Tuesday, August 07, 2012

The Lowdown on My New Job - Part 1

Ever since I moved to northern Utah, I've been applying for full-time jobs at Weber State University. I had loved working at SUU and enjoyed the benefits that came from working in an academic setting. A few times, I came close to being hired on at WSU but was never offered a position. Finally, I gave up and decided to go to school full-time to get a Masters of Accounting degree. Not working was so hard for me - I felt horrible about not contributing to our household income - so, after discussing it with Steve, I applied for and was offered a student hourly position at WSU's student health center. It was great! I worked 20 hours a week, most of the time blogging or doing homework. I developed friendships with the full-time staff there and decided I'd stay there until my schooling was finished in December 2013.

Life threw me a curve ball and I panicked...just a little. Steve failed his physical and started a process that may (we won't know for a few months) lead to him retiring a year earlier than we had planned. The thought of him going out and getting another job while I went to school and my ultra-cushy part-time job made me sick. My goal all the time we've been together, in which time he's brought in the bulk of our income, is to be making enough money that when he retires he can work at whatever job he wants - even if it's a piddly job at a sporting goods store - without worrying about our finances. After 20+ years in the military, I think he's earned the freedom to pick a job that he'll really enjoy.

So, with his earlier-than-expected retirement staring me in the face, I immediately jumped on WSU's employment website and applied for the only full-time Classified Staff position currently open. Steve, when he found out, didn't approve. He preferred that I focus on finishing my degree so I could then get a really good job in my career field instead of taking longer to finish because I'm working full-time. In the end, we compromised and agreed that I would work full-time only at WSU, since my goal is to work there or another university for the rest of my career.

A few weeks went by and my panic had mostly subsided. We had talked things through and had a good plan, so I knew we could weather any outcome. I had forgotten about applying for the position at WSU until the day before our Alaskan cruise when I received a call to set up an interview sometime that week. I was thrilled to be getting the call and was disappointed to have to tell the caller, the secretary, that I was going on a cruise and wouldn't be back until the following week. She said she'd let the hiring committee know and would get back to me. I was hopeful that they'd reschedule for the next week. Later that day, she called and asked about June 25th. I said that would be great, so she told me the time and location of the interview. I excitedly told Steve about it and he rained on my parade by reminding me that I was having my tummy tuck on June 22nd and would not be able to walk on my own by the 25th. I said I didn't care. I wouldn't risk not getting the job by calling her back and ask to reschedule. He persisted. I knew he was right but put off making the call until the Sunday after we had returned from our cruise. I left a message explaining my surgery, etc, and asked if we could reschedule once again. I didn't have a lot of hope this time.

I didn't hear back from them before my surgery (a Friday), so I figured they had found someone else in the time since we had talked weeks prior. My tummy tuck took place early Friday morning and I was home in bed early that afternoon when my phone started vibrating. Figuring it way my dad checking to see how I was, I answered, not even looking at the caller. It was WSU calling back to reschedule the interview!! She was surprised I had answered, I explained that I was pretty drugged up but okay. We discussed how soon I could come in for an interview and set a date for two weeks from that day. I was thrilled!

Two weeks later, Steve drove me to the interview. It went really well AND I loved how I looked in real clothes after my surgery. A couple hours later, the director of the department (which is part of the IT Division) called and set up an interview with me and the VP of the IT Division, so I knew they had liked me. I went to the interview with the VP and it went well, too. Talking about the job duties, I felt like they'd be a good fit for me, and my would-be supervisor seemed really nice. A few days later, HR called to offer me the job and I accepted. I had been a little worried about starting to work full-time three weeks after my surgery, but fortunately (for me at least) I had to wait to start working until the background check passed. It took 2 weeks, so I started last Monday, just over 5 weeks after my surgery. By that time, I was feeling good enough to sit at a desk for long periods and walk around as needed.

My first couple days of work went well, despite a little confusion Monday morning when my trainer and my boss weren't there. I spent an hour talking to a guy who had just started the week before, then read for two hours when he had to go to a meeting and before my meeting with HR. Tuesday night last week, I panicked again. Why was I working full-time??? I had a cushy part-time job that gave me time to do my homework, freeing up my free time, and that let me go to school full-time so I could finish faster. I knew it, I loved the people, and I had plenty of time with my husband. Oh! And, I felt horrible about leaving our dog alone outside all day now. I spent a restless night, planning on quitting my new job and begging my old one to take me back. Of course, when morning came, I realized I couldn't do that, even though I really wanted to!

My desire to go back to my old job had little to do with this job. Once at work, I liked it well enough. It was weird because there were huge amounts of times when I wasn't being trained (like right now) and so had to find stuff to do on my own (pretty hard when you don't know what to do or how to do it). Then I discovered a little bit of "politics" that exists and wasn't very excited about having to deal with it. That said, the people were nice and I kept hoping that I'd eventually get trained to do the work and that I'd enjoy the work.

Yesterday, I finally came to terms with my new situation. Quite frankly, I'm a little embarrassed and ashamed  that I ever wasn't. As I wrote earlier, I've been hoping and trying for this for a couple years. It's a good job in a market that isn't overflowing with them. I have good benefits and good prospects of furthering my career. I hope that now my "foot is in the door" I'll be able to one day work in the departments that will be more along the lines of my studies (Payroll, Purchasing, Accounts Receivables/Payables, the Controller's office, Auditing, etc.). Instead of bemoaning the fact that I can't sleep in until 7:30 any more, that the dog has to be alone a little longer, that I won't be able to do homework at work, etc, I should be grateful for the blessing that is this job. And now I am.

And I'm finally beginning to get trained on the "meat and potatoes" of my position and really do think I'll like the work. My official title is Office Specialist. Basically, I'm part secretary and part bookkeeper. My supervisor is the head of one department in the division but I will eventually support both departments in the division (this is the cause of the "politics" I mentioned earlier). I'm glad that my main duties relate to Accounting instead of being a straight secretarial position that just answers phones and orders supplies (which I do, too). It sounds like I'll stay fairly busy once I know what I'm doing but that the work won't be overwhelming. Perfect!

The best part of this job so far is the stress it takes off me about my future. I worried about finding a job after school and Steve's retirement and now I don't have to. It doesn't pay a ton, but it's enough for us right now and, like I wrote earlier, it should be a good stepping stone for other, better-paying jobs on campus.

So, I'm going to relax and enjoy this position for all its worth. It's going to be a little tricky with school, but I changed my class load to two instead of three, so I'm sure I'll be able to get homework done and still spend time with my hubby. I'm meeting very nice people and learning new things. And, I'm not sitting at home bored to tears. Yep, I'm very glad and very fortunate in my new job.



Cassie said...

Sounds awesome!! I hope it is a really good job for you. So nice not to have to pay tuition too.

Anonymous said...


And... I love how it all worked out. I mean, isn't it interesting how some things just are "meant to be" even though by all odds, it shouldn't have? I'm not saying that you shouldn't have gotten the job, but with having to reschedule the interviews, etc... it's awesome that it all worked out!

Mellissa Hunt said...

I agree with Sarah how it's interesting how things sometimes work out exactly like they're supposed to, even though it's not how we planned.

I'm glad you're enjoying your new job. That's so annoying about the office politics. Life is hard enough without having to worry about piddly stuff at work.