It’s January 19th, and I Don’t Know Where the Bathroom Is — November 20, 2015

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I said good-bye to my job at Blue Cross Blue Shield this week.

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Bye Blue Bear!

I started at BCBS back in January — January 19th to be exact — and went through the lengthy claims examiner training class with my group.  (It was a tough class and I had all the stress dreams to prove it!)  We got out of class, got to work, and even after all those weeks of training, we found the learning curve to still be extremely steep.  I almost felt like I was starting each day at the bottom of a sheer cliff, all smooth rock, staring up towards the top before starting the arduous day’s climb.  There were a lot of days when I felt certain I’d been given a dull pickaxe and flimsy houseshoes for the day’s ascent.  A friend and I developed the saying, “It’s January 19th again.  We just got in the building for the first time and I don’t even know where the bathrooms are.”  It was a more fun thing to say than to try to express our true feelings of full-on confusion!

But of course, when you’re new, I guess some level of confusion is to be expected.  We carried on, and then early May hit and we were called into a meeting.  Topic: OUTSOURCING.

(cue dramatic music)

It was certainly a shock to find out my brand-new job was going away!  We were given a timeline for the end of our positions and that was basically the new reality from that point forward.  This is the second time that I’ve had a job end with a planned layoff.  (My first job out of college ended as a result of a similar meeting.)  I’m here to say: it just really isn’t any more fun the second time around than the first!

Fortunately, I was able to find a new job, and I ended my time at Blue Cross this week.  It has been a really hard few months trying to keep all the plates spinning and myself motivated when gloomy reality loomed largely. Even still, quitting was bittersweet in some ways. I don’t really like quitting jobs and I’m not very good at it….and quitting two jobs in one calendar year is more than I really thought would happen in 2015!  But we do what we have to do.

The neat thing about BCBS is that it gave me an opportunity to have a couple of experiences that I always thought would be interesting to try:

  1. I finally got to live the cubicle-lifestyle.
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My cubicle, from my birthday this past year.

I have always wanted to know what it would be like to have a cubicle and live in your own little space!  I’ve never had that before.  And, this pic above is in no way a reflection of how my cubicle usually looked, hehe.  My space was barren and devoid of basically all touches of humanity.  It was a sterile space, that save for  a box of Kleenex, pretty much looked like no one lived there.  I liked it like that!  Plus, the cubicles made for a really quiet environment most of the time, which was also great for me.

2. I finally got to work in a place that got neat perks.

When I worked for Capital One, I was always a little jealous because our nearest large office was in Plano and they were always doing cool stuff.  They got to bring in vendors for things, have parties and other fun events, but we were always too small for that.  Well, Marshall BCBS was large enough to get to do fun things — like eating!  I was totally well-fed at that place.  :)  I can’t even begin to guess how much free cake came with my job.  Lovely! Then there was our “purple day” when we had all purple foods:

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This is grape soda, purple colored rice krispie treat, and purple chips and queso.  Yes, it was unnerving to eat that glob of purple and taste cheese!

3. I finally got to have a “mystery job.”

I remember several years ago talking to a manager at CVS about my ideal job.  I was telling him that I’d love to go to a job and work really hard all day, and then come home, and know that no one really knew what I did all day long.  Yep — that definitely sums up my life for the past few months!  There were some days when I wasn’t even sure what I was doing all day, (hence the title of this post!), but I got enough compliments on my work that I must have been getting it right — at least most of the time.  :)

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And now we move on to the next new adventure.  I’ll be working for the Harrison Central Appraisal District, so I’ll be back in the world of counting money — my familiar world!  Looking forward to what’s to come — let’s get started!

Needed: GPS System for Cubicles… — January 21, 2015

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I started my new job on Monday!  I am now working for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas as a Claims Examiner.  I have 10 weeks of training ahead of me, so I can’t even pretend like I can describe my future daily activities right now!  Today was Day 3, so right now everything is still pretty easy.

There are tons of people who work in our building.  (I’ve never had so many co-workers before!)  The funny thing is how many of them I already know.  We, the newbies, haven’t spent very much time out of our training room, but just between trips to the restroom or the break room have given me a lot of chances to see familiar faces.  Most of the people I know are due to me waiting on them either at the cinema or at CVS.  We had to go around and introduce ourselves, and as soon as I mentioned Marshall Cinema, everyone in the room was like, “I KNEW I knew you from somewhere!”  So, that’s been fun.  I surely hope they never saw me at “those moments” when I’m running around like a crazy person because everything’s going haywire all at once!

Once I get out of training I will be assigned my own cubicle.  I’ve never had a space to be like “my own” before, so I’m super overly excited about this.  :)  They already told us that we would not have to share our cubicles, so that really makes me happy.

SmallCube

None of this!!

Our trainers have been taking us around the building here and there to show us around.  The office is in an old K-Mart building, so you can imagine the amount of space that is covered with cubicles.  I felt like we were on parade when we toured the office because everyone was standing up in their cubicles to see all of us new people pass by.  hehe!

They told us we could decorate our space as well.  I heard one person say she was going to get on Pinterest to find something cute for her cubicle.  I’m not really big on moving my entire life into my workspace, but maybe I’ll go out on a limb for this one time…hey, new job, new chance to start over right?

PRINCESS CUBICLE FTW!!!!

PRINCESS CUBICLE FTW!!!!

um….nah.

I’m still the same old me.  :)

But I do have one new irrational fear, and this is serious.  I truly believe that I am going to lose my cubicle and never find it again.  What if they assign me a cubicle out in the middle of everything…all the rows look the same to me right now…what if I can’t find it?!

I don’t want to be like a little old lady who parks her car at Walmart and then can’t find it when she comes out!  I don’t want to wander the aisles aimlessly with a slight panic in my eyes…..crossing back and forth…have I been down this aisle yet?….what if I came out of the wrong side of the store?

Cubicle GPS.  I need it.  :)

…..Annnnnnd Thank You for Calling the Marshall Cinema…. –Monday, June 25, 2012

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(If you’ve ever lived in or around Marshall for any period of time at all, you’ve surely called Marshall Cinema to hear the movie showtimes.  And if you’ve called for the showtimes, you’ve heard the manager’s practically famous opening tagline…  “Annnnnndddd  Thank You for Calling the Marshall Cinema.  In Cinema 1 we’re showing…”  The message and the voice inflections are always the same and he’s almost a local celebrity for his recordings, hehe!)

My life changed in a flash this week!  My little universe took an unexpected and exciting roller coaster ride that was like the huge grand finale to a very long saga.

I left my job as assistant manager of Marshall Cinema nearly five years ago.  It was a tough moment because I completely loved that job.  But it was time for a break, however tough it was to leave.  I had been there for so long by that point that lots of people in town knew me and knew how long I had been there, so when I left I could hardly go anywhere without someone recognizing me and wanting to ask me about the cinema.  I was very sad to be gone from there, so it was like picking open a barely-healed scab every time I had to talk about it.  Those were some pitiful days I had!

Time moved me forward, as it does, and I eventually started working at CVS.  I had kept in touch with the cinema manager in bits and pieces during this time, but we really didn’t have that much contact.  I wanted to be back up there, but my job was filled and the timing just wasn’t right.  He knew how I felt about my little job, and at one point we even talked about the idea that life might work itself out for me to return one day.  It is really difficult when you want something really badly but you know that it’s completely out of the realm of possibility!

Years passed and any thoughts I had about making a return to my old job seemed to be further and further back in my mind.  I still thought about the place pretty frequently, but I figured everybody else had moved forward and I needed to as well.  I felt like that window of time had ended for me and that I had been all but forgotten.  But….I just did not know what was just around the bend!

Fast forward to this past Wednesday morning.  I was working at the bank doing my usual money-counting routine when someone rang the bell at our door.  I heard several of my co-workers shouting, “It’s the Movie Man!!!  It’s the Movie Man!!” but I gave no real thought to what they were saying.  It just didn’t register!  :)  One of them went out to greet him and came back in excitedly, “Athene, he’s asking for you!!”

Still, in my moment of fog, I had no idea who was outside the door.  It wasn’t until just before I turned the corner that I realized: I was about to see the cinema manager!

I greeted him happily – I had been thinking about him lately and how it had been quite some time since we’d seen each other.  He started talking to me and it took me quite a few minutes of shock to realize:  “My Gosh. He is offering me my job back.”  MY JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My mind started going in 20,000 directions at once!  “MY JOB!!!!”  “My little movie theater!”  “CVS….ohno!”  “Man, I’m so busy.”  “I want to do this!”  “How am I going to ever fit this in with everything else?”  “I’ve got to do it!”  “This CANNOT be real.”  “Surely, please let this be real.”  “MY JOB!!!!!”

He told me that he had been all over town looking for me – even to our old apartment, hehe!  I am sure that whatever I said back to him was as scattered as my brain was in that moment, but I definitely had enough clarity to tell him I was definitely interested and just needed a little time to think.

I walked back into work and leaned against the wall for support.  “Wow, I never thought this day would come!”  I said, still very surprised.  I have had such vivid dreams over the years of that moment that there was no way that the moment had finally actually happened.  Crazy!  I told everyone what had just happened and we all got excited!

Of course….the time of reckoning was sure to come.  There was no way I could take on the cinema and still stay at CVS.  Yikes!  I racked my brain trying to think of how I could do all three jobs, haha, but there was no way to physically get myself in the right places at the right times.  There is one of me and too many places where I need to be.  I was not looking forward to putting in my notice at CVS.  I have been there for 4 years now, and I’m pretty dug in.  I’ve also had really great experiences there with meeting some really neat people.  I’ve had some great co-workers, and I’ve made countless friends out of my customers there.  It’s funny when I think of all the people I know now who I never would have met were it not for CVS.  I’ve been pretty lucky!

But I knew I would live in regret if I turned down my cinema, so I gathered up every stitch of my bravery and went and turned in my notice at CVS.  (It’s really hard to turn in notice at a job when you don’t really mind being there!  It’s way easier to quit a job when you’re mad, hehe!)  I had planned for my last day to be July 1, but well…..I might be there a bit longer.  (Quitting is hard to do, it seems!)  I’ll have a teeny tiny presence there still for a little while longer, so hopefully I’ll still get to see all my customers and my friends!

For now, I am about to hit the ground running with the cinema.  I have so much to do and learn, and re-learn!  They switched from film projectors to digital while I was gone – ooooh, I am so excited to learn the new machines!  I’ve been there a couple of days now and I’ve already reunited with some of my usual customers from there.  It’s been a fun reunion so far.  :)

So, come to the movies and come see me!  In the words of the final line from the showtime recording:  “…..so we hope to see you here!”

:)