Out of My Comfort Zone

I am almost ashamed to admit this, but I have never had career aspirations. And here I am at 44 trying to contribute financially to our household, and I am "paying the price" for that! Rather, I am not being paid the price. Allow me to explain. I did all right in high school, got decent grades, but I didn't have a real clear path ahead of me. I only took the one required typing class and can remember saying to my friends, "I'm not ever going to take Accounting or Statistics, because I NEVER plan to be sitting behind a desk in an office!" Ooohhh, bad decision. Instead, I took French, and Spanish, Creative Writing, Ceramics etc.

I went to a total of three junior colleges, and my first major was Psychology, which I found fascinating. How I wish I had stuck with it. When I told folks my major, their response was usually, "Why are you majoring in Psychology? Only strange people major in that because they are trying to figure out their own problems." Then I had a pretty bad instructor, and I decided to change my major. I ended up changing it a total of six times!

Somehow, I managed to get my BA in Linguistics in five years, even with all of that major changing. The coursework was easy and enjoyable, but I was dismayed to find that that four-year degree didn't seem to be opening many doors for me. I didn't have the funds to travel to some obscure part of the world and study the language structure of a little known aboriginal tribe.

I went to speak to my career counselor who advised me to consider getting my Masters in Speech Pathology, as I would be qualified for a paying job upon completion. I entered that major, and it was hard! I was one of the few struggling students who was actually supporting myself through school. I never applied for a grant or was supported financially by anyone. It proved to be too daunting for me, and I was involved in several auto accidents, and started sprouting gray hairs at 26! Besides, I almost fainted when my anatomy professor put the scope down her nose, into her throat, to show us what healthy vocal chords looked like. I knew then that I might have some trouble with that major. I wasn't groovin' with it.

I was not being true to mine own self, and it was causing internal conflict. I just wanted to marry my beau and set up house. That wasn't going to happen, so instead, I dropped out of the Master's program -bad decision number two- and took a job working with my soon to be sister-in-law for an insurance company. My degree did open the door for that job, and I worked as a claims processor for a disability insurance company. I have to admit, I got to be pretty good at it. I liked reading the files, and was familiar with much of the medical terminology. I learned to make difficult telephone calls, write legal sounding letters, and explain complicated insurance policy to pretty much anyone. I was making decent bank, and was by no means miserable.

Then I became pregnant with twins, and I finally had a good enough excuse to quit. My husband was earning enough at the time to allow me to be a full-time mom. I was fulfilled. I had a perfect case study 24/7. How two little boys conceived at the same time and reared in the same environment could be so different from birth was a constant source of amazement to me. Life was busier than ever, and we were brave enough to add two more angels to our family. I had my purpose outlined for me at last. I focused on our family, and life was good.

When the four of them were finally all at the same school, and I was on the brink of having a few moments to myself each day, things changed with my husband's work, and I was urged to go back to work. I scoured the want ads looking for part time work between the hours of 9 and 2. They just didn't seem to exist. I ended up working in a drug lab where my neighbor worked for a bit. The schedule was perfect, but the pay was dismal. I had a brief work-at home-job, which paid great, but was short lived. I worked at a little gym for peanuts and that didn't "work out" either.

Shortly afterwards, one of the soccer moms offered me part time work at a travel insurance company. Everything was perfect but the pay. Even with a degree and insurance experience, I was only worth $10.00/hr!! I was fine with it for the first year, figuring I had some catching up to do, but I done caught up and then some! I learned everything I could, and became quite proficient at my job. I was working close to thirty hours a week with no benefits and getting pretty stressed as I had no free time to do anything but work and mind the kids. I figured that if I were going to give up all of my free time to work for them, then at least they should pay me decently. I approached them for better pay, and they declined, so I went on the job hunt again!

While in the library during an evening soccer practice, I noticed a "help wanted" sign at the front desk, and I decided to toss my hat into the ring. About a month went by, and I got a call to come in for an interview. Surely I was qualified to put the books back on the shelves. I went in, took the written part of the test, which was pretty much a test of visual discrimination and ordering and got interviewed by the librarian. I thought it went well, and I requested that they let me know one way or the other regarding any future employment.

About a month later, I received a telephone call advising me that they had decided to go with the other candidate! At this sensitive point in my life, I figured I had nothing to lose by asking why I had not been chosen. Certainly I was qualified to put the books back on the shelves. Had I bombed the written portion of the exam? I was told that I had not. Was it something I said? Did I have a bad odor that I was unaware of? Where did I go wrong during the interview? Is a Masters now required for a part time city job?

The young man was kind enough to tell me that they preferred the other candidate's response to one of the interview questions having to do with communication. I thanked him for his honesty, and asked him to keep me in mind if anything opened up in the future. About a month later, I was called back for a second interview. I took the written test again and tried to give them the answers they were looking for. I was told that I would be scheduled for a physical downtown and would have to wait on the paperwork from that to determine if I would indeed be hired.

Two weeks later I had my appointment. The night before my exam, I dutifully map quested the route from my house to the medical office downtown, laid out my clothes and attempted to go to bed. It just so happened that that night, our ceiling decided it couldn't take the rain any longer, and drops of water began dripping down on my husband and I. Fearing that our ceiling might collapse, my husband decided we had to move our new mattress into our daughter's dry room. It was nearly 1 AM by they time we accomplished that endeavor, and my alarm was set to go off at 5 AM. After shushing my husband's nervous ramblings due to the leaking roof, I probably clocked about 3 hours of sleep, but I felt okay.

I got on the road and got right down to downtown, but somehow got turned around at the end, and could not get to my destination. I drove around for some time getting more and more frustrated as the minutes ticked by. I decided to call my dad, who had been a firefighter in that area for over thirty years. By that time I was pretty rattled. He was thrilled to be getting a call at 7:30 in the morning, and willing and able to help out his distressed daughter. I told him where I was trying to go and he asked me where I currently was. I told him I was on Alameda. He asked which direction I was heading, and I told him I had no idea. He asked me which side of the street I was on, and I told him the "right" side, which didn't give him enough info. I then told him that Union Station was on my Left. He knew exactly where I was and exactly where I had to go, and was doing a wonderful job navigating me when my cell phone died.

I pulled over to look for my charger, and when I realized it wasn't there, I broke down and let the tears flow. Why was I having such a difficult time snagging this part time library job? Did all of those folks working in the library have to go through this? Was it even worth it? I kept driving and finally found the building thirty minutes past my appointment time. I went in and had to wait two hours to be rushed through my physical.

At least I could answer all of the questions correctly. I was told that I passed and would probably begin working within a week or so. After I got home, I called my dad to let him know that all is well that ends well, and to thank him for the emergency navigational assistance! I gladly gave notice at my travel insurance job, and patiently awaited a call from the library to tell me my start date. That one week turned into three weeks, and I was actually unemployed for ten entire days before I began temping for a kind friend at yet another insurance job.

So now I will work both jobs for a bit to catch up financially. It has taken nearly all of my available brainpower just trying to get used to the different routes I have to take to work at different times, using the high tech parking garage keys, remembering where to park and how to enter the building, and once getting inside, finding my office, using yet another computer system, and juggling everyone's schedule. A recent astrological forecast by Holiday Mathis read," All lucky moves have one thing in common: taking you out of your comfort zone. So, in a weird way, the more uncomfortable you are, the luckier you are."

Sheesh, maybe I ought to go out and buy some Lotto tickets because I am so way out of my comfort zone that there has got to be some luck in store. I am looking forward to being able to ride my bike to work, and working four-hour shifts simply putting books away where they belong. I won't be behind a desk answering difficult hypothetical insurance policy questions, and I will qualify for paid holidays. It feels like a step in the right direction. In a perfect world, papa would bring home the bacon and mama would fry it up for all to enjoy. It's a worthless feeling to realize that I can't even earn what my husband pays in taxes. My working thirty hours a week barely buys our groceries even with my coupon savings, but it's just the way it has to be right now. I'll be out of my comfort zone for a bit, and thank my lucky stars that I have always been able to be there for my angels. I am proud to be a full time mom, but have to admit that attempting to go back to gainful employment after a twelve-year hiatus has not been pretty. My hat is off to all of those moms who are able to mother and earn a living at the same time. They are all wonder women in my eyes.

The Meanings Of Easter Flowers ~
As every flower lover knows, flowers have a language of their own. Every sentiment is expressed in one form or another by these fragile blooms. Of course, even the experts disagree on the "true meaning" of many flowers and most have different meanings to different people. So, while all flowers convey thoughtfulness and love, here are some of the more traditional meanings, according to one source.

• Azalea ~ Take Care of Yourself for Me, Temperance, Fragile Passion, Chinese Symbol of Womanhood

• Begonia ~ Beware

• Chrysanthemum (general) ~ You're a Wonderful Friend, Cheerfulness and Rest

• Chrysanthemum (white) ~ Truth

• Chrysanthemum (yellow) ~ Slighted Love

• Daffodil ~ Regard, Unrequited Love, You're the Only One, The Sun is Always Shining when I'm with You

• Hyacinth (purple) ~ I am Sorry, Please Forgive Me, Sorrow

• Hyacinth (red or pink) ~ Play

• Hyacinth (white) ~ Loveliness, I'll Pray for You

• Hyacinth (yellow) ~ Jealousy

• Lily (white) ~ Virginity, Purity, Majesty, It's Heavenly to be with You

• Lily (yellow) ~ I'm Walking on Air, False and Gay

• Tulip (general) ~ Perfect Lover, Frame, Flower Emblem of Holland

• Tulip (red) ~ Believe Me, Declaration of Love

• Tulip (variegated) ~ Beautiful Eyes

• Tulip (yellow) ~ There's Sunshine in Your Smile

***

Easter Symbols ~
Many Easter customs come from the Old World. The white lily, the symbol of the resurrection, is the special Easter flower. Rabbits and colored eggs have come from pagan antiquity as symbols of new life. The Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored easter eggs, originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring, and used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts. Easter Monday egg rolling, a custom of European origin, has become a tradition on the lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C. During the Octave of Easter in early Christian times, the newly baptized wore white garments, white being the liturgical color of Easter and signifying light, purity, and joy.

Origin of the Name ~
The name Easter comes from Eostre, an ancient Anglo-Saxon goddess, originally of the dawn. In pagan times an annual spring festival was held in her honor. Some Easter customs have come from this and other pre-Christian spring festivals. Others come from the Passover feast of the Jews, observed in memory of their deliverance from Egypt. The word paschal comes from a Latin word that means belonging to Passover or to Easter. Formerly, Easter and the Passover were closely associated. The resurrection of Jesus took place during the Passover. Christians of the Eastern church initially celebrated both holidays together. But the Passover can fall on any day of the week, and Christians of the Western church preferred to celebrate Easter on Sunday the day of the resurrection.

April 3, 2006
Next Post date May 1, 2006
Muslim Toilet (Remind me never to visit!)

Quotes:

Destiny's last days may surge with oceanic change,
Yet men deemed perfectly good remain, like the shore, unchanged.

-Tirukkural 99:988

***

The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.

-Elizabeth Foley

***

All beings tremble before violence.
All fear death.
All love life.

See yourself in others.
Then whom can you hurt?
What harm can you do?

-Dhammapada 129-130

***

The thought that the affairs of the world, like those of the stars, are in God's hands - and therefore in good hands - apart from being actually true, is something that should give great satisfaction to anyone who looks to the future with hope.


-Carlo Carretto

***

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands--and then just eat one of the pieces.

-Judith Viorst

***

A hundred thousand elephants,
A hundred thousand horses,
A hundred thousand mule-drawn chariots,
Are not worth a sixteenth part
Of a single step forward.

-Buddha, "The Connected Discourses of the Buddha"

***

Prompted by love is greater than prompted by fear.

- Rabbi Simeon ben Eleazar, Talmud

***

Give your ear to all, your hand to a friend, but your mouth only to your wife.

- Yiddish Proverb

***

The best things in life aren't things.

-Art Buchwald

***

As long as there is a lack of the inner discipline that brings calmness of mind, no matter what external facilities or conditions you have, they will never give you the feeling of joy and happiness that you are seeking. On the other hand, if you possess this inner quality of calmness of mind, a degree of stability within, then even if you lack various external facilities that you would normally consider necessary for happiness, it is still possible to live a happy and joyful life.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

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