At the end of a long week, there's nothing like a little bit of gratitude. Here's my latest roundup.
- My parents. I moved home for a week, ostensibly to work a six-week contract at an accounting firm. My mom and dad were hella stoked: they committed to following a paleo diet, they wanted to watch DVDs with me, they cooked and brought home food I like, they met me for coffee and hung out with me at the gym. They were ripe peaches, and I love them for being so excited at a chance to take care of me.
- My boyfriend. I wrote a book recently, and M tore through it, gave me thoughtful feedback, and cheered for me even though it was flawed. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a good partner right there. With him, I feel both more settled and more free to be myself. He is my safe harbour, and even though he often has to tell me to listen (I'm not a great listener sometimes, you guys!), he loves me so hard I could feel his hugs in a different area code.
- Job overload. So, I got a job—a six-week contract in Stratford, making coffee and delivering files around a busy accounting firm. On my third day there, I got another job: this one in Toronto, being the national office manager at an anti-hunger organization. After over a year of thready employment, I was suddenly awash in work. This both terrifies me and thrills me, but mostly I'm excited to be having a new adventure and drawing an actual, honest-to-god salary again.
- Chocolate. Sometimes, a girl just needs a little bit of dark chocolate with sea salt. Right? Right.
- Stratford restaurants. My parents and I went out to a downtown joint I had frequented in my muddy university days, and it's the kind of place that will do a cheap date night menu inspired by food trucks, or offer six-dollar margaritas. I love the Toronto food scene, but sometimes I get tired of everyone constantly talking about the artisan bitters in my $14 cocktail, or if ramen is the new tacos, or whatever else we're supposed to be talking about. But in a small town, where there are only a couple hip places to go, it's easy to just show up and get a little Tarzan about the whole thing: "Me hungry. You bring Thai noodles."
- Friendly offices. My first job out of university was a nightmare. I was a bright young bunny eager to make a name for myself in non-profit housing, and when I showed up at...let's just call it Choices...I was asked to be the administrative assistant. Awesome! Plum job! And then things got weird. I was asked to work Saturdays, and my promised lieu time never materialized. I started working with clients, but didn't receive a pay bump to reflect my new responsibilities. Worst of all were my two bosses: one was a bitch, straight-up, and mean to everyone who crossed her path; the other was conniving and a vicious gossip. I was privy to some nasty stuff: she would roll her eyes and talk about which clients were frogs (Frenchmen) as my queer coworkers cowered before her inevitable snap. I went from being a bright little bunny to one of those dogs that shivers in the corner whenever its owner lumbers out of his Lay-Z-Boy to kick it. I had panic attacks and anxiety-related hallucinations during meetings. I cried a lot.
In short: it broke me. I lasted six months, and by the end, I was a wreck.
Since then, I've been leery of office work. I know this is crazy, like having a run-in with one streetcar track and then being afraid of cycling over them every time since (although, fact, I do this). By and large, I've been lucky in my subsequent jobs. My bosses have been lovely to work for, the offices have been relaxed and welcoming, and the work has been manageable. But something still lingers: a fear that someday, it will all turn gnarly.
But this week at the accounting firm, and the job interviews I had with my new boss, have all been super. I made myself a promise at the beginning of the week that I wouldn't be ashamed of asking questions—to me, a question is an admission of imperfection, since I'm pretty much saying, "I don't know that, and therefor, I don't know everything, and I have failed you"—and the result of all these questions was a more confident and well-rounded experience. It boost my confidence in a big way. Moral of the story? Ask the questions.
- Homecomings. After a week of sleeping with M's teeshirt, I'm excited to cuddle up to the real man on Sunday night. He is, after all, my home.