Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Easing back into things

It's now been a week since my little fall down the stairs.  I wish I could say I am totally back to normal, but unfortunately I cannot.  My back is still sore, and simple things like sitting in a chair, standing over a table and reaching for things have it complaining in the most unpleasant way.  But since I can't just sit around all day, I am slowly getting a few projects done. 

Before I start catching you up on what I managed to do the last week, I want to write a little about my change is focus this year.  In earlier posts I told you that I was taking the second semester of my Arts Metals class.  You may have noticed that I haven't said a word about the class since the end of January and my posting about Lost Wax Casting.  This is due to an interesting chain of events that has totally changed my focus this semester.

Right after that last post about my class, I was contacted by Continental Airlines about interviewing for a job with their food services.  I was laid off from Continental in July of 2009, and have missed my flight benefits so much I have been trying for months to figure out a way to get back into the company.  Back in September I applied for the position of Transporation Agent.  Since I never heard back from them, I assumed that I didn't make the cut.  However, it appears they were just a little slow in getting through the hiring process.

When I was first contacted about the interview, I had alarms going off in my head about whether the position would work with my class and church volunteer schedules as well as an upcoming trip I have planned with my in-laws.  But I decided I needed to go check it out.  

As I sat in the room and listened to the description of the job and the inflexibility of schedule that would be required for the first six months, the alarms I heard earlier started going off again.  At the end of the discussion, the HR rep told us that if we could not make our schedule meet with those requirements we could bow out of the interview and reapply at a better time.  I sat in my chair and debated whether or not I should drop out of the process, but in the end I decided to stick with it because I wasn't going to lose anything by continuing.

The next step in the process was a tour of the facility.  They broke us up into groups according to the position we applied for.  To be totally honest, when I got the invitation to be interviewed I had to look at my application history to see which job I had applied for--how funny is that?  Once they started dividing us into groups, I was no longer sure which job I was being considered for.   But since I didn't want to look stupid, I picked the one I thought was right and went along with that group.  They took us into the refridgerated warehouse and we watched different groups do their assigned jobs.  Most employees worked alone in an area doing assembly line type work.  

As I was led from area to area, an interesting thing happened.  I was struck by the fact that there was absolutely no interaction with customers, and there seemed to be very little interaction with other employees.  This realization made me start to feel a little sad.  I also had one thought that kept popping into my head--"There is absolutely no way I can work in here 40 hours a week".   So at the end of the tour when the HR rep asked if anyone had changed their mind about continuing, I raised my hand, signed out and left the facility--before I even had an interview.

The day seemed like a total bust, however I learned a couple of interesting things.  I learned that the interaction with customers was a huge part of what I loved about my job with Continental.   I learned that I will not do ANY job just to have flight benefits.  (I'm still not sure if I would have been willing to suffer through this job if it had been part time instead of full time, but since all of their positions are full time that is totally a moot point). 

The other interesting thing I learned was that I wasn't that upset about the thought that I might have to drop my arts metals class.  In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I decided it might be a good thing to do.   This semester was all about learning how to cast, which would have been very cool.  However it is a skill that I would not be able to do at home without a serious investment in equipment.  And to be perfectly honest, I didn't see that ever happening. 

I also started thinking about other things I wanted to do this year, which would be hampered by my being in school twice a week.  And I kept feeling like it would be better for me to be more flexible with my schedule this sememster.  I'm not sure what that feeling is all about, but I do know that the more I thought about it, the more it felt right to withdraw from class.  So that is what I did.

In  the end my interview with Continental did not get me my flight benefits back.  But I listened to the promptings that came from the experience and  gained a new perspective on what I should be focusing on right now.  I still feel like there is something coming that makes the decision to be more flexible a good one for me.  Maybe that something was just the tumble I took last week, or maybe it's something still to come.  But that really doesn't matter to me.  What matters is that I really feel good about the decision I made and I am totally loving not going to school twice a week.  Instead I am using my time to focus on other things, including working on art projects of my choosing.  

I'll continue to share those projects and what I am doing with my free time here. 

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