coffee · frustration · gratitude · Jewish · poetry · progress · work

Normal Functioning Levels

In an effort to “put my needs first,” I’ve decided to change
this to a weekly, instead of a daily, blog. So, Sunday will be our day
together, folks. Two buses and an 8:30am clock-in time will make weekday
blogging a little bit like killing a wildebeest before breakfast – highly
unnecessary.
So, I have a job. ! This past week, starting on Wednesday, I
began working in the front office of a synagogue in Berkeley. This, will be an
adjustment. Honestly, my commute was easier when I was crossing the bridge!
But, I have a job. I needed one, and now, finally, I have one. I’m still not
clear on wtf it took so long to find one. It certainly does fall into the “underearning” category of a job “below my education and skill level,” but, then again,
the first bit of advice in the How to get out of debt… book is **Get A Job, ANY Job** So, I have a job.
It’s not going to be that bad either. There are a lot of systems in
place that are way wonky, i.e. ten-step processes, when they could be 3, but
that’s sort of why I’m there. In the rest of life, usually when I want to help
others streamline things in their lives or make them better, it’s usually none
of my damn business and I get to practice holding my tongue and trusting they’re on their own path. But, luckily, here, it very literally is my business, and so, I’m going to get to organize
and streamline, and “correct” what’s really silly.
That’s part of the advantage of coming in to a new place,
you see things that other people haven’t noticed, really, in years. Why do you
click these three things instead of this one? Oh, I don’t know, it’s just how I
was trained, so that’s how I do it. Why is there an old, dusty dead Foreman
grill in the kitchen – does anyone use it? I don’t know, it’s just always been
there. WHY do you print off paper
calendars of the entire year for the weekly staff meeting that barely get
glanced at, and then thrown away?… So, I do get to come in, with fresh eyes,
and be like, whoa, uh, this is stupid.
That said, there are going to be a lot of advantages to this
job that are not monetary. There’s a pre-school, and this week, the little kids
were getting their intro week, so I got to see all these two and three year
olds come in the front door, all nervous or excited. I got to encourage them.
There’s a very sweet, wise-ass kid studying for his Bar Mitzvah who comes to
hang out almost daily with the youth group advisor, so we get to wise-ass at
each other. There’s a piano in the chapel off the main sanctuary that once I
get keys, I was told absolutely, I could come in there and play during lunch.
It’s not a bank. That’s an advantage. It’s a synagogue. This
means people coming in looking to volunteer; retirees looking at the gift shop
for cards or mezuzahs. Kids coming for Hebrew school; adults coming for Torah
study. It’s a community that I’m getting to become a part of. And that’s not
something every job has at all.
Even though, I’ll tell you, I was highly disappointed that I
didn’t get the Marketing job I wanted, (and I got a letter from the IRS this
week saying that I owe them money from 2010, likely because I didn’t report my
student loan money properly), this isn’t going to be that bad. Am I still going
to be living a bit meagerly? Likely. It’s not a high paying position in the
slightest. Is it more than minimum wage? Yes. Am I waiting tables? No. Am I
making sales calls all day, like one of the jobs I interviewed for? No.
It could be worse. And, it can only get better, I suppose.
Mostly, I am glad that my stress hormones are in retreat.
Returning to normal, without the barely contained underground river of how
am I going to pay my bills???
I slept
almost the whole day yesterday. It’s like, with the stress in retreat, the
whole system floods with a great big PAUSE, system shutting down now, crisis
averted. Yesterday I woke up, ate breakfast, thought about going to the farmer’s market,
and climbed back into bed, waking up 4 hours later. Took another mini nap
after trips to the library and grocery store, cooked dinner, watched a dvd, and went to bed at a decent time.
I needed it. Obviously. I’ve been stressed, man.
In that/this period, though, I’ve also started to do some
other things. I’ve begun to soak my own chickpeas to make hummus from scratch.
I’ve begun to marinate tofu so that I can bake it. I bought quinoa from the
bulk section at a way cheaper price than anything packaged. All of these
organic, all of them cheaper than buying ready packed or ready made.
I’ve really enjoyed doing this. Experimenting with different
flavors in the hummus, roasted red pepper (jarred, but one day, maybe my own),
garlic, pine nuts, lemon. Using the tofu marinade to pour onto veggies I’ve
steamed to go with them. I’m getting healthier in my eating habits. More
interested, and more creative. Part of that creativity was borne of necessity, the need to buy things cheaper
as money has run out during these months of unemployment.
Coffee is no longer in my cabinets. This makes me awfully
sad. But, it’s not good for me, so I’ve been reading, so it’s going the way of
the dodo. That, I will miss. But it’s not like coffee’s moved to England, and
I’ll never see it again. I did, indeed, get some decaf with some caf this week.
There’s just nothing quite like the texture of coffee.
One place I had coffee was at the poetry reading on
Thursday, at which I read my rather explicit new poems. I didn’t preface them
by saying the experiences described were mostly not current, which I sort of
wish I’d said, as what will people THINK of me??, but it all went well. I got good feedback on my work. The words
“bold,” “brave,” and “funny” were thrown around. I’m glad I read the work, even
though I was nervous about it. Every time I perform, it makes me want to do it
more, and again.
I wasn’t able to “get it together” to make broadsides of the
poem I wanted to, but there will be time for that. I had a few other things on
my mind this week!
All in all, it was a highly emotional week. The anticipation
of whether I was going to get the job I wanted. Interviewing for it at 9:30pm Sunday night via Skype and finding out at 11pm that I hadn’t gotten it (the other girl had more “proven experience”). Waking up
Monday morning, knowing I was about to accept a job that has the same title and
pay rate as a job I accepted 5 years ago. Calling a friend to ask if I could ask them for more money. Crying, mourning the loss of where I think I ought to be, and
what I ought to be doing. The loss of my ability to save on any significant
level so that I might move back East some time this century.
And then calling to ask for more money, not getting what I
asked, but a token amount more than what they offered. The new chaos of
commuting to a new job. The first few days of a job when everyone is still
evaluating you. The knowledge dump into my brain from the girl whose job I’m
taking and training with. The highly anticipated poetry reading where I was
bold and brave and scared as fuck. And the crash, like air let out of a
balloon, a deflating of all the energy, worry, and stress as I crashed out
yesterday.
There are still going to be challenges, of course. This is a new job. There’s a lot to continue to learn, and
the girl I’m replacing leaves on Thursday. I still
do have some financial issues to contend with like the
IRS letter, and the fact that I don’t get paid till the 15th. But,
by the way, I did sell my electric guitar and the amp for the price I never
thought I would get (thank g-d for asking for help). So, it will be ok. But, I
still feel deflated. I’m going to need time to bulk back up and refuel to normal
functioning levels.
Til then, and in order to get there, I will TRY
to be kind to myself. Get out of my head, and my own problems. And be grateful, if even for a moment, that I am finally employed at a job that is far from atrocious. 

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