Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Confession and Announcement (sorry - it's long)

It happened the day after my birthday. My contract position abruptly ended on March 18th. I shouldn't have been surprised - the contract never closed and I was bored beyond words.

I started on December 1st and was told after the first of the year, things would get crazy. January came and went with very little for me to do. When I asked the directors if there was anything I could help them with, my supervisor told me not to approach them. If they needed help, they would ask me. This style of working is totally opposite from what I've ever done before - I don't like to sit around and wait for somebody to come to me.

Then I was told February would be really busy. More of the same boredom that month. I was disillusioned and told the project manager. He gave me a little work but not enough to keep me busy.

By March I was looking for another job. Yes, this position met expenses, but barely. And I had partial health insurance, but no other benefits, and the commute ate a lot of gas. So..on with the search.

Then on March 18th they let me go. I had nothing in the works as far as assignments and didn't know what I was going to do. I went straight to the unemployment office and opened a new claim. Becuase I had been working for $10/hour for so long, that's what my benefits were based on. I would be drawing $156/week. Who in the H can live on that for gosh sake???

I also applied for food stamps at the suggestion of my daughter. Again - because I've been responsible and current on all my bills, etc. I would be granted $16/week. Why even bother???

I was facing losing my home, which certainly isn't the end of the world but not the way I want to leave here. And I wasn't going to abandon my animals no matter what. Gail came to my rescue and offered me a place to live in trade for labor, and I could take all my animals. Knowing that I had a place to go if it came to that, took a huge weight off my shoulders.

I called the bank and informed them I wouldn't be sending them any more house payments. They sent me a package for a loan modification, which I sat on for a couple of weeks.

Then I sent out an email with my resume attached to it asking for any leads. Some of my friends responded with connections and information. As it turns out, an old friend I used to work with ten years ago told me to take a look at his company's web site to see if there was anything I was interested in. At first, I didn't see anything but digging a little deeper I saw they had just posted for an Executive Assistant position, which I was qualified for.

I applied for it on line that night and emailed my friend. He responded the next morning to say that he had handed my resume directly to the CEO himself. A week later I was called in for a screening interview with the HR folks. Then bing, bang, boom I was called in the next day to meet with the big man himself. I got the offer that afternoon as the Executive Assistant to the CEO of Intuit Health. The offer was not too far below what I was earning when I was layed off over two years ago, and the benefits are fantastic. I just started this week and am still learning my way around the building.

I know everything happens for a reason, but I think I really hit the jackpot this time. I've got a lot to learn and feel like a kindergardener, but that will pass. The commute is fantastic and with gas prices, that's a plus by itself. It's still soaking in that I have a real job that's all mine and my life can get back to "normal". I can save money like crazy to try to make up for more than 2 1/2 years not contributing to a retirement plan or saving anything at all. I can move ahead with home repairs/improvements. And I won't have to worry every day about when this ordeal is ever going to end! It has ended and a new chapter has begun. It's been a very long time coming and as soon as I realize I'm not dreaming, I think I'm going to be just fine.

I've informed my friend that when I get my first paycheck, I'm taking him out for a steak lunch. Now that's significant for me to offer because he knows how I feel about people eating cows! He laughed...but accepted. Happy ending for me. Finally.