Friday, April 27, 2007

Call me Kramer

The business manager of the unit I'm (tentatively) working for was joking with me that if they don't give me an official job offer soon, he's going to start calling me "Kramer."

Apparently, there was an episode of Seinfeld in which Kramer wandered into an office building, found an empty cubicle, and sat down. Pretty soon, people started giving him work to do! Several weeks later, the boss called him in and said "These are the worst reports anyone has ever written! I'm going to have to let you go." Kramer said "But I don't actually even work here," and the boss said, "Yeah, that's what makes this so difficult..."

When the permanent Unit Assistant was hired, they pretty much did just tell me to "hang out" til they figured all this out, and they gave me work to do. After a couple days, I asked if I could have an office to work in, rather than sitting in a conference room. Then I was sent on that business trip last week. Then, I got a computer and a phone... and yet I still don't even officially have the job! (I love the work, though, so I'm not really complaining--just musing at the irony!)Hopefully the editorial work I'm doing while I'm not technically employed as an editor is not "the worst ever," and hopefully they won't let me go, but this situation really is starting to look oddly Seinfeld-esque.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Relocation, and Lessons from Grandpa

First things first--Matt found out his appointment for next year!

We're going to be at Bethlehem UMC in Clarksville (about 45 mi. NW of Nashville). It's a small congregation, founded in 1836, way off the beaten path, with a charming building that's on the National Register of Historic Places. It will mean a long commute for me, since we'll be living in the parsonage there in Clarksville. (The parsonage, luckily, is fairly near the beaten path, on the other hand.) Matt was scared how I would react, since I was so opposed to the idea of a parsonage and really hoped we'd buy our own home, but I actually handled it quite well. ("I'm maxed out" in the stressor department, I told him.) It's a 4 bedroom, 2 full bath ranch with a fireplace and two-car garage. There's even a kitty-door from the garage for Miss Charlotte! It's pretty nice, and we can't really afford a house right now anyway--so, why not have free rent and utilities for a couple years? This could be really good for us!

Take a look at the church and house:

So, that's all very exciting, though it means quite a big life change for us. It's good to have one part of our limbo-situation resolved, though my side of things is still up in the air. I am still serving on a "temporary" basis in our academic/ministry leadership books unit, though they hired a new unit assistant (the position I was theoretically filling in for) two weeks ago. I have been doing some editorial work these past couple weeks, and this past week even went on a business trip with two colleagues, up to one of our most important churches. I got to meet and discuss book ideas with some of our major ministry-resource authors, and I loved every second of it! It made me ever more determined to get this job and to become a great editor. The details as to why my position is not already permanent and official are long-winded and strangled in HR red tape, but I have been given every reason to be hopeful it will all work out.

In the meantime, I am remembering a lesson learned from one of my maternal grandfather's many stories that he tells over and over again. Life seems to have stopped for this 93-year old back in 1952, as most of his oft-repeated stories are from his time in the Navy, in the mid-'30s, and his early days with General Electric in the '40s. Apparently, after a year or more on the factory line at GE, he wanted to move up to a higher-ranking position. His boss was skeptical, since he was younger than most of the other men in that position, so Grandpa offered to do the harder work for the same pay he'd been receiving on the line. The boss accepted this idea, and after a few weeks or months, he was granted the better position and its according pay on a permanent basis. As I return to work on Monday with a longer to-do list due to this past week's trip, I will try to remember Grandpa's work ethic and confidence that his abilities would win him the job.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The knot in my stomach is making itself at home

It's been about two weeks since my last post, and yet there is STILL NO RESOLUTION!!!

My old job ended last Friday, March 30, and with a heavy heart, I packed up my office and was ready to load it all into the trunk of my car until a new job was found. I still had hope of hearing good news with regard to the "dream job" I'd interviewed for in-house earlier that week. Mid-morning that day, my HR advocate called me into her office, but since she had informed me of that other job I'd been offered by phone, I figured a face-to-face discussion could not be good news. Sure enough, it wasn't, but it wasn't exactly bad news either. The men who'd interviewed me for the job I really wanted said they couldn't make a decision in such a short amount of time, especially since they had only of yet interviewed me. So, they suggested an alternative that would buy them (and me) more time. Their Unit Assistant (read: secretary) had just left, and they hoped that I could fill in at that post for a few weeks until a permanent replacement was found, and/or until they decided they wanted me for the other job. So, while I was not thrilled about this arrangement (it's low-ranking, obviously, and only pays BY THE HOUR!) it still seemed like the smart thing to do. While this gig will pay less than my severance package would have (assuming I was only unemployed for two weeks), my hope is that I can prove myself to the higher-ups in this unit, and that they can get to know me better, such that they will want to keep me!

So, I'm on my third day in this post, and it's a totally different world up here on the 5th floor! I feel very disconnected from my old colleagues, as if I'd left the company entirely, but I enjoy the collegial, academic environment up here, and the natural light is a godsend! I also had a follow-up interview this morning at another company, and think it went really well. I just might accept it if it were offered (though not before checking with my current boss-men about my potential for getting said dream-job!)

Anxiety is high in the Kelley household, as both Matt and I wait to find out where we will each be working next year. The tax-man was not good to us this year, and we need to control our spending on incidentals. Will we be able to afford a downpayment on a house? Will the knot in my stomach turn into an ulcer? Will I be able to buy new khakis before Ann Taylor Loft sells out of "real-person" sizes?

...Find out next time on Lifestyles of the Poor and Infamous!


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