Two Days Made All The Difference

I don't know if I was going through a mid-life crisis at 35 or what. All I knew was that I was miserable. I was lost. I felt as if my life had absolutely no purpose. I hated my job. I didn't have a signifcant other. I felt fat all the time. I had no idea who I wanted to be or what I wanted to do with my pitiful little life.

I was working in the city but the traffic, wear and tear on my car, low pay and constant office politics got the best of me. A friend of mine told me of an opening position where she worked that was only a few miles from home, more money and maybe, just maybe, an opportunity for growth. I got the job and within a week, I knew I made a terrible mistake. My boss was awful. The workload was incredible. The people in the office were just a bunch of white colllared snobs. I tried to be personable and pleasant, but it was obvious that I didn't fit in. Getting up and going to work every day was my own personal Hell.

I worked there for six long months and irresponsibly resigned without having another job to fall back on. At the time, I was living with my mother so luckily I had a roof over my head but I knew it wasn't fair to her to live there and not bring in any sort of income. I needed a change. A big one. But what was I going to do? I had no idea.

I had a small financial cushion in the bank so I could still help with the bills, pay my car payment and keep up with my car's insurance premiums, but I knew the money wasn't going to last forever. A few months at best.

I started to become depressed. Junk food became my best friend and because of that new friendship, I started to feel even fatter. I stopped taking care of myself and would go a couple of days without combing my hair or putting on make-up. I had nothing to look forward to and I felt like a considerable failure. I stayed up all hours of the night and started to sleep most of the day.

I would send out resumes here and there, but I wasn't really getting much response from prospective employers. My financial cushion was getting smaller and smaller so I was getting more worried and more depressed.

One Monday morning, I balanced my check book and tried to figure out how much longer I could live on my savings. It wasn't looking good at all. I called where I had my car loan and deferred some payments just to give myself more time to find another job.

Having to deal with my lack of money just made me more depressed and tired and I was about to lay down for my late morning nap just as my phone rang. It was a woman calling to set up an interview for one of the resumes I had sent the week before for an administrative assistant. "I know this is short notice but, can we meet tomorrow at 1:00?" she said. I responded, "Absolutely. I'll see you then" all the while trying to sound as non-depressed as possible.

Tuesday came and I donned my best business suit, put on my panty hose and high heels and pinned my long, thick hair into a french twist. I already thought that since the interview was at 1:00, I could probably be back by 2:30 and could squeeze a nap in before dinner. I pulled up at the building, checked my lipstick, powdered my nose and went inside.

The ad in the paper said it was an administrative assistant position at an assited living facility, not far from where I lived with my mother and that was a big plus. The facility itself was beautiful. I had a lot of secretarial experience but I also had a lot of experience with working with the elderly so I thought that I would be a good fit.

I went in and one of the aids greeted me and explained that Tracy, the woman I was meeting, was running a little late and she offered to give me a tour of the facility. It was a very impressive place. The tenants all looked happy, the place was very clean with a big fire place in the middle of a large living area and delicious aromas coming from the kitchen.

After the tour, I was instructed by my tour guide to have a seat in the conference room and that Tracy should be arriving any minute.

When my interviewer arrived, she was probably only 4'10 tall and a whirlwind of movement. She blew into the conference room after repeatedly apologizing for making me wait. I went to stand but she insisted that I keep seated, while she threw her briefcase on the table and started to get paperwork out. Her movements and speech were quick, but she made me feel comfortable and at ease at the same time. She had a pleasant smile and seemed like a happy person.

One of the first things she said to me was "I owe you an apology. The ad in the paper was worded wrong. The ad said that this position was that of administrative assistant but that wasn't correct. This is the position of Associate Program Director which is a management position". My heart sank.

I've only ever been a clerk or secretary. Never, ever had I been in management. I thought to myself, 'Well, this is just great. What a waste of panty hose! I'm just a secretary. I'll never get this job'. She went on to explain the duties of the position and although it sounded wonderful, I really felt it was over my experience's head.

I didn't have the usual 'I hope I get this job' feeling. I wasn't going to get it in a million years so I just acted like myself. We laughed and joked about several different things. We were both very comfortable being in each other's company. In the back of my mind I knew I was never going to see or hear from her again.

The interview was over and all of a sudden I became a little self-conscious because this petite woman had never seen me stand up. I'm a little over 5'8 and with my big high heels on and my long hair piled on top of my head, I knew I was close to 6 feet tall. In a very unprofessional and teasing manner I said to her "Hey, you're just a little thing and you haven't seen me stand up yet so I just wanted to warn you.....I got my big girl shoes on today". She smiled and when I stood and she arched her neck to look up at me, we both started to laugh.

I couldn't wait to get out of there, take those high heels off and rip off those panty hose. I had a nap in my future.

The next day, as I was about to lay down my phone rang. It was the little lady from the day before calling. I was shocked but I thought, I must've dropped something in the parking lot or something. Why else would she be calling? "Do you have any questions that you maybe forgot to ask me yesterday?" she said. I felt like I was put on the spot so I said the first thing that came to my mind "Oh, does the position have any benefits?" not even remembering whether or not we had talked about benefits. She explained briefly about the benefits and then said "Joyce, I'd like to offer you the position". Again, unprofessionally and in a somewhat silly manner I said "Oh yeah! Well, I'd like to take it!". We shared another laugh.

"When can you start?" Tracy said, with a smile I could almost hear through the phone. "I can start tomorrow", I quickly replied. She said that I could meet her at 7:30 the following morning and my heart was racing. I couldn't believe it. I got the job and I was in management! My mother was so thrilled that she went right out and bought me a beautiful, brown leather briefcase for my new "career" as an Associate Program Director.

I met Tracy as instructed, she got in my car and we drove to another one of the company's facilities that was about 15 miles away. The company had facilities in 17 states, 9 being in the state of Pennsylvania.

We entered the building and it was almost a copy cat version of the building that I had my interview. Tracy introduced me around and I met the administrator, a few of the workers and several of the tenants. After about 15 minutes, one of the workers needed Tracy and I was left in the office alone. The phone rang and since I was the only one there, I picked it up and answered it. The person on the other end was looking for Tracy, so I put them on hold and went to find her. She thanked me and zipped past me to return to the office and get her call.

I suppose because I was new or because I was dressed in my finest suit, one of the employees got the immediate impression that I was a much more important person to the company than I really was. I was an employee for about 30 minutes, so of course I knew absolutely nothing. But this employee stopped me in the hall and gave me her resume. "My name is Ellen and I wanted you to see my current resume. You see, I just went back to school and got my degree so I was wondering if there was anything you could for me....I mean, I really like it here and I'm anxious to move if you could please just hold on to my resume and if you hear of any openings or anything that you think I might be qualified for...." she beamed at me. I was caught so off guard by her reaction toward me, I was absolutely speechless. I just stood there, nodding and trying to smile all the while thinking to myself "Is this really happening? Does she think I'm some sort of big shot or what? She's actually sucking up to me". I carried Ellen's resume in my briefcase the whole time I worked for that company.

I'll be honest, it did feel good. I was finally in a position where people listened to what I had to say. People cared how I felt about them. It was very strange and a total change from what I was used to. I would go into one of our facilities and there were staff that would actually be nervous when they would see me. I didn't have much power at all, I was just in mid-management, but most of the employees didn't realize that.

Sadly, my career there only lasted a couple of years because there was a corporate restructure and my position, being that of mid-management, got cut.

That was years ago. Now, my life is completely different. I was proud of myself though. Very proud of myself. I went from being almost out of money and within two days, I had someone showing me their resume thinking I was a mover and shaker in the company and hoping I could promote them. What a difference two days can make. I guess it wasn't a waste of panty hose afterall.

joyceluvsjames joyceluvsjames
46-50, F
2 Responses Nov 30, 2012

Joyce you have always been a mover and a shaker in my book. From day one I knew you were a very fun loving and talented individual, pantyhose or not!

What a great post. An inspiration to a lot of people who are out of work this year.
It is nice to hear that things turned around for you, and sends the message loud and clear to all of those who want to listen, "Never give up hope :-)"
Thank you for sharing your story.