Thursday, May 15, 2008

Not the gifts I was expecting


I think I failed the faith test. Rereading my last post caused me to smile ruefully at myself. I took a small detour since then.

I was really getting stressed by not having enough income to cover our monthly expenses. So, I got a job. I've just worked at Convergys for six weeks, and quit yesterday.

It was an interesting experience. I admired their systems. I liked the people I worked with. The job was ATT Wireless Customer Service -- I was one of those voices on the other end of the phone when you call customer support. I was not yet very good at it, but I would have been eventually.

The real mismatch for me is that I really, really didn't like the rigid schedule. To keep wait times for customers calling in as brief as possible, a call center needs to keep as many reps available to answer the phones as possible at all times. That means scheduling breaks and lunches and time of arrival and departure to the minute. That means relatively little flexibility for days off, or choosing what time to start work.

The pay was reasonably good, especially for this area. And I wanted my freedom more than the paycheck.

So, instead of the safety net I was hoping for, I've left the job with a stronger understanding of what is really important to me. I was drained after doing the work there. I'm energized by writing, editing and coaching.

Time to go back to finding ways to do more of those.

I've had other gifts from the detour. I really did enjoy meeting my coworkers. I have a new appreciation for housework. Look! I can start and stop and take breaks whenever I want! Look! The results are entirely under my control! Look! I can actually see and touch the results of my efforts!

It's pretty cool, actually. And after six weeks of working both at Convergys and on my business, while Doug studied long hours at school, our life feels very soft now. I like that. I've been cooking a lot, and Doug and I get to eat meals together and talk. Heavenly!

Everything does work out. Convergys gave me six weeks of relief from worrying about our budget, and an interesting view into other ways of doing things. I'm thankful for the gifts, even though they were not what I expected.

And I am very thankful to let my time take its own shape again. Note to self: avoid work with strict half-hour lunch breaks.