It’s a weird feeling starting a brand new job. I very quickly become a ball of anxiety about random things. It used to be “I have no job, how am I going to put a roof over my head, how will I eat, what will I do about health insurance, am I stuck here permanently, will I have to return to Indiana after failing at life for 4 months to return to my old job, do I have the skills to get a job that isn’t retail-centric or am I a one trick pony?”
Now that I’m not being drowned under all of those concerns, I figured I’d sleep easy at night. So I was shocked when I was awoken with a start by a whole new set of anxieties in the middle of the night. “What if you don’t actually possess the skills to be good enough at this job? What if you don’t get along with the people you work with? What if your boss doesn’t like you? What if there was some sort of freak incident and you set both your normal alarm and backup alarm wrong and you oversleep on your first day of the new job, thereby putting a bad taste in everyone’s mouth from the beginning, spending the rest of your time trying to climb out of that hole?”
I woke up Tuesday morning before my alarm, anxious to get ready and giving myself plenty of time to get to work. I triple checked to make sure I had everything in my possession I was supposed to bring in order to fill out the proper paperwork, making sure not to space out and forget something important. I walked to my car with my armload of papers and pertinent documents to identify myself to God and everyone as the real Carly Lauck, and I put the key in the ignition only to find that it wouldn’t turn.
My first thought was what am I doing wrong? I’m the girl who locked her keys in the car while it was running when I was a teenager (my apologies to my Dad who will be learning this fact through this post, but enough time has passed I think we can all laugh about it now). I don’t understand cars, so the likelihood of something being my fault is in my favor. I was so preoccupied getting things together for work, I probably had missed something obvious.
I spotted something in my windshield and got out, cursing people putting ads on the hood of my car like I didn’t have the extra two seconds to remove it. As I pulled it out, I looked down and saw that the front of my car had been hit. I reacted the only way I knew how: I started swearing like a sailor in the middle of my “family friendly” neighborhood in the early hours of the morning (my apologies to my Mom who probably hoped to have a daughter who didn’t wake up neighborhood children by dropping F-bombs in the wee hours of the morning).
I got into my car and gave myself a minute to finish cursing this day in the privacy of my vehicle so that I wouldn’t completely secure the title of “crazy neighbor lady.” Why, today of all days, was this happening? I looked down at the paper I had pulled out of my windshield, and it was the insurance info of the woman who had hit me. I was lucky she had left it, seeing as hit and runs tend to be a common thing around here. I sat there and gave myself two minutes to be pissed off and angry, then I had to let it go and find a new way to work.
I got out of my car and started walking to the bus stop, when I realized that I wouldn’t make it there in time at this point. It’s a 15 minute drive, but about a 45 minute bus ride, so I was cutting it too close. I figured I’d call my boss on the way in and explain it. I stopped and decided to call an Uber to come grab me and drive me there so I’d be on time. The driver took forever to show up at my door, and I thanked him for picking me up. I was truly grateful for this option so I could get to work on time.
That’s when he proceeded to tell me how much he hated driving for Uber because he was basically a glorified slave. I didn’t feel like I had the energy for this conversation at the moment, because I was a step away from being jobless when I was late to day one of work after my car wouldn’t start. But I decided to let him rant, because I only had one goal, and that was to make it to work on time. I made him drop me off at the sidewalk because I didn’t want to look like the asshole who pays for an Uber to drop her off at work.
I made it there with time to spare, took a breath, told myself to put it all behind me until I was done with orientation. I was greeted with a coffee, a fabulous breakfast spread, and friendly faces and was instantly set at ease. It was four hours of training, but I didn’t feel inadequate. I got along with all of my coworkers, and we all were in the same boat of learning these new skills together. I felt like this was all working out in my favor.
I had tickets to see Elizabeth Gilbert speak about her new book that evening, and I was on the fence about going. I needed to call the insurance company and get everything sorted out, so maybe it would be easier to stay and deal with all of the problems. But I rallied and decided to go ahead and go. I’d already bought the ticket after all, and I didn’t want it to go to waste.
People were dressed to the nines, and it was in a beautiful hall where the Seattle Symphony plays. I wondered to myself why I drag myself to classy events like this. Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely enjoy them, but I listen to the people around me have profound conversations with each other and wonder how I’m at the same event with them when I’m texting my dad to check out the twitter trend #greenpoop referring to articles about how the new Burger King sandwich turns people’s poop green.
It’s always been funny to me that certain things happen on the days when you need them most. I listened as she talked about creativity versus fear and how the two feed off of each other, speaking to the doubt and fear that constantly pokes and prods at you, convincing you that things aren’t worth while or that you aren’t good enough. Was this not the same issue that I’d had that very morning? Questioning why I have the right skill sets for anything. And it’s definitely a constant concern with writing. Never in my life have I published a blog without the voice in the back of my head going, “That’s so stupid, there’s so much wrong with that.”
But the moral of the story is to push through. My favorite quote of the night rung true to me, but I feel that it is a lesson for everyone. She told a story about her favorite poet talking to a student of his about pursuing her dreams of being a writer as well. When she told him that she wanted to be a poet, he responded, “But do you have the courage? Do you have the courage to be a poet? The jewels that are hiding inside of you are begging you to say yes.”
I thought to myself how beautiful of a quote that was, and how applicable it was to most people’s lives. How many people actually are capable of pursuing their dreams and showing what’s really hidden inside of them without letting fear get in the way. I walked to the bus, grateful I had decided to go to the lecture, and feeling a second burst of energy, thinking to myself that maybe I’ve got this after all. If I could make it through the most dramatic first day of work and bounce back, surely I can sort myself out in my Seattle life and tell that voice of fear to shut up for a little while.