The Break

Yes, I took a break from blogging … because I caught a break.

About a month after my last post (in October last year), I got an e-mail from a recruiter. Typically, these don’t go anywhere. Someone at a desk somewhere is surfing job sites like Monster to find resumes to submit to a client to fill a quota. They’re looking for keywords and don’t really read or bother to take the time to understand the person behind the data. (Cynical? Me?) So I don’t have high hopes when these boilerplate messages show up in my In box. But when you’re desperate for money, you follow any carrot dangled in front of you.

This one, however, turned out to be different. I didn’t understand what a “tween channel” was (and — shockingly — the recruiter couldn’t explain it either [#sarcasm]), but I went through the motions anyway. I completed an editing assessment, and was scheduled for 2 hours of interviews one afternoon. Before 9:00a the next day, I was offered a contract job as an editor at WebMD on a project about preventing and addressing childhood obesity. And when we got past some hinky paperwork issues, I started working full-time the week of Thanksgiving.

It’s been an amazing experience for me.

Admittedly, I was worried about fitting in to the corporate environment. After 13+ years of mostly working from home, could I adapt?

It was almost painless. I don’t have to get up at an ungodly early hour. The office space is newly built out, on the top floor, with awesome views. About 3 miles from my apartment. With underground parking. Fresh fruit every day. TAMPONS IN A BASKET IN THE BATHROOM, not a vending machine (I’m going to remember a quarter if I didn’t remember the tampon?). I like the people I work with, and I love my direct manager.

I rediscovered what I’m good at. And it can actually make a difference in people’s lives. Even when I was working long hours, I’d leave feeling more energized than when I got there. I’m appreciated, complimented for the work I do. I’m compensated well for it.

In fact, my income did double.

So, to follow up, here’s what’s happened on the list from October:

  • CHECK: pay off the credit card debts I’ve racked up the past few months
    the carried balance is gone on both business & personal
  • CHECK: pay the property taxes on the loft
    2010 got paid on time, 2011 will be. BONUS: loft was vacant for 7 months, and I was able to cover those expenses too.
  • CHECK: eat out at local restaurants with friends a few times/week
    OK, maybe once a week — but it’s a start. Occasional brunches with the OGBF (original gay boyfriend David), nights out with the gays, lunches with the team post-kickball, dinners after orchestra rehearsal, etc.
  • CHECK: travel — visit family & friends, see new places & cultures
    went on a cruise in January (a family thing, sponsored by Dad, but still required spending money and time off work), and an upcoming trip to DC (to visit Ally, who commented on that last post) scheduled for July
  • SORT OF: buy season tickets to the ASO
    bought tickets to see a concert with OGBF and a couple of people from orchestra (then went to dinner afterward)
  • CHECK: see bands and theater (support local arts)
    finally saw a production of “The Santaland Diaries” (for gay boyfriend Joe’s birthday, then went to dinner afterward)
  • NOT YET: take at least 1 yoga class/week
    I’m not doing yoga regularly, but I bought a 4-week pass to try out a yoga studio
  • CHECK: buy gifts, for occasions and just because
  • SORT OF: put away for savings & retirement
    replaced money in my emergency savings account, waiting on past-due payments to set up another
  • CHECK: get my teeth cleaned, maybe straighten the bottom ones
    went to the dentist a couple of weeks ago — exam looked good (admonished to floss more), and only 1 filling needs to be replaced
  • SORT OF: drink more wine
    I find I’m actually drinking less lately, but I have wine when I want it
  • NO: web-enable my phone
    still doing just texting. It’s a contract job, so I’m not willing to make a long-term expense commitment. Plus, I realized I could easily become addicted to social media.
  • CHECK: fix my flute
    both the C and alto have been overhauled
  • SORT OF: get new athletic shoes, for kickball, walking, working out
    got kickball shoes as a Christmas gift from Gayle & Eddie, and I’ve purchased other shoes
  • NO: shop at local farmers’ markets more often
    now that it’s the season again, I’ve been meaning to go, but I’m either working, busy or feeling lazy
  • NOT YET: donate to charities & causes I care about
    deciding which organizations and how much is on my honey-do list (along with getting my tax info to my accountant)
  • NO, BUT: buy a scooter
    if I’m offered a permanent position there, I’m definitely getting one
  • CHECK: get my hair cut regularly and professionally colored occasionally
    found a new stylist, and it’s time to schedule another appointment
  • NO: go fabric shopping, start sewing again
    don’t have the time or workspace to sew, but I have bought some new clothes
  • NO: upgrade to QuarkXpress 8
    I’m not working on publishing projects, and v9 has been released (maybe, for Bill’s next book)
  • CHECK: buy a new mattress
  • CHECK: attend neighborhood/art/beer festivals
    went to the Inman Park Festival and parade with the OGBF (then had many cocktails afterward), but didn’t go to East Atlanta Beer Fest this year. I’ve realized that festivals are more likely to happen when I have friends to go with
  • NO: add extra money to my car payment
    yes, if I’m offered a permanent position
  • NOT YET: buy an ice cream maker
    that reminds me … call  your sister to “borrow” her Amazon prime account
  • SORT OF: see a movie in a theater on the big screen
    meant to see Thor but OGBF cancelled, saw Fast Five at the drive-in
  • NO: buy an iPod and listen to podcasts
    I did get a Kindle to encourage reading (although I’m still trying to get used to it)
  • MAYBE/NOT YET: attend the National Flute Association annual convention
    if my contract is extended or I’m offered a permanent position, I’ll go to NFA in August because it’s in Charlotte, just a few hours’ drive. Perhaps I’ll buy a C piccolo (mine’s a Db)
  • SORT OF: join a networking group
    enrolled in a business coaching program that has a small-group component

I also bought plants for my balcony. And a new kitchen garbage can (to replace the rusting one I got 15+ years ago). I paid my orchestra dues.

And I sincerely appreciate being able to do all of that.

I like who I get to be when I’m not worrying about money.

I get to be generous. I get to care about and be engaged in other people’s lives. I get to be confident and pleasant to be around. I get to take care of myself. I get to learn and experience new things.

It was an incredible feeling to give away (not sell) my old mattress. There was no “what’s in it for me?” strategizing. No angle to work. Just a simple, small act that made a big difference to someone else.

And I’m happy.

Posted on Sun, 12 Jun 11, at 10:08 pm.  •  Filed under about this blog, money.
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2 responses to “The Break”

  • Maaike Quinn @ A Gorgeous Life:

    Hi there! Great post. And you were right, it’s just like my story! Feeling all energized after a long day at work. Feels awesome, right? 😀

  • kate:

    Indeed! {high-five}

    I hope it continues for you, too.

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