been home all afternoon" line. He's so his father's son.....

I had hoped to wait until TBG got home, and don't ask me why. Because it would sound better with him in the room? Dunno. FBS waited all of ten minutes and came at me again.

So I get both of them in the same room and share my good news.

"WHAT? Why would you take a job where you could get laid off???" FBS demands. I'm astonished to see he is REALLY mad. It takes a moment to realize that he thinks I could have prevented this from happening which is why he has a small measure of anger directed at me, but the larger portion is aimed at the business for letting me go. He also admits that he thought we'd won the lottery since over the holidays apparently I had indicated that I would quit my job if we ever hit the jackpot. (Uh, it's pretty much the opposite of that...)

After I explain that any job can be subjected to a lay off, and that in this economy, millions of people have been in this position for much longer. I reassure them that I will be looking for a new job and that we don't anticipate any changes in our household for a while. His tone changes and it becomes evident that he's worried about me, but his surprise got the best of him.

At that point I realize, SBS has been rubbing my back and giving a reassuring pat ever since I told them. He hasn't uttered a word and when I look at him to thank him for his comforting gesture, he stops me mid sentence and gives me a huge hug. I love this kid!

The shock of the news was soften considerably by the fact that I had dinner in the oven and was giving a most delicious aroma. Immediately they seemed to register that there were some advantages to having Mama Bear around.

In the week since this has happened, I've painting the exposed flooring in the upstairs hallway, tidied up countless boxes that were half unpacked, set up the hutch in the dining room and emptied at least 10 boxes of china, decor items and silverware. The living room actually looks like a living room instead of a drop zone for everything from action figures to saws,and the laundry is totally caught up! I'm ready to tackle SBS's closet which requires some shelves to be built. Power tools anyone?

Fortunately, my contact at the local newspaper is thrilled to have more of my time and I will be writing more than I have in years. Stepping back into journalism is like putting on your favorite pair of jeans - the ones that went out of style for a while, but now are so retro they are cool again.

I love the fact that I have a skill I can use in a freelance capacity, and plan on using this as an example for my boys when it comes time to choose a career path.

Finally TBG comes home, and since from the boys perspective, this is "news", SBS greets him at the door.

"Hey Dad, I've got good news and bad news. The good news is, dinner is ready! The bad news is, Mom lost her job!"

Factual, to the point and direct. I wonder if this boy has a future in reporting?