Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dispatch from the Working World

I had thought my timing in getting this new job was pretty good. I got offered the position during my second interview, after months of sending out resumes, stressing out, and losing sleep. The job offer came just one day after I claimed my very last week's worth of unemployment benefits. I was a day or two away from temping. [Sometime I will write about some of my past temping experiences to better explain my dread of it.]

Then this nor’easter hit, and I started to think my timing was pretty lousy. Yesterday was just my second day of work. I did not feel like I had the option to call in. When I left for work in the morning, the plow had not yet visited my neighborhood. The snow in the street was deeper than my car’s clearance. Luckily SodaBoy was around to help. For two blocks, we alternated shoveling and pushing, building up momentum, and getting stuck again. The main roads weren’t much better. I slid into a snow bank turning onto the highway onramp. Out came the shovel again.

The office was pretty empty yesterday. Many sensible people stayed home. My return commute was almost as bad as the drive in. I was terrified that I would not be able to get home. My street itself is flat, but this entire part of the city is on a hill, and we live near the top. I made it home by running a red light and two stop signs. Stopping would have been too dangerous, and luckily there was no traffic. It stopped snowing last night around 9 o’clock and I was optimistic about my odds for clear roads today.

When I got up, though, I could see that no plows had returned since their single pass down our street at noon yesterday. SodaBoy was working today, so I was on my own. If I got stuck, no one would be here to push me out. There was a car stuck in the snow with hazards flashing in front of the house next door. As my departure time approached, I felt a horrible cramping in my stomach. I have never been afraid of driving in the snow before. I didn’t like it. I tried to comfort myself by taking deep breaths, and telling myself the main streets would be clear. They were not.

At the intersection of two emergency snow routes, a city bus was stuck in the snow, and traffic was backed up in all directions. Finally a university police officer arrived to direct traffic and I drove on. I made it to the office with no real problems, and made it safely home again, too, although I had trouble getting both into and out of the office parking lots. I was practically overjoyed with relief at the improved conditions by the time I drove home tonight. The highway was actually clear and even my street had been plowed. Rejoice!

So while my first week at the new job has been extraordinarily stressful, the anxiety was all weather induced. The job itself has been going really well. It is always hard to tell how a job will end up from first impressions: what is initially new and exciting could always become dull later. But so far I am very happy with the situation. My supervisors have assigned me to tasks that I can work on independently, where I am immediately contributing, and also getting to learn a lot of background information about several big projects which I will be working on more in depth later.

And tomorrow is Friday, so I can wear jeans. This might just work out after all.


Not so little sister said...

I'm so glad you updated us finally! Glad the actual job is going well. Sorry for the horrible weather. I've been walking every where I can. Good luck! Hope the roads are even better tomorrow!

Erin said...

I can relate to the horrible feeling you were having in advance of your drive in. I had trouble sleeping Wednesday night because of my concerns over my drive the next morning. As I got closer to work, I got more and more nervous, until by the time I was at the bottom of the hill from hell, I was pratically shaking. I made it up both that one and the next by sheer luck as no one stopped. Otherwise...

Today, I said the heck with it and called in. I can't face another drive like Wednesday morning. I hope you make it safely again today.


Glad the job goes well!

Andy said...

Glad the job is going well, and really glad you avoided temping. I had some bad experiences temping too.

This probably isn't the best time to say it, but winter storms always make me really really happy. A week doesn't go by that I don't think of picking up and moving to Fairbanks.

Aliki2006 said...

I'm glad it's off to a good (albeit snowy) start!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Sorry about all the weather induced trauma!! I HATE WEATHER--bad weather, that is, I particularly hate snow and ice--I had so many bad experiences that I don't even want to go out the door when it's snowing.

Glad you're safe, hoping for more news about work.