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Friday, June 02, 2006

The Winds of Change Can Blow Hard Enough to MakeYour Eyes Tear

I am not good with Change. I cried every. single. day. my freshman year of college and was so homesick that I took the next year off. I eventually went back, and was fine. But when it came time for lawschool, I just continued on at the same University and lived with a roommate from college. I would say that I am worse than average with change. I am a change crier.

So me and change...yeah, not so much. It's always been hard, but what are you going to do? It's inevitable right?

When I changed jobs the last time, I cried for two months that I hated it. Eventually, I realized that I didn't hate it, I hated the newness of it. So this time around I promised myself to keep in perspective that even though starting a new job is tough, it's just the starting part that sucks. To that end, on Tuesday I began my new adventure.

And the tears, they wanted to come, but I held them back. On day one, minute 5, I was told that my secretary resigned. Okaaaaaaayyyy...I can deal with it. They'll get me another secretary. No biggie. Then the person in charge of orienting me to the computer and various timekeeping/billing programs had no idea how to do any of it because "I'm not an attorney". So I was floundering around while people were giving me new assignments because I couldn't even log onto the computer. All little administrative things that are hard at any job. Figuring out where the bathroom is, finding the printer, learning to work the copy machine. Everyone's been there.

And I kept the tears at bay.


On Tuesday, the managing partner sent around an email informing everyone that they were throwing me a "welcome" lunch at an upscale Irish Pub in the city. The email said "Please join us in welcoming Newlywife to the firm! We will be celebrating at Irish Pub on Friday at 12:00 sharp!" First, oh shit, holy crap. I am not good in groups. As outgoing and totally chatty as I am, in groups I am shy's twin sister. I clam up. I hate it. So the lunch was not really my idea of fun. But true to my promise, I was going to really make an effort not to let the newness of the job get to me, and to be open...force myself not to be shy...and get to know these people.

Tears, still sealed back.

Friday 12:00 - I am in my office. I see a few associate attorneys walk by. I make eye contact. They don't say anything. Alright. I check the email, no, I have the right day and time. Well, often with a big group, by the time you get everyone together, it takes a while so...I'll just wait for someone to stop by.

Friday 12:02 - Email managing partner letting her know I am ready whenever, just buzz me.

Friday 12:06 - No email, no one has come to get me.

Friday 12:10 - Take a loop around office and don't really see attorneys around.

Friday 12:12 - Get back to my office and start to panic. What if no one shows up to my lunch, what if no one is going? What if they all forgot?!!!

Friday 12:12 and 30 seconds - Check email to see if managing partner has returned my email.

Friday 12:15 - Still winning the battle with the tears. The sweat however, is an entirely different story.

Friday 12:25 - My office phone rings. It is the managing partner asking where I am. They are all there and waiting for me.

Friday 12:26 - Officially give up my crying pledge and begin to cry.

Friday 12:27 - Immediately stop crying because, Oh my God, they are all waiting for me and I have to RUN FIVE BLOCKS TO THE PUB! IN HEELS!

What the Fuck (pardon the language but clearly I am really uspet and frankly I think it deserves an F-bomb, but I digress)?

So just so we all have this straight, myself included, these people organized a lunch for me, and then no one stopped by my office to get me when they were leaving for it? They all walked there together, and waited for 25 minutes before calling me because they thought I would meander over myself? What the FUCK?

And when I got there, they acted annoyed that I had kept them waiting. No one apologized for not getting me, they just kept asking "didn't you get the email?"

All bets were off. No more trying to fight it. I sat there, not speaking, completely mortified and trying to hold back from crying. I probably said two words the entire lunch. No one seemed to notice anyway. Then they all got their food. AND I HADN'T EVEN ORDERED YET.

Apparently while waiting they all ordered and told the waitress not to put in the order until I got there. When I got there, someone signaled her to put it in. But no one said anything to me, so I just assumed that the waitress would come and take my order IN THE NORMAL COURSE OF BUSINESS WHEN SHE TAKES EVERYONE know, not being privy to the pre-order and all...

When the waitress brought out the food, I was in a wild panic. Seriously on the verge of hysteria. And I swear to you, when our eyes met, she instantly understood everything I was going through. It was like she knew the situation entirely. And she leaned in to me and said "I can have a Ceasar Salad ready in 30 seconds, don't worry" and I nodded fine, because if I uttered a single word, the thread holding me together at that point would have snapped and I would have lost what little composure I had going on.

When everyone finished their lunch, we headed back. I walked alone. Which, to be honest was for the best anyway because as soon as I got back, I shut my door and began to cry. What kind of people organize a lunch for me and forget to bring me? Then, instead of apologize, they make me feel like I should have just met them there! Why would I meet people somewhere 5 blocks away instead of in the lobby of the office we all work in? Is it me?

P.S. It all worked out. I think the managing partner got back and saw my email from 12:02 and realized that the mistake was not mine. Truth be told, I think she always knew the mistake was not mine. But whatever, she apologized as I was leaving. Really, it was all just a big misunderstanding. Nothing fatal to the job, just...well, just really sucky right now.

Often on days that are hard, I get myself through by telling myself "you just need to get home...just make it a few more hours and you will be home." I like my home, but the actual house is not what I am talking about. I need to get home, not to my house, but to my husband. My husband is my home, and he makes me instantly calm. He makes things okay, and the horrible day melts away as soon as he hugs me. And he always hugs me right when he sees me. So needless to say, tonight, I ran home, to my husband.

Who was promptly late because he was futzing around the office while unbeknownst to him I was hysterically crying and waiting for the hug. He gave it to me when he got home.


Blogger Carolyn said...

Oh, you poor thing. I was mortified for you. Yes, they definitely should have waited for you, or at least felt bad when you eventually showed up. At least the waitress was nice. Aggghhh. I hate people sometimes!

And isn't it the worst when you come home ready to share the news ... good or bad ... and your husband's not there? When I found out about my scholarship to law school, my husband was at his parent's house with our kids. There I stood alone in my kitchen reading and rereading the letter, basically telling myself the good news! :)

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my god, that is the most horrible thing ever.

That waitress deserves a medal, though.

9:24 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

That is just horrible, truly. I cannot believe sometimes how people think only of themselves! One of my co-workers came in the other day and in conversation about how many sucky things are going on in his life mentioned that to boot, it's his birthday. I took him out to lunch in honor of his day but no one else even said a word (even after I spread the news). I was appalled. Why not do SOMETHING?!

Why on earth would they throw you a lunch and send you there on your own?! That's appalling. I'm glad that it got better. I'm really glad that you had someone to go home to for a big, secure, loving hug!

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Amy said...

I died a little inside when I read that. I am not very good with groups, either, and would have been mortified by the very idea -- but then to be left behind? And the whole sequence of events? I almost want to cry at the very idea.


Sorry. (Glad you got the [late] hug, though, those can fix lots of things.)

4:04 PM  
Blogger rebcram said...

OMG. You are so brave for holding back the tears! I would not have been able to do it. Nowhere to go but up now though... hang in there.

5:08 PM  
Blogger Josefina said...

What about those people anyway!!!
OF COURSE they should have gone to get you to your office, you're new for Christ's sake!!!!!!
And wait 25 minutes? It sounded more like a practical joke!! Like "where's the camera!!"
At least managing partner finally got a clue on it!!
And well, I'm sure none of them have such a good home to get to!!!!
Hang on, first days are always difficult!!!

5:47 PM  
Blogger Katrina said...

I got all tense and upset just READING this post! I can't imagine living through it...and I SUCK at keeping tears at bay (which is why I'm not a high-powered lawyer, or, indeed, a high-powered anything!)

Isn't home wonderful? I'm so glad you have found yours!

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Bitter, Angry Guy said...

Total bullshit, especially on the part of the partner. He/she should have MADE A POINT of stopping by to escort you to the restaurant. It's common fucking decency. Especially when someone's new. Asshole. We love all things Internet, more or less, but this email culture is ruining the human element of interaction. A phone call or quick pop into your office would have saved everyone, especially the Guest of Honor, a lot of misery. Fucking Jackass. Bright side: If that's the worst thing that happens at the office, you're golden.

12:52 PM  
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