Monday, May 20, 2013

Whoa, Look What I Found...

Well--hi, there!

Once again, I have left writing in this thing to the back burner and set it aside for an extended stretch of time. Now, it is 5 months after my last entry, and to say things have changed is, well, a large understatement.

Let's get caught up then, shall we?

Part 1: "Frustrated, Inc"
The latter part of this winter was kind of an exercise in dealing with large amounts of frustration. While I liked my job, there were a lot of small things that were growing in to bigger things, and I was becoming pretty unhappy there.
Also, remember that lofty mileage goal I had set? I wasn't even close to hitting any of those numbers. It was plain and simple lack of motivation. The work unhappiness was spilling over in to that part of my life, and even though I tried really, really hard to keep the fact I worked in running specialty from spilling over in to my own personal running, it was starting to happen.
That said, I was biking a lot, and starting to do other strength training, so I wasn't losing a ton of fitness, but I knew I needed something else. So, I put my name in the hat again for the Garry Bjorklund in hopes that a second half on the docket might help, even if a part of me was hoping I wouldn't get in. Just like the year before, I couldn't fall asleep that night. I tried to lay there and just rest, but knowing the email was already in my inbox was causing my head to spin and spin. At 3AM, I gave in and went to check.
Well, there it was. I was in, and staring down the barrel of another crazy Grandma's weekend. Little did I know...

Part 2: "Impossible Things are Happening Every Day..."
The next day at work, my boss wanted to talk to me. He looked a little rattled, and immediately I was concerned it was bad news. It was, kind of, but for him. It was great news for me: One of our shoe companies was looking for a new tech rep, and they were interested in me.
Me. What? Since when am I qualified for something like that? I'm a small shop manager and a barely-average runner. Since when are people like me up for jobs like that?
Once my head stopped spinning, I talked to Brandon and my family, and we all agreed it was something I should pursue, especially considering my bosses were on my side and promised me either way I'd still have a job. After speaking with the sales rep, who I had already befriended, we got the ball rolling, and a week later I was headed to Minneapolis (in a blizzard, no less) to have the first interview with two company higher ups. The interview went well, and I was very, very hopeful.
However, the job would mean one thing: relocation. Specifically, to the Twin Cities. We knew we wanted to get there eventually, but we were still a few years out from heading that way. Were we up to moving sooner than we planned?
After talking it out, Brandon decided to put out feelers for a job. He, too, was approached by a company out of the Cities. Within a week, he contacted them, interviewed, and was hired. During that time, I had a second interview, and found out I got a third. Yes, now I was at three interviews in a month's time with no direct yes or no, and I now had the pressure of a spouse with an offer. Suddenly, the roles had shifted back to the usual "He has a job and she's along for the ride", rather than the opposite situation we had been expecting. What was going to happen, and what was I going to do?

Part 3: "What Hurts The Most, Was Being So Close..."
Interview number 3 came and went, and after I had a fourth, I learned that was it. The next time I'd hear from them, it would either be the offer or the "Thanks for playing" notice. I had two weeks to chew on it, imagining every possible outcome, good or bad.
During that 2 weeks, after much talking it out and thought, Brandon and I decided that the offer he was getting from his new company was too good to not accept. Whether or not I got the gig, we were going. We found a place, put in notices, and started getting things going for the move, all the while having our fingers crossed.
With just over a week to go before we left Duluth, and just about to head to Kansas City for a trip we had planned last winter, I finally got the answer. It wasn't the one I had hoped for. After 2 months, 4 interviews, and a lot of hoping, I was informed via e-mail that I did not get the job. How would I describe how I felt? Crushed. Terrified. Humiliated. Devastated. I just felt like a failure. Even now, a month later, writing about it again is bringing back that chest tightness and choked up feeling. Adding insult to injury, I was greeted at the door when I got home by Brandon with news on how I could file for unemployment. Yes, I know he was just trying to help. I'm not even going to touch the politics of benefits. A lot of that played in to the NMU/Tech dynamic of our relationship--The Tech grad had his job, and once again I was the unemployed NMU grad who didn't get her job. Having the first thing out of his mouth be about filing for unemployment just felt like a combination kick in the chest and knife in the ribs. It hurt.
I gave myself the evening to mope, mourn, and cry. I knew if I didn't just let myself feel it right away, it would end up being worse when it happened later.
Part 4: "I'm Moving On..."
On May 1, I finished my final shift at the store. My co-workers and friends were great, and sent me off with a lot of love, support, and celebration. It was hard to be surrounded by all that happiness when I was so torn up inside. I would love to tell you I handled all this with grace and positivity, but I struggled. I cried a lot, including at my exit interview. Walking away from my first "real" job, from a city that finally felt like home, from my first sense of security since I left home in 2003 and in to the unknown wrecked me inside. Even if I hadn't always been happy there, even if just as recently as 2 months prior I was wondering if I could take much more at work, and even with the constant reminder that I was heading to somewhere that offered more opportunity, leaving the security of the known and leaving a situation in which I was finally secure and contributing was terrifying.  I was constantly teetering on the verge of a meltdown, and I was really, really depressed. All I could do, though, was keep on keeping on, start looking for another job, and just move forward.
Part 5: "A New Day Has Come..."
May 4, we arrived in Minneapolis, and began getting settled. Naturally, one of the first things I did was find a running group, and I found one near our new place. Brandon and I went to a Tuesday night run, where I met another former DRC staff member and his wife. He told me that the store hosting the run was hiring and that I would stand a pretty good shot with my experience. I was hesitant about being at another store--maybe not getting the Tech rep gig was a sign that I needed to be done with the industry? I had put out applications for various secretary and receptionist jobs, but all it took was going to the Twin Cities 1 Mile to show me where I needed to be. It was the first time in years I was at a race in which I was neither running, volunteering, coordinating, or sponsoring. It felt weird and wrong. I wanted to be involved. I wanted to be a part of it again.
The next day, I sent them and another running store my resume. By the end of the weekend, I had interviews at both. By the end of the week, I also had offers from both. I accepted the offer from the store where I went to the group run, and tomorrow will be my first day. While the details aren't finalized yet, it will be very similar to what I was doing in Duluth.
It's funny. This chapter of uncertainty is coming to an end, but a new chapter is just beginning. So far, financial and employment worries aside, our first two weeks in Minneapolis have been great. We are in a wonderful neighborhood, right near a lot of parks and paths. Everyone has been friendly and welcoming. Even though I cursed the whole circumstance in moments of unhappiness, I think coming here was a very, very good thing for us.

So, that's what has been happening. Now, we have one big thing on the immediate horizon:
Here's hoping half marathon #7 is indeed lucky.
Here's also hoping I will also consistently write here. 
Here's hoping and here goes...

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