To some it might not seem brave, but I went back to work today. Yesterday was exciting but also frightening. It led to negative cognitive patterns. I questioned my value as a person, I worried that I’d never be able to hold this or any job. One nice thing about having a depressed spouse is that they can recognize these patterns and help you get through them better than the average person. Especially if you’re married to the son of a psychologist.
This morning, we reframed my job as a school of the virtues. It was a place where I would learn patience, humility, courage. It was like a college of gen-eds which maybe didn’t seem pertinent to my deepest interests, but which would be useful in many areas of life. After all, learning how to be a good receptionist here will mean that I can be a receptionist at…well, somewhere really cool like World Vision, International Justice Mission, etc. Being an Administrative Assistant will prepare me to assist people who do a lot of good in the world, thus being a person who does a lot of good in the world (AAs of the world, is it not true that you do a lot of your boss’s job, but receive less credit? I’m ok with that, because I believe that the good matters, not the credit).
And I did much better today. Bobbie gave me some invoices that I had to redo, but she was nice and helpful about it instead of being critical. She said that it was mostly exceptions to the norm and I just wasn’t familiar with them yet. I re-did them quickly and more efficiently. And now I know more. Then I also learned how to do purchase orders. I did some really good ones, Bobbie said they were perfect. There are also a couple she asked me to redo, but still. When it got quiet in the afternoon, I undertook a project to educate myself on the codes for various things so that I’ll be better at my job sooner. Why not?
As for my nemesis, the phone? Quiet for the first two hours. I worked on spreadsheets, my confidence increased, my comfort levels rose. I hardly needed my giant post-it to remind me to ask people’s names. I handled almost all the calls very well. I even called myself to triple check how the hold system works (using company cell) and confidently used it once. The one call I didn’t do well enough was for someone who doesn’t work here anymore. I didn’t recognize the name and told the lady that he wasn’t here. True. But in retrospect, I should have told her I’d check, put her on hold, talked to Bobbie, and either given her more info (like his new office’s number) or transferred her. I could have been more helpful, but I didn’t screw up, at least.
After work, I identified something I’d been feeling yesterday. This job is a good opportunity. It offers me a chance to learn workplace skills. It makes me a more valuable worker at future companies. It even gives me a place to learn the virtues. But it’s like taking General Education courses. It neglects my passions. I can’t really express them there, no matter how well I code invoices, take photos (yes, I did!), handle phone calls, converse with coworkers.
What are my passions? I outlined them in my post on creativity. Each night this week, I’ve watched about 1.5 hours of tv. But not for the tv as much as for the quilting I do while watching it. I can piece quilts while reading, but the actual quilting is much more awkward. So that’s one passion. I get a fair amount of reading done during my commute and my lunch break. It’s about 30-45 minutes each way to work. So that’s some reading.
But is it productive? Quilts are objects, they’re produced. They also take a long time if you do them by hand like me. They’re a slow production. Writing, I can do. I write here, on the blog. And it gets published. But I don’t know if anyone reads it or if it makes the world a better place.
What I can start doing, however, is writing other things! Mr. Micah spends time working on his dissertation every day, but he’s also written three published articles in the last three weeks, or so. I’m very proud of how prolific he is. I’m full of ideas. Some of these ideas might encourage people or teach them new things. I have ideas for articles and for novels and for nonfiction. Heck, I even have ideas for Sunday School curriculum (a new and awesome twist for more “emergent” churches or even liturgical ones).
So I’m going to work on that. Not right away, I’ll give myself at least ’till the end of this week to get used to work. But then I’ll take steps towards writing as a part-part-time job. Even an hour each day would be something. It’d be like having one class I’m passionate about in a day full of ok ones!
I’ll update on my plans when I start to form them. Until then, I remain Mrs. Micah–Receptionist/AA not-so-extraodinaire.