Friday, May 1, 2009

Ghosts of Cubicles Past

Office Space the movie came out in 1998 while I was in college. We all laughed at the movie and said we would never end up in jobs like that. We were set to graduate in 2000 and most certainly were not planning on sitting in a cube doing a worthless job, making crap for money, and being absolutely miserable like Ron Livingston who played the main character. I mean, c'mon we were Juniors is college drinking Long Island Iced Teas at Kate's and seeing Mr. Green Jeans at the Balloon on mug night. Office Space was a funny movie; who knew that it would become my life shortly after graduating.

Everyone has to pay their dues in the working world. First jobs are meant to be tortuous, low paying, demoralizing, and plain old boring. I was a foreign language major. I cannot tell you how many times I told people my major and was inevitably asked
"Are you going to be a teacher?"

"Uh, well no. I never even considering being an Italian or Spanish teacher. Education is not my thing."

"Oh, then what are you going to with that degree?" (chuckle, chuckle)

If they caught me while I was in school, my response was something like, "Work in international business or government."

Then the the eyebrows raised and the tone completely changed; Suddenly I looked pretty good.

Unfortunately after graduating I moved home to a place where my degree was of no use unless I was an education major- oops. We can't always plan these things in life. I majored in something I loved and I do not regret it to this day.

I ended up working an entry level position that a monkey could do; I found that out in the first hour of my training. The pay was decent especially since I didn't have to wait tables and stay up until 2 in the morning in order to collect my tips. But, it was hard adjusting to the grind. Looking back I wonder why I didn't take some more time to find myself. Probably because my parents paid for me to go away for 2 semesters to study abroad. Anyway, I was good. I spent the summer after graduation working my regular summer gig at an outdoor bar/restaurant with my friends, and then I sent out my resume to the real world. I got a job in September and moved on to a new phase in life: 8-5, bills, 401K's, happy hours, and discussing with all my co-workers how the F we got these jobs.

No, it wasn't that bad. I loved my co-workers. I left that job six years ago and still keep in touch with some of them. It was a great learning experience- as most jobs are if you want them to be. It taught me a lot about myself and a lot about what I did not want in a career. Overall it was a great experience.

So I had to go back to the building of my former employer today. It is in the heart of downtown and houses many different companies and agencies including the social security office. I was there to get Luv Bug's SS# since being adopted. We were unable to file our taxes on time b/c he doesn't' have a SS# due to the fact that he just became a citizen - yay luv bug. When I went to another office in Rochester, the "B" behind the counter didn't know what she was talking about and told me I didn't have enough information to get a card for him and sent me away seething mad because I knew I had what I needed and she had no idea what she was talking about. Hey you out there. I was right and you were wrong.

Today I was brought back to a time in my life when I was very young, single, finding my way in the world, extremely depressed, dating my future husband and living the life of a 20 something. I left that job when I was given the opportunity to be an Italian teacher at my Alma mater. I taught 7-9 grade Italian for a year. I had absolutely no experience and was scared to death but it was one of the best experiences of my life. I will have to dedicate a separate post about my experience teaching. Incredible!

Today got me to thinking about dealing with infertility in the working world. When I worked in an office with cubicles and hundreds of employees, I was 22-24 years old. I was too busy getting through my hang overs and IM'ing people during working hours to care about babies. I remember there were a couple of baby showers but I wasn't really paying attention to that dynamic of the office.

When I was struggling with infertility, I was working for my father's business. I basically determined my own hours so leaving 3 times a week for ultrasounds and blood work did not add any further stress, not really. It was very manageable, a pain in the ass but manageable. I didn't have to worry about revealing to my boss or co-workers why I was leaving so often. I did not have to face pregnancies and being around the chit chat for 9 hours out of my day.

I had it good and I still couldn't deal with things. I was still crying at my desk almost every day. I could cry at my desk because I had my own office and I was usually the only one there. I had it good and I still couldn't make it to work after appointments. I couldn't be seen in public because my emotions were all over the place. It was hard for me to deal with real issues and be professional. I was a wreck even though I was relieved of a lot of the stress involved with the demanding second job of infertility. I knew at the time I was lucky to have my job. I remember thinking there was no way I could make all of my appointments if I still was a teacher or in my first job.

The conflict of dealing with infertility and holding a job is tremendous. That creates enough stress to knock out an elephant. Add hormones shots, negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test, operations, vaginal ultrasounds, constant blood draws, watching co-workers bellies grow by the day, people gushing over their glowing skin and office pools over the sex of the baby and you're going to have a person who is seriously on the brink of insanity.

I was immune to many of the social situations that can make life unbearable as an infertile; however, I was a complete basket case. It was enough for me to deal with friends and family getting pregnant, questions about our family building time line and loss of my own hopes that I would get to walk around my office with a bulging belly and have my dad brag about his little girl having a baby. I am so sorry for the women out there that not only have to live with the disappointment of IF in the privacy of their own home, but have to go to work everyday hearing about burp clothes, baby sitters and seeing sonogram pictures. I give you credit. You are amazing.

This morning I found myself in the lobby of my former office building heading up to the 14th floor to get a social security card for my son who was born in Korea. Life is crazy and random and hard and wonderful. That was the last obligation in my adoption journey. A huge weight lifted from my shoulders. Soon I will be able to close the 4 inch binder of Luv Bug's adoption and put it in a safe place. I amy need to dust it off in the near future as a reference guide for another adoption. Or perhaps it will remain amongst his other important things like his first pair of shoes and first report card not to be touched for a decade.

Who knows. Who really knows what lies ahead. I can think and hope and wait but what's next will come when it comes.

=

8 comments:

Just Caz said...

Your posts are so humble and heartfelt.
Your words definatly inspire me.
As do the words of so many.

I too after soon fell into a cubicle job, one where I still sit today.
I experienced many days sobing quitely at my desk, or making a quick dash when I could feel the tears coming.

Kristin said...

I really love reading your posts. You state everything so plainly and clearly. Its always an education.

A Mom in Jacksonville, FL said...

I love the way you connected your young college days to the final adoption paperwork for your son. Neat correlation.

chicklet said...

The job and infertility balance are really really tough, and trying to manage the emotional side as well as all the leaving for appointments, it doesn't get any easier. Ugh, I don't know what to say except I get it, and oh so many days I went to that bathroom to cry...

AudreyO said...

Sometimes taking a walk down memory lane is what helps us grow and become the person we are today. Congratulations on taking the last step in the adoption.

Beautiful Mess said...

Beautifully written. I may not have had to do what you did, but through your words, I can be more sensitive to others in my life who are going through it. Thank you for sharing everything. I appreciate it and I appreciate YOU.
YAY for being able to close that binder. That must have been an amazing feeling!
*HUGS*

Barefoot said...

What a great post! It's so funny - we actually watched Office Space (not for the first time, but for the first time in a while) a couple of weeks ago and it was very strange to be looking back at that time in our lives!

Congratulations on completing the last step in your adoption! That must be a wonderful feeling.

infertilityrocks said...

Oh yeah, I was working two jobs (one full-time and one PT) when I was going through IF treatments for #1. It was a very dark time in my life. I detested going to my job, mostly because I knew if I had a child I wouldn't be working full-time anymore. I would get up at 5am to make it to my blooddraw/ultrasound appnts before my 10 hour work day. It was miserable!

With ttc #2 (and doing IF treatments again), I feel lucky to be working part-time with a job with flexible hours. But it's still exhausing. IF often feels like my FULL-TIME job.

Loved your post and congrats on getting that final piece of 'officiality' with your son.

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