It's been a long time since I posted much of anything here, but it's definitely been awhile since I updated anything about my life in general. Life is really hard right now. I'm learning to count my blessings and focus on the good things and to struggle well. But life is pretty tough right now.

I'm looking for a new job. Again. I don't know why I've been walking in circles since I graduated college or why I need to experience same frustrations in every job I take, but apparently there's some lesson the be learned here. I really hope I learn it soon.

This job has been difficult form the start and just keeps getting harder. I hesitate to say anything too specific here because the last time I wrote about a boss, he read it and I feel quite a bit of shame for how it must have hurt him. It was the truth, but it was also angry and bitter and unkindly put. So, if there's one lesson I've learned, it's to be kinder on this blog. And the kindest way to put this is that I am not a good fit for this ministry and this ministry is not a good fit for me. There are many things that could change and would make my life a lot easier and make this place much more pleasant, but there is little chance of that happening right now, so I'm looking for a new place to be.

Job hunting is awful. It just is. I don't know of anyone who has enjoyed this process. I have been on three in-person interviews and countless phone interviews. I have been assessed and judged and found wanting again and again. Many people never even contact me again, which is disheartening and rude. Note to Hiring Managers: if we've had a face-to-face conversation, it's not too much to ask for an email or a phone call saying "No, thank you." Also, if you elect not to hire me and say some pretty tough things in the rejection, perhaps you should not, in the same paragraph, ask me to like you on Facebook. Just a thought.

Anyway, here's a snapshot: I went on an interview this last Friday that was...a frustrating waste of time. The job was a technical editor position for a microchip manufacturing firm. Now, obviously, this is a highly specialized and technical place and describing what they do might bore certain people. But when the guy in charge of MARKETING the firm sounds bored when explaining the job to me, that's not a good sign. Also the online job description and the job described at the interview were significantly different from one another and my resume no longer fit what they were looking for. The whole time, the interviewer and the HR person acted like they had no idea why I was there. YOU called ME, people.

As I was leaving this disappointing meeting, I discovered my first grey hair. If you'd asked me before that day what I thought about grey hair, I would have shrugged and said something about natural aging is beautiful and I should own it and maybe worrying about it is a little vain (but not in a judgey way). Instead, I burst into tears. I don't actually care about my hair. I'm blond enough that it wasn't really obvious and it will be a long while before the grey outnumber the blond and becomes noticeable. It was the juxtaposition of feeling very lonely and wondering if I was ever going to meet someone one and feeling ridiculously self-conscious about the fact that I'm 27 and I've never been kissed AND grey hair that made it so difficult. So, first grey hair before first kiss. That felt good.

Anyway, I've been feeling pretty down lately. Work is hard, hour by hour. There is less and less freedom in my workplace and more and more frustration. My favorite coworker resigned last week to go have her baby, which is fraught with many layers of sadness for me. I go home to an empty one bedroom apartment I can barely afford. And no one seems to want to hire me.

I don't have an ending for this post that is hopeful. I don't have it in me today. This is where I am, learning to struggle well. I'm frequently asking myself the question "If this is all there is, is God enough?" And if I'm being really honest, right now the answer is "not really." I'm getting there. I want Him to be enough. But today, I'm feeling pretty discontented. I want to believe this will get better, but there are no guarantees in life. This life I'm living is by no means awful. It's just less than I thought I would have. Which is, admittedly, a very entitled way of looking at the world. Again, there are no guarantees in this life, so I wasn't even promised this much. On my better days, I'm grateful for even this much. I'm trying to make today one of those days.


The Greatest of These Is Love

It's way past my bedtime. I should be asleep, not stewing over these words in my head. It's been a rough couple of weeks. Work is hard. Life is hard. The news headlines are hard. There are a lot of voices out there saying a lot of unkind, hateful, or thoughtless words about complex and nuanced issues. Maybe I'm just adding my voice to cacophony. Or maybe someone will hear and something will change. Maybe I will listen and learn and change.

I believe in a loving God. A big God. A righteous, faithful, good God. Sometimes, these truths are hard to hold on to. I'm struggling to believe them right this second. My head knows it and those I trust continue to speak it into my life, but the whispers are loud in my heart saying He isn't good, He won't provide, I'm too broken for His love or anyone else's, I am alone and worthless and cannot expect anything more from life than what I have right this second. These are lies, if only I can remember that.

This is not a post about depression. This is not a post about mental illness or mental health. I do not have any authority or much experience from which to speak about those subjects. This post is about love. It's about how we speak to and about one another. It's about how we speak to and about one another in the broader context of the major issues of our times.

Once upon a time, it was my job to know, study, and have an opinion about every current event and political issue raging in our world today. I have four years and 245 credits of education that claim I know a little bit about that arena. In all honesty, I know very little. I have a combined 20 months of work experience in a very small sector of a portion of the industry known as politics. The thing that drove me away from that line of work was watching as the political and media machine tore us all limb from limb and turned us into people who looked nothing like Christ, though many of us claimed to serve Him. I watched people who deeply believed that their words didn't matter, that how and when they said them didn't matter. Or, worse, that their right to say them mattered more than the person to whom they were speaking.

Here is the one thing I know: no matter what the issue is, not matter how strongly you believe you are right, and no matter how much of the law or the Constitution or even scripture is on your side, you are WRONG when you cease to see your opponent or adversary or "enemy" as anything less than a human being created in the image of a holy and eternal God.
So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them. - Genesis 1:27 ESV 
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. - 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 ESV
Pick an issue, any issue. That issue has AT LEAST two sides. Those sides are made up of people. People with hopes and dreams and families and hearts and who are made and loved by the Creator of the Universe. No matter the circumstances of their birth, the color of their skin, the choices they have made in life, or the things they believe, they are loved by God and are extended the same redemption through Christ that I do not merit but am so blessed to have received.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. - Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV
If we just stopped for just one second and considered compassion, considered grace, considered love, how would that change the conversation? The definition of love is important here, for sure. Love is not always (and is perhaps rarely) about warm, happy feelings. Love is a choice. Love is telling the truth no matter how hard it is to hear in order to bring about healing, restoration, and growth in someone's life. Love is making the choice to come back time after time and forgive and reconcile and work things out. Love is seeing a person as they truly are and committing to walk with them on the hard journey to who you know they can become. Love is being vulnerable and open enough to allow someone else to do these things for you.

But most of all, love is about seeing a person as God sees them.
For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. - 1 Samuel 16:7b ESV
In the midst of this, I feel compelled to take a tangent just to say that you, YES YOU, were created in the image and likeness of God. You are loved by Him. It doesn't matter if you know Him or serve Him or reject Him. He created you. Specifically and uniquely created you to be unlike anyone He ever created before or ever will again. You are here for a reason. Please don't ever let the lies talk you out of that. Please.

With all of this in mind, can we, for the literal love of God, speak to one another with kindness and compassion and mercy and love? Can we take a breath before speaking and think about the impact of our words? Can we imagine our audience as a real person, whole and full of thoughts and ideas and insights and inspirations, who is more than their beliefs or ideas about the particular issue we happen to be discussing in that moment? Can we pretend we are speaking to Christ himself?
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ - Matthew 25:40 NIV
And lest you imagine me over here preaching with my finger waving interrogatively (which I sincerely hope you see is the exact opposite of my heart in this moment), please know I am mostly speaking to my own broken and rebellious heart, which sees enemies in every corner and believes my ideas are right by the simple virtue of me being the one who had them. I just keep thinking there has to be a better way. A way to live without all this bitterness and anger. So this is my prayer for me, for all of us:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. - Colossians 3:12-14 NIV


Fragile Adulting

I wrote that post the other day about wanting to make some changes. And then I did nothing differently for about two weeks. Finally, last Monday, I told my Community Group that I really need some help getting healthy. I need the accountability that I used to get a WW meetings. And it was like a switch flipped. None of them have yet "held me accountable," since tonight is the first time I'll see them since I asked. But just knowing they can and will ask me has given me the last little nudge I needed to get moving.

I don't know why it's so hard for me to get mentally engaged with this kind of thing. I know people who set goals or make plans and then they just...do them. They...do the work. My brain doesn't work like that. I so dearly wish it did. It's funny, because I totally did that with school: "I'm going to take this class and get this grade and learn this thing to get into this class to get into a good college and yada yada yada." And I did and it was simple. Note I did not use the word "easy." But apparently, without the structure of school with measurable goals and quantifiable achievements, I just kind of flail around hopelessly.

Which is all very silly, because some of my goals are VERY quantifiable and measurable. I want to lose 100 pounds in the next 12-18 months. Quantifiable. Measurable. But not simple and definitely not easy. To do that, I have to get so many other things in place and in motion. But I've made some simple and some not-so-simple changes that I hope will help create the kind of environment where I can achieve some of my goals. It's all very new (less than one week, you'll remember) and fragile, but it's working so far and it all feels very adultish.

Elise's "Get Off Your Butt and DO Things" Lifestyle Change of Goals and Chicken (a lot of chicken)

  1. Bedtime is 9:30 pm
    • I've done this in the past and never stuck to it longer than a night or two, but getting up early to exercise has me tired enough to stick to it. So far, going strong.
  2. Respect the alarm clock - only one snooze allowed 
    • I'm a chronic snoozer. It's gotten pretty bad recently, bot the other day, I realized that I wasn't feeling any more rested with 40 or so more minutes of very interrupted sleep. So I'm only allowing myself one snooze. Then I'm up no matter what. 
  3. Out of bed by 6:00 am
    • I need to be to work at 8:00 am. The drive is about 10 minutes. This alarm gives me time for a 30-ish minute walk, a shower, breakfast, lunch and/or dinner prep, quiet time, and getting ready for work. When I type it all out like that, it looks exhausting and busy, but it's pretty relaxed. I've never thought of myself as a morning person (I don't hate morning, but I'm really more of a night owl), but this helps me get my mind and heart ready for what is likely to be a ridiculous/annoying/frustrating day at work.
  4. Walk 1.5-2.5 miles a day
    • I use an app called MapMyWalk. I've designed several routes around my neighborhood (varying-length loops). In the morning, I pick one and go. I'm challenging myself to go farther and faster every day, but I'm limited to 30-40 minutes. I start out in mostly dark, but it's almost always light by the time I get home. I had a plan for 20 miles in April, but then I sat on my butt for two weeks. I'm at 11.8, so it's unlikely. 
  5. Quiet time
    • My church is collectively reading through the New Testament, 12 verses at a time. There's an email with the scripture and a short devotional. I write some thoughts in a journal and pray a little. Honestly, this is something I have struggled to do my entire life. I just don't make time to read scripture like I should and I have about a MILLION journals that are blank after the first few pages. I do this first thing after my shower while eating breakfast. So far, this is working for me. I think this is making the most difference in how I deal with work shenanigans. 
  6. TV is for nights and weekends only - none after 9:00 pm
    • For me, this is the lynch pin. I had no idea how much time I was spending watching Internet TV. I realized it was a huge problem when I would turn on an episode of something while getting ready and would stay to finish it even if it made me a few minutes late for work. Now that I've banished TV to evenings and weekends, I have a lot more time. And I'm spending less of that time on my couch. Also, I've made sure my last episode ends before 9:00 pm. I use any time left over for reading, which was severely lacking in my life--I had no idea how much I missed.
  7. Meal plan - always have a plan for lunch
    • This one is two-fold: Budgetary and dietary. I eat the same breakfast every day; I have for over six months.So all of my bad food choices were coming at lunchtime. Always having a plan for lunch is the first step in making WW work for me. I've also been pretty ravenous lately (even before adding activity to my life), so I decided sandwiches and salads are not enough. Now I have a dinner plan every night that serves two--one for dinner and one for lunch the next day. I made the plan on Saturday and shopped for only what I would need for this week. My bill was much smaller than usual. Hopefully, I'll throw away a whole lot less food with this strategy. This also involves a lot of boneless, skinless chicken breast because it is cheap and low calorie. I am a not-so-inventive Disguiser of Chicken.
Honestly, so much of this looks like...responsible adulthood. Maybe these things have never been an issue for you, and it looks a little silly that I had to make these rules and list them out like this. For me, these changes are huge! Deep in my core, I am a very lazy, apathetic, gluttonous person. That sounds so ugly and down-on-myself, but hear me as I intend: without thoughtful intervention or dire, immediate consequences, I will almost always chose the thing that is worst for me, take too much of it, and let life just happen to me. That is my natural bent, but it's not who God created me to be and it is not who I want to be. So here's how I'm thoughtfully intervening. 


Character Limits Are My Kryptonite

I was trying to write a tweet today, and I couldn't fit it all into 140 characters and get my point across. I know, no one is surprised by my inability to be brief. It's nothing earth-shattering or ground-breaking, but it might come off as one of those tone-deaf "I am so profound, look at me in my leather armchair near mahogany bookshelves faux-refurbished industrial swivel chair in my chevron-bedecked living room pondering life and using my Voice to impart to you my secret wisdomous thoughts" blog posts that I kind of hate. Or something.

Growing up, my family was very free and liberal with the phrase "I love you." Not in a careless way. We truly, 100% loved each other (even when we hated each other). No matter what was going on, no matter how we behaved, no matter the occasion, we said "I love you." Sometimes, we would say it when someone LEFT THE ROOM. They were coming right back! We knew they were coming right back! And yet, we still made sure they knew it before they left our presence. It's how we say good bye on the phone: "Love you, bye!" We are a very loving family that is not afraid to show it.

This is not to say that our home was paradise or that we never fought. Sister and I shared a room until I was 12, so you can imagine the carnage. We fought like cats and dogs; we BRUISED each other frequently. There was the normal amount of raised voices and tempers and frustrations that any family has. But we never, for one second, doubted our love for one another. A lot of this comes from our faith, which is at its essence built on love. If we truly believe what we say we do, how can we act in any other manner?

Anyway, my point is not to brag about my family, although I do think they are incredible people and I'm so grateful to have been raised in a home like this. My point is, even with never going a day without hearing and saying that phrase, I was fully an adult before I became comfortable with saying it to anyone I was not related to. Maybe this is common? I'm not trying to pull the Special Snowflake card here, I swear. But I remember most of my friends saying "I love you" to boyfriends at an age younger than one would expect someone to HAVE a boyfriend, let a lone be in love (and we can argue about whether they even KNEW what love was at that age at some other time). So maybe this comes from me never having been in a romantic relationship. I've never been in love, so I've never said "I love you" in that way. I don't know.

What I do know is that, despite coming from a loving home and despite growing up in a faith defined by love, I was...embarrassed? hesitant...UNCOMFORTABLE...with telling my friends I loved them. I have no idea why. I maybe thought they would judge me? Like that word was too big and too potent to attach to a normal friendship? Maybe it was a fear that they didn't feel the same way and then we're both left in that awkward space where there's pressure to say it anyway and there's unintended rejection if it isn't said. Maybe I believed, erroneously, that that phrase is only for blood-relatives and romantic love (that would be the dumbest rule ever, if it were true).

And now, nearly 600 words later, I'll tell you that that information? Just ground work for the thought I was trying to tweet earlier. So now you can see why I couldn't fit my idea into 140 characters. THIS is that thought: One of the greatest joys, one of the best discoveries, of my adulthood so far is realizing that I CAN say "I love you" to people who are not related to me and also that I have people in my life to whom I WANT to say it and who willingly say it BACK.

Like I said, probably not earth-shattering. Probably, most of you do this without thinking. But the magic of the Internet is those "me, too!" moments, so I thought maybe I'm not the only one. I have struggled for much of my life (again, despite the loving family and my faith) with feelings of inadequacy and fear of rejection and the expectation that people do not actually want me around. Typing it out like that, it sounds so WOE IS ME, but it's not like that. It's just this stupid, insidious, ugly thought that creeps into my thoughts when I'm in a group of people or spending time in someone else's home: "They don't actually like me or want me here. They're just putting up with me. It's an obligation to them. I'd better leave before I make it awkward for them to ask me to go." Ugh. Not pretty. And not true for most situations.

So the fact that I have people in my life who are not biologically programmed to love me, people who are not only willing to spend time with me, but are willing to say out loud that they LOVE me? That's pretty much the best thing ever. I still hesitate infinitesimally before I say it sometimes. Or I allow them to say it first, just to be sure. I'm still pretty awkward with it (although I would submit that there is very little with which I am NOT awkward). But it's become so common that I almost take it for granted. That's what hit me today. How normal and average and unremarkable it seemed to me when my friend said it right before she hung up the phone yesterday. Because it actually isn't--it's really rather extraordinary. I hope you this in your life, too.


How Does One Sneeze at 25 Pounds?

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that work is a little crazy right now. More than a little crazy. Stabby, Ragey, and Resentful, to name a few of the lesser-known dwarves (spell check is telling me "dwarfs" is the correct term here and I'm just not sure I can live in a world where that's true). Hard to believe though it may be, I have once again found myself in an untenable boss/employee relationship, and at this point it's basically an Internet meme. But lamer and without cats. That's not even what this post is about.

Since 40 hours or more of my week are so frustrating and sideways, I've been allowing the rest of my life to get frustrating and sideways, too. I haven't been eating well, which means weight gain and spending too much money eating out. I haven't been resting well (intentionally taking time to do things that fill me up like reading my Bible, going for walks, or a dozen other beneficial things) and have instead been allowing myself to get mindlessly television-drunk to avoid dealing with my emotions. I've been skipping out on my Tuesday night church thing because I just don't want to do anything after another awful day at work. Recently, I've even been skipping church on Sunday, using my Christianese excuse of "sabbathing" which basically just means I wanted to sleep in, and I've experienced a noticeable decline in my attitude, perspective, and ability to deal with the misbehavior of others. Huh, stop spending time worshiping the One who gives me grace and I am suddenly unable to extend grace to others. Weird...

Anyway, I've had enough. I refuse to let this one area of my life infect the others. And I refuse to let another boss or job have this much power over me. It's going to take more energy and more deliberate planning, but I need to take control where I can find it and start living life on my own terms. Oh, good Lord, I sound like a cheesy self-help book. Next thing you know, I'm going to be talking about pampering my inner goddess and waking up to the existential power of the glowing temple of the pool of inner light within my subconscious MIND or something. Geez. Mostly, I just want to stop feeling like I hate everything.

So. I'm back at WeightWatchers. I know, same song, different verse. But so far, it's the only thing I've tried that has given me any kind of success. As you might remember, I was posting regularish updates last summer about my weight loss. Then this day happened, and I just kind of fell off the wagon. I have lots of excuses, most of which bear the names of national holidays at which we eat copious amounts of food, but it doesn't really matter. One of the major reasons I picked up and moved across the country was that I needed to change some patterns in my life (huh, another song on repeat), including my weight. Now here it is, over a year later, and I'm about 25 pounds lighter than when I got here. Twenty-five pounds is nothing to sneeze at, to be sure, but it's far from my goal. I have almost 100 pounds to lose yet, so a few weeks ago, I restarted tracking my food. I'm still not going to meetings, because that leader kind of ruined it for me for now. But if you look at the proverbial weight loss wagon, you'll see me, uh...teetering on the back edge. But I'm IN and that's what counts for now.

I don't know that I'll be posting weekly updates or not. You all saw how well I maintained that last time. Plus, who really cares? I mean, *I* do, obviously. And I'm sure that some or most of you are kind and compassionate human beings who are happy to cheer someone on as they do something good for themselves. But who really wants to read the statistics of my scale every week? Probably no one but me, and that's perfectly fine. I lost about 5 pounds in the first week (no expectations of continuing at that pace, but it was a nice surprise on Friday morning), so it's going well so far. I also have a goal to walk 20 miles in April. I'm at about 4 so far, so we'll see. But I wrote it in the bullet journal, so it's bound to happen.


And Then We Shall Make Our Awkward Escape

It's my six month "anniversary" at work today, so I am now eligible for sick days. Hooray for the common cold! Only six more months until I earn vacation days, which I think I'm going to use to go to Hawaii with Roommate. After six months, I'm still incredibly grateful for the paycheck, but am still pretty ambivalent about the job itself. Some days, I kind of hate it and want to run away. Some days, I love the work and can see a future here. Most days, I just show up, do my best, and pray that God directs my steps. 

The following is an IM exchange between me and one of my coworkers, right after we had a discussion about our boss occasionally sometimes being somewhat of a...damp...blanket about our fun, which she has very right to be. This conversation is one of the reasons I'm loving my job today, despite it easily being a day that I would want to run away from. Also, it's another piece of evidence in the long campaign to prove that I am not entirely normal. It's like I'm playing a game of Non Sequiturs, except I SWEAR all these things relate.

COWORKER: By the way, my new desk is facing directly towards the dumpster outside that says "Kill Joy" in graffiti. I'm not a fan of this.

ME: Ha!
Sucker of Joy

COWORKER: I have a sneaking suspicion of who may have painted the dumpster.

ME: Haaaaaaaa!

COWORKER: I want to run away Forest Gump style. Like just take off and see how far I can get. But I don't run very fast so probably not a good plan.

ME: I am also slow of foot


ME: We need a better plan
A getaway car
OR camel

COWORKER: I think camels are also slow.

ME: I don't know. The Middle East has done pretty well with them

COWORKER: I want a donkey.

ME: Plus, who's going to try to catch us when we're on a camel? They're going to give that thing a wide berth.
They spit, you know.
You can have a donkey. I think I'm sticking with a camel.
We'd make an interesting pair, fleeing into the night on our odd quadrupeds.

COWORKER: Tell A to have her husband come with two camels and a donkey. And two eligible bachelors.

ME: Done.
Where are we going to go?
Just pick a direction and gallop?
Or do we have a destination in mind?

COWORKER: Anywhere but the kill joy area.

ME: Tahiti?
Can donkeys swim?
Or do they get seasick? Because we COULD take a boat.

COWORKER: I don't know about donkeys, but I can't. I quit swim class when I was 6.

ME: Boat it is. And LOTS of life preservers
For you AND the donkey


ME: I am all about ass safety

COWORKER: Lol! Me, too. I protect mine at all costs.

ME: I always make sure mine is covered

COWORKER: Pretty much. I really do want to ride a donkey someday, though. And a side car. I've always wanted to ride in a side car.

ME: I just had an image of a donkey WITH a sidecar
And now I'm imagining a drunk donkey.

My brain is a scary place to be.


Everything's Coming Up Bagels

I have an apartment!

I think.

It's a whole long story and I was all set to blog about it, but when I told the ladies at Bible Study last night all the sordid details, I realized it is interesting to exactly no one, including me. It's a lot of "she said this, then I said this, then she PROMISED this, then I was disappointed" and not a lot of interesting. But the bottom line is: after thinking I was going to have to abandon this rental company and fight with them to get my money back, they managed to get me into the floor plan I wanted for the price I wanted in the gated protion of the complex like I wanted. Now, I haven't actually signed any documents, so this is really no more secure then the LAST TIME I thought I had an apartment and is actually LESS secure because they have proven themselves UNTRUSTWORTHY since that time, but I'm throwing caution to the wind and getting my hopes aaaaall up. I have no one to blame but myself if I'm disappointed. Well, and them. I will definitely blame THEM. And probably myself not at all.

After the awfulness that was Friday and the recovery period that was Saturday and Sunday, I was not really expecting this week to be spectacular. Then my boss called me in for an impromptu performance review. I say impromptu only because I did not know it was happening that day or that minute, but I DID know it was coming. It was supposed to be last week, but she had to cancel for one reason or another. Anyway, I only really had 15 minutes to fret about it before I sat down at the table and got to it, so that was actually nice. I am, after all, a champion fretter.

I had completed a self-evaluation a few weeks before and knew that she would be adding to it and critiquing it, but I really had no idea what to expect. I've never had a performance review. When I worked for either of the Wonder Twins, they just yelled or sent passive-aggressive emails every few days and it was just kind of understood how my performance was rating (poorly. ALWAYS poorly). Then I worked for my church for a while, and they were mostly just pleased that I showed up at all. I mean, I basically created that job and asked if they wouldn't mind paying me gas money to do it, prettyprettyplease, so it's not like they really had performance metrics built in.

So I go into our newly-tiny meeting room (we recently put up a wall down the center of our conference room to make more offices and now we have a sad folding table and these four giant Executive Conference Left-Over Power Chairs that barely fit in the room) and my boss is late and I'm just fretting away. She comes in, hands me a copy of my self-evaluation and a copy of her edits to the same document. And then she tells me I have one of the highest scores she's ever given a new employee.


No, this is the part where you air all the grievances you've been storing up for the last five months. All the things you SHOULD have talked to me about, but didn't have the guts or the interest, so you just let it fester. This is when you really get to pull that bait-and-switch maneuver my other bosses were so fond of. This is where you yell and I cry and you pat yourself on the back for being a excellent molder the young minds of the future of tomorrow.

Instead, you say that you LIKE me? That you're very glad you hired me? That you're impressed by my abilities and you value my constructive DISAGREEMENT because it makes you better at YOUR job?

This must be black magic.

Seriously, guys. I have no idea. I went in with dread in the pit of my stomach. I expected some dark secret festering rage to smack me in the face. I had NO REASON to expect this (in fact, when she had announced that reviews were coming, I did a nervous chuckle and not-actually-jokingly asked, "Do I have anything to worry about?" and her answer was "No." But that's part of the tradecraft). Everything has been going relatively swimmingly, so I shouldn't expect the worst. But expect it, I did. I guess some of the old wounds still haven't healed, although I think this meeting went a long way to helping them.

She showed me places where I can improve and they were all things I agreed with--even though I totally had to bite my tongue to keep from getting defensive about them because that's ALSO what I'm used to in meetings like this. She showed me places where she was more confident in my abilities than I had been on my review. The overall score she gave me was higher than the score I gave myself. This is partly due to it being on a scale of 0-4 and I didn't know we were ALLOWED to use FRACTIONS, but I still would have probably given myself the same score because SCREW FRACTIONS.

Also, if you gave yourself a 1 or a 4, you were supposed to provide documentation to support it and the only thing I gave myself a 4 on was a statement that said something to the effect of "Is nice to others" and I AM nice to others. Really REALLY nice (at least out loud) and I go out of my way to BE nice, but how exactly do you document that? Anyway, she only gave me a 3 on that because while I AM nice to others and probably even nicer than many on staff, all of the ways I am nice are basically expected of all staff members and a 4 is designated "EXCEEDS expectations" and since we're all Christians and are EXPECTED to be like JESUS, ain't none of us getting fours on that one. Apparently.

Anyway, this is all to say that yesterday was a good day for me. I got an apartment and not only did my boss NOT yell at me (the opposite being a pretty standard Monday in my experience), but she said some very NICE and CONSTRUCTIVE and UPLIFTING things to me. So Monday totally kicked Friday's butt. And by kicked its butt, I mean Monday made a shank out of all the happy things that happened that day and STABBED Friday in its black little heart until it DIED. Wow, that, uh, got a little dark. Sorry. In my defense, Friday was a really awful day.

So I am going to tempt the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing* and leave the title as it is, even though the last time I used that phrase, I had an interview get cancelled and when we finally rescheduled it, I was LATE to it and did not get the job and also other bad things happened. And even though leaving the title as is kind of giving me the heebie-jeebies (which I want noted for the record, which can be used as a mitigating factor in case of an appearance said wrath of the whatever).