Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lemons to Lemonade

In the past couple of weeks I've been accused of being unrealistic about the state of the world. Maybe. Or maybe I am just optimistic in the strength, imagination, and determination of the human spirit.

I wasn't tagged for this particular meme, but I thought it would be fun to share my own lemon to lemonade experience.

When I was 20 years old I started working for a local city government. I had taken the job after working for a State agency for 4 years. Yes, I started working for the State at the age of 16. When I left I was a secretary and in my youth and ego I wanted something more prestigious.

The city job was billed as a sort of Office Manager and Assistant to a Director. It sounded perfect for me - organizing, keeping track of travel and expenses, running meetings. I love that kind of stuff.

Unfortunately the job turned out to be less Manager and more Assistant. And the Director was a world class git.

In case you weren't aware, I am not prone to kissing butt. I don't care if you're the Queen of England. You're still a human being and I am not going to alter my personality to please you. Granted, I've mellowed out slightly since I was 20. I do bite my sarcastic sense of humor back much more now. Back then I didn't have a very good filter for my tongue. :) This guy thought his poo didn't stink and expected quite a bit of butt kissing. So we definitely didn't get along.

Plus, 10 years ago I was not really aware of how my Depression worked and affected me. Nor did I have any idea that I'd been diagnosed bipolar. No clue. So some of my behavior was probably a little ... off.

After 9 months I was being written up for taking too many sick days. Now, my sick days were mine. There were no rules as to how many I could take or that I had to bank any of them. Sure I took too many and I should have fought harder through my depression like I do now. I rarely take a sick day just because I don't want to face the world nowadays.

Then on Valentine's Day 2000, nearly a year after I took the position that was boring me to tears, I was called into my manager's office (I was managed by a different person than I supported) and fired. Yes, fired. I'd never failed anything in my short life to that point. Okay...well I failed shop class in the 8th grade. Otherwise I was an overachiever.

You can imagine how devastated I was as I walked back into my office (oh yeah, everyone had their very own offices...I do miss that) and packed up my things. I fought to not cry but it didn't work.

This was a very traumatic and turbulent time in my life. I had broken up with my long time boyfriend (5 years) the summer before, moved apartments twice, and had just started dating this really handsome State Trooper (now my sweet hubby), and was living without a roommate and had rent to pay. I was working my way through school, paying my own tuition and taking classes at night and on the weekends (I soon started taking online courses from WSU).

And then to get FIRED. First place I went was back to the State agency I had left barely a year ago. I don't think the HR lady ever really liked me so my odds were slim and there were no openings at that time for me.

So I trudged home and landed at my then boyfriend's apartment. I sulked for the rest of the day. Ate quite a bit of chocolate and some ice cream. Cried a lot on the couch. For one day.

The next day I hopped online and wasted no time in applying for positions around the area, including a larger city 25 miles away. I would never in a gazillion years considered leaving my City job and applying for a new job so far away. I wasn't happy in my City job but I hadn't even once thought about leaving.

On February 16, just two days after being fired, I got a call from an HR person at this company (Company A) in 25 miles away city. Could I come in right away for an interview?

Um...YES! Just tell me when and where and I'll be there. So I got set up for the interview and actually had another interview with Company B that same day in the afternoon. (I didn't waste any time in trying to become re-employed.) While waiting at the second interview I got a call to ask if I could come BACK to Company A in a week for another interview. Um...yes please. Needless to say I was a bit distracted during the interview at Company B.

Let me tell you, Company A's interview process is BRUTAL. I was only interviewing for a project assistant type role - sort of a cross between an administrative assistant and project manager. It's fairly low on the totem pole. And even for that role I had FIVE interviews the second time around. The first interview was a proficiency exam and HR manager interview. The second one started with the HR manager. Then one with the supervisor. One with a panel of the other assistants who I would be working with (these are the ones you really need to impress). And finally one with each of the managers I might have been supporting (come to find out later they were hiring for two positions at once and weren't sure who would work with who).

Less than one week after this second round I was hired. =) And eight years later here I am...in a new role (a little higher up) but in the same company. If I hadn't gotten fired from the City I would never have found myself here. It is one of the best companies in the entire country. And I'm not just saying that. We're actually ranked ... something like the 11th (or there abouts) best small to medium company in Fortune magazine.

I believe that everything happens for a reason - even the bad stuff. Even the really bad stuff. From the time I was fired I was out of work for 3 weeks. It was devestating and embarrassing. But it happened for a very important reason. I always think we should look for the lemonade when life hands us a lemon.

Now to pass on the meme.

The Rules

LIFE GAVE ME SOME LEMONS - IT’S OK, I MADE DELICIOUS LEMONADE - MEME

Rules:
* Copy and paste these rules to your blog post.
* Link back to person who tagged you.
* Write about an incident in your life you first thought was really bad, but ended up being a blessing.
* Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
* Let each person you tagged know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
(* And if you want to - link back to this
original Lemonade Meme post too.)

I’m going to tag:

Do you have a Lemonade Moment you'd like to share? You can leave a comment and tell us about it, or if you're a blogger, link back here or to the original meme post and join the fun!

10 comments:

Roxy said...

That was a great anecdote. I'm glad you're happy at your company!

Melissa said...

That really is an amazing story. I'll have to think for a while to see if I have a lemons to lemonade story. I've actually been so fortunate in my life that I can't even think of any lemons. :)

jennsquared said...

That's awesome! I'm so glad you like the company you work for - it's almost essential that you do, otherwise your life would be so miserable, of course, you don't need me to tell you. David always says to me - it will all work out in the end. And it's true, it does.

Bunny B said...

Awesome!! Glad you're happy now :)

Daisy said...

What a great story! Things like that make me believe, a little bit, in fate and things that are meant to be. I am glad that you have such a great job now.

Thanks for tagging me. I will have to think my hardest to see if I have a good story. I am only Four.

blueviolet said...

I'm a firm believer that there's a reason for everything. We may not know what the reason is at the time but in the future we see why things happened when they did. I'm happy for you!

Randall said...

Great story, welcome to the memeosphere. All cool stories are welcome, and this was a cool one.

I've always told anyone who'll listen "Every job is a stepping-stone to a better job" and your story proved that.

Thanks for the link too.

Jillian said...

OOooo... so THAT'S what "Lemons to Lemonade" is! When I first saw the meme title I was like, "Why do people care how I make lemonade?"

Anyways, awesome story. I, too, believe everything happens for a reason.

Normally I don't do memes, but I will complete this one. There is nothing like some inspiration!

Actually... thanks for thinking of me. :-D

Jillian said...

Woot! Meme complete!!!! :-D

gigibelts said...

Ok I didn't ignore your tag. This is the first day in I can't remember how long that I'm sitting at my own desk on my own computer. You can read about my lemonade on my page.