Monday, January 18, 2016

A Change Would Do You Good

I don’t deal well with change.  Much like the cats that I adore, any modification to my environment, schedule, or even the people in my life is totally unwelcome.  So it’s a rare bear that I actually take a step and encourage change. 

As some of you know, about this time last year, I made the decision to make a change, with the cooperation of the management here at the firm, regarding my job.  It wasn’t an easy decision, but I feel that with a lot of prayer and good advice from trustworthy friends, it was the right decision and I handled it with grace. 

This past year, I’ve been living with my decision.  Again, no doubt in my mind that it was the right decision at the time.  But I’m beginning to think that it may have just been the first step in the Lord getting me moving, with an eye toward even bigger changes.  I am truly a creature of inertia, both literally and figuratively.  For example…

Fifteen years ago, on August 16th, to be exact.  My world crashed around me.  I was working at a job which I’d held for 10+ years and, in my own special na├»ve way, I anticipated retiring from that job.  For the preceding 9-6 months or so, it hadn’t been the best work environment, but no job is perfect and there’s an ebb and flow to everything.  I assumed it would get better.  I had prayed that the Lord would fix the situations at the core of my discontent.  He did; although it certainly wasn’t in a manner I would have predicted or chosen. 

So as I said, on the afternoon of August 16th, I was called into a conference room and told that they were doing away with my position, but that they would give me a month to look for different employment, and I could do my searching for a job on their time/dime.  In retrospect, they could not have treated me more fairly.  However, in the moment, I was devastated.

If anyone who’s ever been “let go,” for whatever reason, tells you that it didn’t have an impact on their self-esteem, well, they’re lying – either to you or themselves.  Growing up, I was always successful at whatever I did.  My grades were A’s or B’s, depending on the amount of effort I put into my work – generally as little as possible.  Except for gym and driver’s ed – I made C’s in both of those classes – gym, for the obvious reason that I’m not Sporty Spice; and driver’s ed, well, it would take more space than I want to devote to it here to explain it, but it was not due to my driving abilities, (which are excellent!)  There was never any question that I would get into college, when I applied.  The question was which scholarship I would take.  I really sort of fell into my summer jobs and, subsequently, my job at the “previous firm.”  I’m not saying this to boast, just to point out that I’d never really encountered adversity. 

Which brings us back to August 16, 2000.  As I said, my world as I knew it ended that day.  I likened how I felt to being married for ten years and, although there were occasional rough spots, not thinking there’s anything drastically wrong, when your spouse comes to you out of the blue and asks for a divorce.  I spent the first few days in tears – crying is one of my specialties, after all.  Then I sat down and started on my resume.

That particular story had a happy ending – I’ve been with my current firm for 15 years now.  It was an answer to prayer.  I’ve learned to be more specific in my prayers.  Let’s come back to last year, when I was unhappy and contemplating change.  In all honesty, I didn’t know if I wanted to stay or to leave.  It looked like a door was opening (or would be opening soon), but this firm really has been like a family - maybe I don’t like all the members all of the time, but …. 

Not knowing for sure what to do, I prayed.  Something had to give.  I’m not one to seek out change.  But if change was coming, I asked that I be an active participant this time, rather than being “forced” into it, like last time. 

That door I was talking about never really opened, so I decided that I was to stay and the change would have to be in-house.  It all worked out fine.  Until,…

Around Thanksgiving, a friend and former co-worker informed me that there was a position for a Corporate Paralegal opening up at her company.  Now, my 25 years as a paralegal/secretary have been in litigation, with a recent concentration on labor and employment law.  So my immediate reaction was, thanks, but no thanks… I’m a litigation paralegal.  But then I started thinking that I can’t really ask God to let me be an active participant in any changes if I don’t be active by sending in a resume.  What could I lose?  I have a job.  They seem happy with me even if I’m not very busy.  Worst case scenario, I take this opportunity to update the old resume and brush off my rusty interview skills.  I did it.  I applied and sent them my resume on a Friday evening and I felt really good about the decision.

The whole process when through the Monster website and in the back of my mind there was this niggling doubt that I should somehow confirm, if possible, that they received it.  I was able to talk to my friend and ask her to subtly look into checking that out.  And good thing, too!  Because something happened and they didn’t get my resume/application.  I am not sure what happened, but I was able to quick, like a bunny, redo it and email it directly to them. 

Of course, with the holidays and all, I never expected to hear anything until the first of the year.  And that was good because in order to receive credit (i.e., reimbursement) for unused vacation days accrued in 2015, I had to be an employee at the firm on 1/4/16.  It’s a rather confusing policy, and isn’t even the current policy, but I’m grandfathered in, as it was the policy when I started.  But that’s ok because on 1/4/16, I received a phone call from the HR department wanting to set up an interview! 

The following Friday, I interviewed with 3 attorneys, two of whom I have worked with previously, and a paralegal, as well as the HR rep that had called me.  Before the interview, the Lord and I talked and I confirmed that I knew that if He planned on me having this job, that I would get it, but I asked that He still help me be calm, cool and competent.  It all went well and I was told there was one more person they were going to interview, but they'd let me know either way by the end of the next week.

So obviously, the next week was the longest week of my life! 

Thursday, I planned on taking the afternoon off in order to attend the monthly DAR meeting.  I dressed accordingly - which was good because mid-morning I received a telephone call from the HR Rep asking if I could come in the next day for about an hour for a second interview with people who couldn't meet with me the first time.  I said sure, but as it happens, I have this afternoon off, and if possible that would be better for me.  It was possible and after the DAR meeting, I went back.  Again, it went well.

Friday evening I received the call and an offer, which I accepted.  For those of you who don't known where this is going, I'll have mercy on you and cut to the chase.  This morning I turned in my two-week notice and on February 8th I will start as a Corporate Paralegal at Berry Plastics in Evansville!!  Yeah!

Now all I have to do is deal with the nerves and nausea related to starting a new job!