Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Curriculum Vitae

Upon graduation from college, drawing on all the years of higher education and worldly experience, I got a job waiting tables. My father referred to me, almost exclusively, as the Hash Slinger. I was not a good Hash Slinger, my heart, and my memory, just not in it. I forgot cocktails, smoked trout, and lemon chess pie routinely and I never really learned how to filet a catfish, finding it really just disgusting. This was not for me so I framed my diploma, put together a snappy resume and got a job at the Laura Ashley Home store selling wallpaper. In the end I found three of my best friends (all wearing floral frocks and tights) but soon realized that I could not live my life in puffy shirts and floor length dresses so I moved to Chicago and enrolled in graduate school. To occupy my free time I sold leather (not so sexy) at the Coach store where I worked for the craziest person I have ever known, the silliest and zaniest boss you could ever hope for. Once I sold a briefcase to Michael Jordan, the highlight of my leather career (not as tall as you might think but dashing).

Then, after years of schooling and on the job training, I landed at a personal injury law firm working as a paralegal/clerk for a firm that accepted cases that the ambulance chasing firm advertising on the telly turned down. One of my responsibilities was to interview potential clients, most frequently medical malpractice cases because I worked for the med mal attorney who cleaned his ears, during meetings, with the end of his glasses. Let's sum it up this way: many, many men in the Chicago area have had enhancement surgery that just didn't turn out the way they wanted, and they all have pictures. I quit, quit the firm, quit grad school and moved to Kansas City to spend time with my ailing Mimi. Thankfully.

Unemployed and homeless I turned to others, accepted some very kind resume forwarding and went to work in banking, a job for which I was supremely unqualified. I loved it, and I was good, not really with the money (they wisely kept me away from any real cash), but with the people, my customers. I could not imagine a situation where I felt so at home and so comfortable. I learned everyday and it was effortless, I had finally found my place. As Michael Scott tries so hard to do every week on The Office, Kathy created a family in her branch, and while I wasn't technically a part of her world, I loved being there every day; loved the cast of characters she assembled, I loved the big guys, the little guys and my generally wonderful older clients. And I met my future husband, what more could I hope for? So I quit and went to work at another bank.

Back to Chicago, to yet another bank, and then a community foundation, doing very similar work but in the non profit sector. My job actually involved calling non profits on the phone and telling them I had clients who would like to give them money, are you kidding? What a great job. I left, not actually certain that I was making the right choice but having two children at once moved me from an income producer to a income consumer, immediately. I signed up for two years and then I was going back to work. Two years came by so quickly, I was not ready, I couldn't leave them, couldn't imagine. Here we are at four years and the clock is ticking away, rapidly moving toward full time kindergarten next year. I'm still not ready, not ready to part with my charges, not ready to move back into a life away from these people, but we've had our time. The amazing thing is, and I was not at all prepared for this, this is without a doubt the best job I have ever had.

And unlike every job that came before, I can't leave, there's no quitting, despite how much I love it. They may go to school and I may go back to work but at the end of the day, this will always be my job. I had no idea all that schooling and experience would lead to such a satisfying and wonderful career.

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