The HOA management company I’m always kvetching about employees a part-time file clerk, a sweet little old Southern lady a few years shy of 90. She’s been there forever, and everyone adores her, and personally, I trust the bitch about as far as I can throw her (which really isn’t that far, since I haven’t been going to the gym lately). She’s always just struck me as a wee bit too sweet and Southern — it’s like, “Oops, I opened your personal mail again! Oh, dearie me, I’m such a bumble-thumb! Tee hee!” Basically, she’s the kind of person who seems almost comically intimidated by modern technology, yet somehow knows everything in your browser history.
A month or so ago, the owner of the company told me he wanted to make sure the file clerk was getting enough hours and asked me to train her to handle the phones whenever I’m on an errand or sobbing in the kitchenette or whatever. So I printed out every office extension in a nice, giant font and gently went over the operating instructions with her, until I was 100% confident that she could answer the phone, press three buttons, and put the phone back down without starting a fire or breaking a hip.
On her first shift, she accidentally hung up on someone. Since that day, I’ve found her:
reading a book.
asleep with an open book in her lap.
reading a book while patiently waiting for the caller she put on hold to give up and disconnect.
Most recently, I returned from a break to discover her in the middle of a full-blown tizzy. She’d tried to transfer a call to a manager who was not in her office, and she was at a panicky loss as to how to deal with the situation – like, she was literally wringing her hands. I did my best to calm her down and told her I’d sort it out, and she thanked me profusely before tottering away at top speed. I sat down and reached for the phone, and that’s when I noticed the forget-me-not she’d left in the middle of my desk:
… at which point my last fuck wheezed and faded from existence.
I’m happy to say I left on good terms. I did the whole official two-weeks notice thing, and I cheerfully trained the girl who’d been brought in to replace me. (She’d actually been hired the week before, so I was already fully aware that the countdown to unemployment had begun.) It’s a tricky thing to actively search for a job when you already have one, but I managed to sneak in a couple of long lunches for clandestine interviews, and our IT department (bless them) did not rat me out for all the time I spent posting résumés online. Eventually, I was able to put in notice with a devil-may-care self-assurance that came from knowing I had somewhere better to go.
As of last Wednesday, I am a scheduler for a financial advisory firm; the responsibilities are eerily similar to what I was doing at the HOA company, except nobody calls and yells at me just because I happen to be the one to answer the phone. And I’ve taken on some contract projects that I’m not quite ready to talk about, but that could potentially lead to the happiest occupational outcome I could ever predict for myself. So, y’know, shit is about to get merrily real. Stay tuned.
All that said, I am not leaving the Forge, because a) money, and b) there is very little sarcasm to be found in long-term financial investing, and therefore no decent topics to harvest, so I will be blogging away well into the foreseeable future. But I will say this about the new job: right after I started, my boss walked past my desk and noticed my notary name plate. I’d stuck it behind some random stuff so that I could look at it (it makes me happy), but so that it wouldn’t draw any undue attention.
My boss felt differently about it.
“You’re a notary? That’s important! Give me that sign. People need to know this.”
And he put the plate where it could be seen, which, more than anything else, is why I think I’m going to like it here — it is very nice to finally feel seen.