Start and stop. And, start again.

I received a Happy One-Year Anniversary card from HR today.

It’s my last day of work though.

I’m not going anywhere either.

I’m very fortunate to be able to continue at my current employer with a new research study.

It all happened just “in the nick of time.”

I had started to research how to file for unemployment.

I was going to have to be covered under my mom’s medical insurance plan (for two months until I turn 26).

I booked a trip to Europe next month.

I was nervous, uncertain of my plans to just go on a vacation and spend money when I would not be making any.

I was scared to have to be unemployed.

I’m starting again though.

I begin my new job Monday.

It’s exciting.

I still get to take my trip, too!

I finally feel like I can look forward to my trip.

I can actually start planning and research places to visit — I leave in eight days!

I feel lucky.

I’m thankful for the people who supported me, stuck up for me.

I will be able to cover my own insurance.

I’m relieved.

I started and am stopping. I’m starting again.

I’m really thankful for that.


If your job is your life, I just got myself a new life

I kind of feel like an imposter — at my job.

Example: I wore a lab coat for the first time the other day — the first time ever.

“Didn’t you wear a lab coat in high school science?” Nope, my school didn’t have that. “What about in chemistry?” Nope, the only science I ever took in college was astronomy.

I work at a hospital now in clinical research. On my first day, about two weeks ago, I felt like a walk through the cafeteria was reminiscent of a scene from “Scrubs.” I updated my LinkedIn profile a few days ago and felt slightly uncomfortable changing my industry from “newspapers” to “hospital and health care.” Not a bad uncomfortable, it’s just new, different. (Today I had one of my best workdays in my history of workdays!)

The two people before me in the position I am taking both left to go to medical school — to become doctors. I have had multiple people at the hospital ask upon meeting me if med school is in my future. My response is always a small chuckle with “I don’t think so.” In my head I’m thinking, “Me? Med school?? BAH HA HA HA!” They don’t know I am sort of scared of needles. They don’t know I don’t like the sight of blood. They don’t know I currently do not have a primary care doctor and haven’t gotten a physical since I was in high school. (Don’t worry though, I recently got a copy of my immunization history and I am all up-to-date with all my shots).

I may have to learn how to draw blood for my job as a research assistant sometime in the future — we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

I wonder if this is what people feel like when they “start over.” Who knows though, maybe in a few years’ time, I’ll be talking about medical school, too. (Those who know me well are probably rolling their eyes and trying not to laugh). One research coordinator at the hospital, who will actually be attending med school at Harvard, said I would make a “good doctor” because I have a nice smile. If only a “nice smile” is what it took …

For now, I’ll just work on being comfortable watching people get their blood drawn.


Reflections of a possible (semi)-retired journalist

The 123 area code blinked multiple times at me. Who is calling me? Why are they calling me?

It was five days after I had left my job as a reporter for a weekly community newspaper. And the “123” area code (real number changed, obviously,) startled me. It was different from my city area code and I just had a feeling it was someone calling me about something related to my old job.

I was done though. I submitted my last pay roll form. My last stories had gone to press a week ago and the paper was already out. There’s nothing I can do for them anymore. I ignored the call. I let it ring and go to voice mail — after all, I was out to lunch with a friend so it would be rude to answer. Even if it was someone I knew, I would not have answered it. The people in front of me always have my undivided attention, always.

The red light lit on my phone. Now I had a voice mail from the mystery person.

I put off listening to the message the rest of the day, worried that it was someone complaining about one of my last stories. He didn’t like it. She thinks I have a fact wrong. They want me to run a correction. Different scenarios started building in my head.

When I arrived home later, I listened to the message.

It wasn’t bad at all.

One of the last stories I wrote was about how a grandfather started a scholarship fund for local kids to support them in the sport of hockey. His young grandson died in a riptide accident a few years ago and he did it to keep his grandson’s love for hockey alive and in memory of the young man. The mystery caller was the grandfather calling to thank me for the story, adding that he had made a lot of good connections with people wanting to help and donate because of it.

I just had to call back. I didn’t have to call back though, but I wanted to.

I told him I received the message and basically thanked him for thanking me.

Since “retiring” from reporting, in two separate incidents, friends have referred to me as “the journalist.” Maybe its in my mannerisms, in the way I act. I will always be “the journalist” of the group.

But, I know that the real reason I am proud of what I did as a journalist was to get those stories out there. To teach others about something, hopefully. To help some heal. To inform others. I’ve always wanted to do meaningful work. I think that most — not all, but most — of what I did during my time as a journalist was. Will I ever return to it?

I don’t know. As we all know, journalism is a tough world out there.

I learned how to take notes on anything — Kleenex boxes in the car, for example. I learned how to be “available” at all times of the day. I learned how to survive an entire work day on a granola bar and water.

I learned so much — about budgets, llamas, homelessness, road engineering, human interaction, just to name a few — from the many people I met. It’s those people. I’ll miss them.

For someone who claims she doesn’t like talking to strangers in “real life,” I guess I did a pretty good job.

A Valentine’s Day rejection isn’t as bad as you think

When I didn’t hear back from the company last week — when they said at the interview that I would hear back by Friday — I knew I didn’t get the job.

But as is all rejection, it isn’t final until you get that verbal “I’m breaking up with you” or pink slip in your inbox. I called them at 2 p.m. Friday and left a voicemail. No word by the end of the day, not even an email. Monday I was so busy at work that I didn’t get a chance to make another phone call. Still no email in my inbox from them.

Then Tuesday — Valentine’s Day — came and I was going to give them a final ring. To ask them why they have been avoiding me, or just to confirm that they had offered the position to someone else. They beat me to the punch. In my inbox mid-day was an email that included the sentence, “While your qualifications are certainly impressive, we have decided to pursue other candidates for the position.”

Rejected, yet again.

I want to know why, “I am not good enough.” I want to know why these other people are “better candidates.” I think I already know the answer though since the hiring manager alluded to me being overqualified for the position during the in-person interview. In this economy though, how can anyone be considered overqualified? Clearly, other places tell me I do not have enough experience so why should having too much experience be a negative aspect?

I just have too much love to share, I suppose.

Unlike the time last week I bawled my eyes out after finding out I would not be getting an interview at a place I for sure thought I would, I didn’t shed a tear this time.

I kind of didn’t have the energy to do all of that. To leave my office, cry in my car, become “normal” and presentable again, and go back to work. It’s too much effort. Plus, I already got my run for the day in before I had received the rejection email.

That evening I went to see “The Vow” at the movie theater. I figured, already rejected once for the day, I don’t really care if people see me alone here on V-Day. At this point, I’m more ashamed to tell family, friends, colleagues and mentors — time and time again — that I did not get hired by XYZ than the fact that I don’t have a date for Valentine’s Day. I could care less about that.

Also, because I was alone, I was able to snag a good middle seat even though I arrived five minutes late. And, I wasn’t alone. I saw one or two ladies by themselves — and even a man who was there by himself to watch a lukewarm romcom. I thought for sure his young military wife must be in the bathroom but even when the movie ended, he headed out of the theater alone.

I’m really tired. And, even though I feel like I’m alone in this job search, I know I’m not alone.

I hope my fellow job seekers had just a good Valentine’s Day as I did — or maybe even better.

And we’ve come full circle

I’ve been at my job for a year-and-a-half, according to LinkedIn. Does it annoy anyone else that LinkedIn actually makes your time at a job a month more than it actually is?

As of yesterday, I actually have been at my job for exactly one year and five months.

On my first day on the job — as a reporter for a weekly newspaper for those of you just joining us — I worked more than eight hours and ended the night at a gun club. There was a lawsuit that had to do with the group that had just been filed that day.

Yesterday, on the one-year-five-month anniversary of my job, that case has finally concluded. The judge gave her final ruling and signed the order yesterday.

The story I have had to follow for one year and five months is finally over. But, is news ever really over? No. There will always be more follows.










And, that there above is how I look after one year and five months at this job. Yes, those are circles under my eyes. Yes, that is a look of “well, that’s that.” Yes, I am taking a photo at work because hardly anyone else bothers to show up at the office on Fridays. All the people who were part of the team here when I started are no longer here for various reasons, all sort of doing with the same underlying reason.

Now, I just have the police scanner — that black box behind me in the photo — to keep me company.

That police scanner will sure be lonely once I leave.