It wasn't a fancy job. I was a simple sales associate/front desk lackey with part time hours. So, why am I emotional about leaving?
I will tell you the story from the beginning, as all proper stories need to be told. I had realized about a year ago that I needed to work. Outside of the house. I had just come out of the closet and began the process of ending my marriage. And it just hit me.... I have to get a job. Like, where I get hired and clock in and someone pays me a set amount. I hadn't done that since I called in to work the day I went into labor with Diva Girl, who is now seven. I'd worked retail and child care, never finished my degree, and wasn't exactly seeing much for myself in the job prospect department. But I put together a pitiful little resume and sent it out into the world. I went to interviews. I got rejected. I felt embarrassed. All the time, hearing someone else's words inside my head, wondering who on earth would hire me?
And about 3 months in, I see an ad on craigslist. I call, I apply, I have a little flurry of hope and try to squelch it when they call me back. Much to my shame, I arrive late to the interview. Imagine my shock when they offer me the job! I totally played it cool though, and waited until I got home to do my awkward happy dance that involves lots of flailing limbs.
The first day I was so nervous I thought I might have to duck into the bathroom to hyperventilate for a bit. I have a pretty well documented problem with anxiety that manifests itself in a serious issue making phone calls. And what did my new job require? Oh, just answering the phones all day. And making phone calls all day. My therapist encouraged me to take the job in part to overcome this issue and there were times in that first week I questioned her credentials because it seemed like the stupidest idea ever. But, slowly, surely....I got used to it. It became just another little thing, no big deal. Something that was crippling just months prior! I can't tell you what that has done for me.
But the best thing about this job was the people. For one thing, I was getting out of the house and meeting grown ups! Real live grown ups! That was rather exciting in and of itself. But it became clear fairly quickly that I was working with some rather fabulous human beings. Within a few weeks, I was out at work, and felt completely comfortable. As time went on, these people held my hand through the ups and downs of the divorce process. The support that I got there was beyond what I could have possibly expected. And my boss? She'd been there and done that and had nothing but understanding and wisdom for me. I could not have asked for a better place to take my first steps.
And that's what this place was for me. It was a safe place to take those wobbly first steps into a new life. I remember holding that first paycheck in my hands and seeing that there was enough to pay the fee to file for divorce, with just $6 to spare. I cried. There was so much pride every time I got a check, every time I hit my sales goals, every time I made it through another shift. I had never experienced such independence in my adult life, making my own decisions and having my own money and feeling like I was doing my job well. It gave me some much needed confidence.
Today I clocked out and am leaving my safe place. I know it is the best decision, and I'm excited about the new opportunity I have. But I will always be grateful to the place who gave me a chance and helped me on me feet. They don't know it, but they helped me find a piece of myself. It may have been just your everyday, run of the mill front desk job. But for me? It was so much more.