I can do this job.
No, really, I actually can do it, it would seem.
And, it turns out - I can do it well.
(Besides God, my personal references, and my boss, that is.)
I sure didn't.
It's been a wonderful surprise to wake up and not feel sick with dread about the challenges of the day. Because, so far? The challenges have been do-able.
This week there was a bit of a kafuffle with a few projects that had been sent off to press. At the last minute, at the end of the day, I needed to call the printer and say "Stop the Presses!" Which I did, eventually. (It took a bit of effort to find someone working after 5 pm.) The next day I got three emails from various departments, apologizing for causing me stress.
Asking me to stop the production of two printed pieces at the last minute most very certainly did not cause me stress. Not one second of it.
There's a whole social aspect to working, isn't there?
And that more than anything, is causing me stress.
I've dealt with the whole, 'who do I sit beside during prayer time' question.
The chairs are set up in rows and I just pop in at the last minute, and take an empty seat.
But I still haven't got a handle on the 'what happens during lunch time?' debate. Thus far I've avoided taking a break at noon, or if I do, I get in my truck, get some fast-food, and eat in the parking lot.
Waa. Waa. Waa. I don't have a Work BFF.
This week I was forced to face my fears. Again. Still.
Seriously, God does NOT cut me a break.
First incidence was on Tuesday.
One of the guys on my team, a long-time member, was leaving for a great new opportunity.
A good-bye luncheon was planned for those who wanted to wish him well. More than anything I was hoping for an excuse not to go, but I couldn't think of one, and nothing 'suddenly came up'. So I joined 15 others for lunch at Montana's. Everyone car-pooled over, but I ended up in my truck by myself.
When I got there, there were two seating options for me, both at different ends of the table.
The first end was where some of my designers and editors were sitting. All young. All friends. I looked at the empty spot there and felt old and fat and tongue-tied. How would I manage to carry on conversations with these artist, hip, talented, cool kids. I could not. I was wearing mom-jeans and Dr. Scholl's sensible shoes.
So I walked past them and took an empty spot at the far end. Next to women who were department heads. My 'clients', so to speak. (Whenever anyone in the organization needs something put on our website, mass-emailed, printed, shipped or designed, it goes through 'my' department. )
Lunch turned out to be OK.
I have to remember not to order thick sandwiches (like turkey clubs on sour dough) or salads with big pieces of floppy romaine (like a starter caesar) because I have terrible knife-and-fork skills and a small mouth. (According to my dentist.) (Re: mouth size.)
(He hasn't commented on my table manners.)
I was hanging out with smart, holy people.
They are so very competent in their chosen professions. And they love Jesus not just so that they can get into heaven, but because.
I sat in awe, listening to the men pray for Sam, and then chat casually over their meal. It reminded me of lunches with Steve and Darren at Arrow. Good men, with a deeper purpose than the pursuit of riches or personal glory. Guys totally comfortable being transparent about their faith, their love for their families, their heart for the lost, their joys in life. And wise women who are educated, quick, bright, family-oriented, and passionate about their work.
I survived that ordeal, mostly by asking my table mates about themselves.
Me. Queen of the Questions.
And then today.
Today was the January "Lunch and Learn". Except it was first thing this morning - at 8:30 am. So it was renamed the "Brunch and Learn".
The leadership team got to work early, set up the staff room with long tables, and served us pancakes, yogurt and fresh fruit for breakfast.
This was my first ever Lunch and Learn. Apparently they happen once a month. Mostly it's an extended devotion-and-prayer time, with a staff meeting thrown in at the end. Today's meeting was about our year-end financials and an update on all the big projects that are underway.
Who do I sit beside?
Or do I sit at a table by myself and wait to see if anyone chooses to sit next to me?
What if no one talks to me?
The room was only half full when I got there, and no one from my team had arrived.
So I took 10 red grapes, one orange wedge and one pancake (yuck. I'm so not a pancake fan) and sat at a mostly empty table across from the new Marketing Director. (He's been with us for 2 weeks.)
Turns out he has worked with Clint before on a video project.
So that was utterly fascinating. He loves Clint's work and said Many Good Things about my boy.
Eventually, surprisingly, happily, my team members came and sat at the table around us, including one on either side of me. And then.
And then I said something at the same time that I bit into a grape and it went down the wrong throat. So to speak.
I started coughing.
So I just got up and went down a flight of stairs, walked into my office, closed the door and had a grand ol'choking/coughing fit. It was glorious. My eyes got all watery. My nose started running. I was coughing so deeply I almost threw up.
Oh yes, it was a beautiful thing.
I eventually coughed up my lung, reapplied my make up, and walked back up that flight of stairs, totally winded. I sat back in my chair, but the two seats on either side of me where now empty, and I didn't see E or C anywhere in the room. A few seconds later, they were back, "We were worried about you - we went and checked all the washrooms..."
"Oh, thanks," I said, embarrassed.
"... although I don't know what we would have done if you really needed help. I guess we would have called Josh. I think he's trained in first aid."
THANK YOU JESUS that I didn't need help expelling that grape juice from my wind-pipe.
Josh? Is, like 24 years old. Wears skinny jeans. In assorted colors. Has hair that is combed forward and whipped to the side. Words are ataoo-ed in script across his neck-line/collar bone. Single. Totally exotic in appearance. About 110 pounds. (As are all the guys on the creative team.)
Anyway, I survived all on my own. No first-aid intervention was required. Nothing but my pride took a hit.
Both nights I came home THRILLED that my house was empty and I didn't have to make conversation with anyone. I could just be a potato and watch Robin Hood lead his gang of Merry Blokes.
One of these days I'm sure I'll mature.
Three things I'm thankful for:
1. In addition to 26 hours of episodes, I was encouraged to watch all the extra scenes on the DVD's. Turns out? I love commentaried episodes. Or watching the actors prepare for their roles.
2. It's THURSDAY. The weekend, people. It's, like HERE. We can play. And not worry about who we'll eat meals with.
3. I cleaned my house on Tuesday night. No, I made an effort, a solid effort. Seriously - I was vacuuming at 1:30 am. AND IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT, because when I got home from work on Wednesday, Drew and Danica were here for supper. And she said, "Jane, your house is so clean!" (Which, uh, is also saying that the last few Wednesdays that they've been over, it hasn't.)