02: King of a Small Place

First of all, I'm pretty glad to look at the hit counter for the last entry and see it at zero. Not that don't want anybody to read this blog... I wouldn't likely be writing it if I didn't, and I won't write anything I would be uncomfortable with someone sensitive hearing about (I hope) but I like the idea of accruing thousands and thousands more words as the years go on and not having to defend them in any forum. My private public record.

In my last post, I made a quick offhand reference to having a phone interview for a job at Indigo head office, after working in the store for 2.5 years. Anyone who is working in retail past a certain age starts to wonder about what comes next. If you're like me and never really settled on a direction for yourself, that can be a source of stress. I mean, I had a big birthday coming up, and the forward momentum in that aspect of my life had seriously stalled. I entertained notions of "writing my way out" but in truth I've always been more of a tinkerer. I never get anything done, and these days I don't really have time to do much more than that. I was always trying to steal a few moments when the store was slow, or on my lunchbreak, or in the hours before Mel would get home from work, or after she'd fallen asleep but I was still up. But what I was writing wasn't serious. They were just little scenarios I could toy with, things that were always on my mind never in finished form, thinks that occurred to me when I was walking the aisle of the store. You see a title, it reminds you of another title, you think what it means to you... you read the inside flap of a book, or the first page, and you use that as a jumping off point. Inspiration is not hard to come by, if you're open to it. But productivity, that's harder.

My idea was to write some scandalous stuff, sell ebooks on Amazon and publicize it on less-than-reputable forums under an assumed name. The endgame there? I suppose just to say I had. Even if it had to remain a secret to everyone and I couldn't literally say I had done this. A true matter of not being in it for the glory but for my own feeling of accomplishment and an incredibly small payoff (because let's face it, what can you charge for 40,000 words of an unknown writer's work?)

It was a far-off, far-out dream, and I succeeded only in amusing myself for small periods when I had nothing else going on. (More successful has been my long-dreamed-of blog where I just read and write about old X-Men comics. A boon to society? Not really. But amusing to me, and it would seem, at least five people reading it.)

So I had no real professional direction. I was spinning my wheels. Occasionally I would get very frustrated with my place in life and start applying for jobs I probably had no business going for. Things I thought I could do or learn, sure, but that there were others with highly specialized knowledge and experience I had not gotten and had no time to get.

My best option always seemed to be Indigo Home Office. It seemed unlikely, because any posting for HO would be mobbed by people just like me, so I kept my expectations moderate, but I would not let that stop me altogether. But one day, the stars aligned, and Sandy showed me a posting on the company's internal message board from someone at HO who she had hired many years ago, looking for someone to help with the Bargain Optimization project. I sent in my resume and as strong of a cover letter as I could. Somehow I got a call. The call was actually not for the job I had initially applied for, but a related one (Trade Optimization instead of Bargain - a bigger project, a contract through September 29) The first call led to a test with the Optimization Template, and somehow my findings, as well as my discussion on the follow-up call, were coherent enough to warrant an offer.

It was bewildering. I got word on April 26 that they wanted me to start on May 15 - or the 8th if I could make it work. (I could.) In under two weeks I said goodbye (for now) to the people and store where I had been working for over two years, to the type of work I had been doing for most of my adult life. By the time of my 30th birthday I had achieved my goal, at least for the time being, of having a job where I sit down.

I went from a job where I was senior, knew everything, had a hand in everything, was (as the unusually applicable title of this blog states) King of my little world, to one where I was just learner, newbie, small fish. It's not a job I ever anticipated myself doing, but I'm picking up on it well. I want to make myself vital. I want to earn my spot. Some might prefer to be the King of Town, but I'd rather be peasant of the city.

Then again, here I am slacking writing all this, because I'm somewhat between tasks right now. That's not ideal. But I did always envision an office job including time for this, so, yeah.

Where does this all lead? I don't know. New career? Fun summer then back to square 1 in October? Either way, I've got momentum for, like, the very first time.

Keep on rockin'


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