Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Scary Boots

You know that feeling you get when you are about to drive down a steep hill, and perhaps you were going too fast, and there's this little breathtaking sensation of lift-off as you are about to descend? Kind of like that strange whooshing feeling blended of excitement and blind panic right before the roller-coaster starts its first dive?

I've been getting that feeling in little flashes ever since I met with my boss yesterday. I had already received an email from him over the weekend in response to my apology and the post below this one, and knew that he was not angry with me and that he understood what I was going through. Still, though I didn't really think he was going to fire me, didn't believe that he would act unfairly or unreasonably in any way, thinking something or believing something or even having a reasonable assurance of something isn't the same as knowing, and I always prefer to know. I simply didn't know what exactly was going to happen, and therefore couldn't brace or prepare myself.

But things went better than I had expected: my parting from the office will be entirely amicable and honorable... he even went out of his way to make sure that I would not hurt financially and assured me a sterling recommendation. I am immensely relieved, and honored by his generosity, and so that part isn't scary any more.

And then, as I was looking over the various online job boards this weekend, I found a lot of jobs that I think I can do... exactly the kinds of jobs I was looking for, in big structured companies, for which I qualify and to which I might even bring a certain flair or dazzle. In fact, there were a number of jobs listed at one particular huge company that I am seriously considering already. So I'm not only not worried about finding another job, I'm also looking forward to maybe getting one of the jobs I've seen advertised.

What gives me those lift-off heebie-jeebies, though, is the timeline that has developed. In one of those "is it odd or is it God" moments of pure serendipity, my replacement has already been found, and is going to start in two weeks. So I shall be working as usual for the next two weeks, and then the third week will be spent familiarizing the replacement with my filing "system" and all of those odd little tasks that only I know how to do. And I shall also continue to be the notekeeper for our negotiations sessions for as long as I'm available.

That is a lot faster than I had expected, I had thought it would take a month or two to find a replacement... I am thrilled that the replacement is ready and that a definite timeline is in place, but when I stop and think that in three weeks my whole life will be different from what it is today, I get that little whoosh of panic in my chest. In three weeks I am going to wake up in the morning and not have to go to the job I've been going to most every day for the last six and a half years. Eep!

I also get that whoosh of panic when I start making plans for the job interviews I am going to be going on soon. I have to get a haircut, I have to get all of my dry-clean-only slacks and sweaters dry-cleaned, I need to have my shoes polished and my neckties pressed, my fingernails will have to be cut and buffed down into a masculine manicure... and most importantly, I have to brace myself for the possibility of rejection from any number of unknown HR directors. Scary shit, my friends.

Nevertheless, I am really excited about this change. There are going to be new people to meet, new challenges to test myself against, new things to learn... there will be new possibilities of financial security and professional advancement, too. And even these whooshes of panic are exciting and good. It's a healthy fear, not too big to be borne, just scary enough to let me know I'm alive and growing.

I am put in mind of how grateful I was for just such a whoosh of excited fear that I experienced right before going onstage when I appeared in that musical, summer before last. Or that whoosh of excited fear right before meeting someone for a pre-date coffee. It's scary, but it's anticipating scary rather than dreading scary, it's growth and opportunity that comes from getting out of a rut and flying out in the open, facing the big wide world and its many dangers and joys and adventures, and it feels great.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know what's going on. My posting is probably going to be spotty for the next three weeks... work is going to be very busy, as I tie up some projects and neaten the workspace before turning it over, and most of my writing energy is going to be devoted to getting a thorough explanation of a lot of my more arcane tasks written out. But then I'm going to take a couple of weeks to decompress before I start in on the interviewing rounds, so I'll have time to catch up on my writing then (I hope).

In the meantime, I wish you joy.

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