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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Exit Stage Left

I’ve quit my fair share of jobs, believe me. Some of it is them, most of it is me… either way, it was time to move on and I did – more gracefully than normal, of which I am proud.

(Gotta love M.C. Escher, this has been my screensaver for weeks now.)

It occurred to me as I walked down the steps with my box in my hands that I had just put a $1,800 hearing aid on order. Perhaps it might be wise to cancel the oncoming choo-choo of debt. So, I got in my car and went directly from my resignation to the Canadian Hearing Society. I explained to the receptionist and apologized and she said, “Oh! You’re looking for work then. Well, you know we have employment services.” I just stood there as she took my information down and contacted her co-worker to come visit with me. I didn’t come there looking for help of that nature and I knew, immediately, that I had made the right decision after two years of 3:00 a.m. arguments with myself. We traded phone numbers and I got in the car and thanked God for the help and the human beings that offered it to me.

At home I started writing emails to friends that I had worked with, saying good-bye and exchanging home emails and sites. I sat for a long time at our desk and felt gratitude take control of the fear. Back into action, I spent the afternoon updating my resume, printing off copies and searching the Internet for job postings.

I got up at 5:30 the next morning and got dressed for work. Work had now become looking for work. Chris and I went to breakfast together; our “thirty minute, reading, week day date.” If I have one habit that I would like to keep, it is sitting across from my husband drinking coffee and reading a book. While at Tim Horton’s (a/k/a Timmies), I also stopped at a table full of miners and handed every one of them a resume to take to work with their donuts. From there I drove to Health Science North and was told by a volunteer that HR was at the old Memorial site. I went to Memorial and they said HR was at Cottage One at Kirkland (the old Algoma). At Algoma, a man answered the door and told me I was lucky because in a month they wouldn’t be taking paper resumes. And yes, I know the world is electronic – I live in it – but I still prefer seeing someone’s eyeballs when I introduce myself.

Back in the car, I began to listen to a Louise Hay CD on prosperity; and I never listen to self-help stuff. I don’t care about how to become the “Top 10” of anything, really. My mother-in-law, Barb, kept after me and said I needed to hear this woman’s message. She handed me the CD the week prior on my fifteen minute stop-over from grocery shopping to vacuuming and said, “Pay attention.” Margo had recommended Ms. Hay years ago; but she knows that her timeline and my talent of procrastination usually meet up at some point. Something about when the student is ready…

I told myself I would actively (out on the street) look for a job until noon every day until I found something. I traveled to more companies before I went home that day. What Louise said rang in my ears. She said that prosperity is not only about wealth and being poor is not only about money. We can be poor in spirit, poor in perception, poor in outlook and poor in results. We can be prosperous in gratitude, rich in affirmation and wealthy in hope. “Ok, so…the power of positive thinking meets The Secret and spun into another message…” I talked to myself as I drove around dropping off resumes. Still, I was listening. Better yet – I knew what she was talking about. The thing about quitting these jobs is that every single one of them held a lesson for me. They supported me, and sustained me until there came a time when we had outgrown one another. I realized that and knew it – I thanked God for my time at my job and asked Him to please direct me to the next one.

I got home and followed up with a phone call to a job that wouldn’t have been on my radar, or that fit my qualifications really – just something that would be part-time and pay the bills until I found the right job. My good friend, Chantelle, had recommended a driver position for a friend of hers who worked for the CNIB. For those of you unfamiliar with the acronym, the prior name was Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

The first time I spoke with Barb Smith I cried through my on the phone interview. Of course, I also had a pretty bad cold so I attempted to mask the snuffles through the phone. Somehow, I think she knew. I thought the job was “just a driver.” The job that she described to me is a driver/assistant for four individuals who cover Sudbury, Manitoulin Island, North Bay, Powassan, Sturgeon Falls, Parry Sound, Parry Sound Island – basically North-eastern Ontario. Barb described going to the homes of people who are losing their sight and marking spots where the washer and dryer are, the microwave. Helping them to learn to knit using a loom; and a machine called a daisy. She described learning software called “Jaws” that reads emails and websites, helping to run the company store…and scheduling the four people to travel three days a week all over God’s green acres. I CAN DO THAT! I told her that I had been praying for a job that would actively help human beings, for a long time.

After we got off the phone I nearly vibrated into the stratosphere. I was in much the same position when the job at Terrell State Hospital came along and I remembered being out on the porch of my home and saying to Laura Collins, “there’s a lot of difference between zero and $15,000 a year… I’ll take that job.” I had to become willing. I had to be brought to my knees before I could be open to what I was supposed to learn. And that job was the single best job I have ever had in my life…so far.

The next morning I was up and at Timmies again with Chris and Sarah for breakfast. Then I went down to the Provincial Building and picked up my driver’s abstract and paid for a police check. The snow was flying that morning and it was so cold. I imagined that my lunch date at home would probably cancel and was pleasantly surprised when my new friend showed up on the back porch knocking to be let in. I have found that when this kind of change occurs, God keeps me very active in helping other human beings…in the ways that I know already. I sat with her at my kitchen table talking about everything under the sun and reading the Big Book. She ate a salmon sandwich and banana, being fed the words that had saved my life so long ago. At one point in the conversation I head the first step being uttered. She said, “I’m lost.” No, my dear, you are not lost at all…just finding a different way to go.

All of this time, my recovery life has been dormant. It’s been sleeping with my writing in places where I could not go. I felt like I had outgrown it or changed somehow, magically, into a fully-functioning, normal person. I’m so glad that’s just not true. I am still under construction, headed this morning with Rita to the meeting at the “San”… coincidentally, and miraculously, at the same location as Cottage One of the new Health Sciences North. I’ve been beating down that door for the last six years, trying to get back into the psych unit, into the lessons that Terrell State Hospital had for me…to my calling.

Hopefully, I’ll be learning how to be a driver guide soon. God – I am willing to take you up on that offer.