I made a decision a few years ago to leave my medical transcription job and return to corporate America. The reasons for doing so were many: better pay, fewer telemarking calls, more contact with people face to face, a better opportunity, and healthcare benefits. My husband wants to cut back on his job working retail so we can spend Saturdays together—something we haven’t been able to do in years. He wants to do more spiritual direction, and we want to have a better life.
This transition started off with, obviously, looking for a job. After months of no success, the real transition began with a week-and-a-half temporary staffing assignment that turned into 5 months. Needless to say, this necessitated severing my ties to my transcription job. As a result of this assignment, I learned that I could get back into corporate America again and learn complex tasks. However, this first assignment didn’t become permanent, as I thought it might, for a variety of reasons.
I had assignments off and on for most of 2 years, some of which I liked better than others. In one assignment, I ended up getting stuck in the crosshairs of a personality clash between my supervisor and his manager. When you’re in a situation where they disagree on something fundamental in your job, it’s a losing battle.
On one of the assignments I had, I struggled to learn the ins and outs of an accounting clerk position from an 80-year-old woman who wasn’t always very patient. I had never had that type of position before, but I took it because it was work, and you never know. I had to learn a different type of business besides. This work was part-time and located 20 minutes from our home. The other employees were very kind to me, but I had to keep job hunting because it was obvious I‘d never get healthcare benefits because it would never turn into full-time work, and we were struggling financially on my part-time income. We were hoping things would work out somehow, and it broke my heart to have to leave.
Even before I officially broke away from my transcription job, there were interviews, resume rewrites, and a huge learning curve in the processes and mindsets that had changed since I last job hunted. Then there was wondering how potential employers would perceive me. My hair had started to turn white. While my face wasn’t wrinkled, and other than having ‘middle-aged spread,’ I looked pretty good, would they think I was older than the person they wanted to hire? How did I feel about the person staring back at me in the mirror? Did my features remind me too much of a relative I didn’t particularly like? I knew I had a lot of skills to offer, but which way was best to direct them? What did I really want to do? What was reasonable and possible? What industry or type of work culture would I do best in?
Anyone who knows me very well knows I detest office politics. How would I deal with that? In lots of ways, I feel too old mentally for all that garbage. In the real world, though, I’d have to deal with it, somehow.
There were so many good interviews, and sometimes I felt so close to getting a job, and then the opportunity just seemed to slip away. I wondered many things: Was the job market really that tough? Was I considered too old? Was there something else about me they didn’t like? Was the job itself or culture just not a good fit? It was frustrating, depressing, and it took a toll on my self-esteem. It was lonely not being part of a work family. It was demoralizing hearing of so many others finding a job so quickly. Why not me? Where was my job? Was something holding me back? Much as I didn’t want to, I decided to color my hair to appear younger. Some would maybe call it vanity. I humbled myself as to the real possibility of age discrimination and colored my hair.
Then, I started a temp-to-perm job, finally! Five weeks later, the client told my staffing agency I was being let go because I wasn’t learning fast enough. I was angry. I had done whatever the client had asked me to do. They weren’t in a hurry to train me, which was puzzling. They changed my job duties from fewer phone calls to more paperwork. Feedback on the customer orders I keyed in simply laid on their desk for most of the day. And–of all things–they asked permission to cuss in front of me, which I didn’t give them by the way. Unbelievable!
Reflecting back on my experiences, a lot of jobs I had performed or had interviewed for wouldn’t have been a happy situation for me long-term. To say I soul searched and was challenged to trust the Lord was an understatement. Presently, I’m in a job where I’ve reacquainted myself with the newest skills to be an effective administrative assistant. I’ve been here since the second week of June. My boss is a perfectionist but not a micromanager. She enjoys a good laugh, which helps to make a sometimes stressful job more pleasant. She’s fair and relatively kind. She’s patient, which helps me learn patience. I feel I’m really close to becoming a permanent employee, but I’m really not taking anything for granted, I hope anyway.
Finding my work calling and work home has been an arduous journey, and I will rejoice when it’s over and I can settle into a work routine again. After additional reflection, I can see where the skills and experiences I’ve gained on these assignments have prepared me for the job I now have. Was this journey fun? A lot of times it wasn’t; sometimes it was. Was it worth it? It seems so. I’m happier workwise than I’ve been in a long time. God willing, I will soon be able to claim this company as my work home and the people as my work family. (NOTE: I got the job! See the subsequent blog post.)
Copyright © 2015 by Theresa M. Williams