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Friday, August 03, 2007


Everything Old is New Again

Sometimes the most mundane job on earth suddenly becomes everything.

We've probably all had a position where we thought-why am I here? I'm underpaid, under appreciated, doing this in my sleep, I don't really even like who I see day in and day out. Why, oh why do I stay? Then you get a "dream" job, you quit and move on.

Trouble is, you get to the "dream" place and find out-EGADS, what have I done?
The daily work load is beyond the capabilities of a mere human, you have to sit in a cubicle the size of an RV bathroom for 11 or more hours in a day and the only living breathing soul you ever see is during your very infrequent bathroom breaks! Lunch-what's lunch? Dinner with one's significant other-not happening.

Then you spend what little time you have sleeping-and that's when the dreams of "the old boring job and coworkers" come into your thoughts and you long to go back to those days.

As you can tell-I had one of these experiences. My son sat me down and said very quietly "Mom, quit that place, you've turned into the woman from hell. I don't even want to come home since you started work there". He was more than right. Now fortunately, I found a wonderful compromise. I went to work for a smaller version of the first job. I have two wonderful co-workers and nice people in general. I now spend my much needed free time with my family and writing. No I'm not making "the big bucks" I did at the "dream job", but I'm back to being a sane person whom everyone would rather be around.

Everything old (the happy me and the writing)is new again.

This son who let me have it between the eyes, just had the same epiphany.
He had worked as an office manager for the same company as his dad throughout most of his college career. Didn't pay much, but they let him study when things were slow, gave him a flexible schedule to accommodate classes and fraternity obligations.
His co-workers drove him crazy and he wanted to quit numerous times, but he knew this was best during those 5 years. When graduation neared, he took a post-school position in an industry far removed from his major. He was so happy to quit and move on.

I asked him-why, you're like me, why would you take a job in banking? It was the promise of making a ton of money. To a new graduate with student loans and a want to move to the next level of adulthood, this was obviously the ticket. He threw himself into the company.

Within a week, his jaw was twitching, he had insomnia, he snapped at everyone and he couldn't eat, stomach was in too many knots. When he did, he'd get a stomachache.
Basically, he had turned into a young male version of the mother he didn't want to live with.

This time it was my turn to gently sit down with my son and repeat his wise words to him. Now I didn't say quit this second, but I said you need to find a different job.
But by week three of doing 11 hour days, he realized he couldn't even look!

So he quit. Then he started talking about how he should have stayed with his long time company and the great people he enjoyed being with, at least until he found a job that was more "him". He spent many hours calling, applying, going to interviews-practically a full-time job in and of itself. He wondered out loud-do you think if I called they'd take me back? I really miss those guys. (the same ones that drove him crazy just a couple of months before).

Must have been karma. The manager called my husband and asked how happy our son was at his new job and how things were going! Turns out the replacement office manager was awful. He was wondering-would our son consider coming back to his old job and he'd let him do sales. My husband said "here's his cell phone number, talk to him, he'd probably be open to the offer".

To say our son was thrilled would be an understatement. He called me at my day job and sounded happier than I had heard his voice since graduation. Turns out, not only will he have the salary but the commission from any sales as well. They understand that he wants to become a human resources manager and don't mind working with him about any upcoming interviews. They even suggested that when the time comes and a job in his field opens up, that he work the weekends until he knows the next position is a keeper.

So the people who drove him crazy, the low pay and the monotony suddenly seem, well,

Everything old is new again.

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