03 nov 2013

in light of the fact that i solicited topics from my friends via facebook, i'll attempt to hit all those topics before i come up with one of my own during this month-long exercise. i'm hoping to improve the quality of my writing in the process. writing takes practice and, though i haven't forgotten how, it's a process that usually reveals a particular quality when it is finely tuned. most of me feels like it's sixth grade all over again and i'm trying to play "hot cross buns" on the recorder. i remember hearing my friend emily play the recorder in high school: i had no idea it could sound so beautiful.

the past several years of my life, post-divorce, brought ups and downs galore: financial, residential, relational (familial/romantic/non-romantic), educational, and career-related. i've imagined certain goals along the way, formulated a plan, walked down the path...

i have yet to see it coming.

i've been in banking for 11 years and 10 months. when i first started with the bank, it was because i needed a job with health insurance benefits. little did i know that this would end up being a career. in fact, i'm almost unwilling to call the first 11 years and 9 months a career because i sort of feel i've been wiggling around at the same level for most of that time. it's not the truth, but i worked in the same environment (retail banking) for a long time and some days/weeks/months i really wondered if i would ever make it out (read that as "make it on to something more challenging and more financially viable."). the first onset of wanting out was upon finishing my bachelor's degree in 2008. a few interviews and a chat with the regional manager later, i got a leg up. i remained at that step for about 4 years, during which i interviewed for advancement opportunities at the retail level (management), at the corporate level (training & development), totaled my car, learned to drive stick, and even joined toastmasters for a couple years. then one day in april 2011, i served on a jury and decided i wanted to transition to the legal field. after two years in night school, i earned my paralegal certificate back in june. unexpected but timely connections led to an unpaid saturday internship with a law firm that tailored its services to low-income individuals. i had four interviews--one with the bank's legal department which entailed four back-to-back interviews with five different people for roughly three hours--and my conclusion at the end of it was that i had it really good where i was at, benefits-wise, and why couldn't i advance somewhere within the bank?

the next part happened very quickly. i spotted The Job, applied, and i reached out to a coworker for contacts within the department so that i could understand the job from a real-world perspective as job descriptions can be difficult to wade through. (i previously utilized this contact to connect with someone in the legal department prior to that interview--a step i highly recommend you take whenever possible.) i talked to all of those people, and one person asked for my resume, promising to get it in front of the manager. all i wanted, all i had learned to fight for, was the opportunity to interview. i had stopped counting on a job offer at this point. but interviews, those were pretty cool. meet new people, learn new things, practice for the next interview opportunity. then, i got a phone interview with the recruiter! she loved me. i learned that there had been over 160 applicants for this position, and there were 4 openings within the department. i moved forward to an in-person interview. a week passed when i got the email from the recruiter. the email that rattled my cage and brought tears to my eyes because They were ready to extend an offer.

i don't know how to encourage you to keep going when it seems like your life is taking too long to develop. i have amazing friends and family. i have an inner fortitude that refuses to quit. don't get me wrong--that fortitude has been M.I.A. more than once in the past 6 years. but i allowed for flexibility as the circumstances shifted along the way. was i lucky? no. i was fortunate. i realize now: i landed my dream job. all the effort and all the struggle culminated in this moment. it was truly worth it*.

(*guess what, i'm not done! there's still more to this journey!)

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