And Then There Were Three…

Got through my last full week at Ye Olde Publishing Company and now have just three days to go. Kinda surreal to think about that.

I’m in that weird transitional place now—think of it as a corporate bardo of sorts, the Tibetan Buddhist state of existence between death and rebirth. A between-jobs limbo where I’m still physically present at one place, but mentally I already feel like an employee of the other. This is the one time at work where I could technically get away with anything, because what are they going to do—fire me?! Fortunately (or sadly, depending on how you look at it), I’m too professional to engage in any wild shenanigans. I’m a firm believer in never burning bridges, because you never know when and where you might cross paths with your old employer in the future.

Not that I haven’t been tempted to let those bridges burn in the past. Take 2004, for instance. I’d taken a desperation gig working in a BlueCross BlueShield call center in downtown Portland…against my better judgment, but I’d been unemployed for nine months and recruiters weren’t exactly pounding on my door. The job was shit for a million different reasons: long hours, crappy pay, cranky callers, and work so complicated it was nearly impossible to get straight. No two employer-sponsored health plans are identical, so every single call was a juggling act trying to figure out the benefit structure…often an exercise in futility. I can’t tell you how depressing it was to clock into your shift, slip on your headset, glance up at the giant LED reader board, and see 100 calls waiting in the queue. Unless you happen to like spending every second of every hour of every day on the phone with people who, nine times out of ten, were angry about something.

If I’m in the bardo now, that was purgatory.

Worst of all were the supervisors, who took grim delight in micromanaging the hell out of us. Every movement was tracked; if you took a bathroom break and were gone for more than about three minutes, you were grilled. I got in trouble once for logging out one minute before the end of my shift. In my defense, the bus stop (I had to take public transportation because downtown parking would have eaten up every measly penny I earned) was three blocks away, leaving me seven minutes to get from the sixth floor of this high rise and race to the stop before the bus arrived. Miss it—and I did, on more than one occasion—and you had to wait 25 minutes for the next one to show up.

So, when I found a new job, I was still courteous enough to give them two weeks’ notice…but I really didn’t give a damn about anything. Which is why, one afternoon, I grabbed a plate of nachos from the food court downstairs, propped my feet up at my desk, and slowly savored every cheesy bite while studiously avoiding the glare of my supervisor.

Best nachos I’ve ever had, by the way.

Obviously, nothing like that is happening at YOPC. For starters, I like this company and the people who work there. Besides, I’ve been too busy working my ass off to get everything done for the two magazines whose deadlines are approaching. And training my replacement, Ashley, who didn’t know she was going to be my replacement when she came on board two weeks ago. Err…neither did my boss, ha. But she’s doing a great job. I met with her for 2+ hours on Friday for a detailed, step-by-step meeting covering our internal processes. She’s got plenty of info (too much probably!) and will do just fine.

My last day is Wednesday. I’ll miss the team, but I can’t say I’m heartbroken over leaving. I’m too excited for this new opportunity!

Last weekend, we drove through Spearfish Canyon, enjoying warm sunshine. It was in the 80s. We wore shorts and ate ice cream.

This weekend has been a different story…

It started raining Saturday morning and quickly turned to snow as the temperature dropped below freezing. We didn’t get a lot…about an inch, maybe a little more. It created a beautiful contrast between autumn and winter, as the trees are dropping the last of their leaves. Even in our backyard.

Guess who’s going to be doing some raking this week?

That is, if I get a chance, because it appears that winter may have settled in for a while…

This just gives us a great excuse to start using that stack of firewood piled up in the backyard. We’re planning on building a fire later today and watching The Shining, as a matter of fact.

Cold and snow might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but you gotta admit, they do wonders for coziness!

17 thoughts on “And Then There Were Three…

  1. Snow already! Color me surprised. I think you’re wise to attempt to leave all jobs on a civil note. There is always a possibility that you’ll need them, or they’ll reconsider and suddenly need you again for a better job. That happened to me once.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Twice now, jobs I’ve left have hired me for freelance work after the fact. YOPC could be the third.

      It’s snowed in October every year we’ve been here (three and counting). In this part of the world, that’s common!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s nothing like that first snowfall. And with autumn leaves? Picture perfect! That being said, I’m glad ours is a still a ways off, though northern Maine got snow this weekend as well. Hope your transition to the new job goes smoothly. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Customer service jobs are the WORST! Yikes to that weather. We had 10 surprise minutes of fat flakes the other day, but nothing stuck and it was beautiful to see them whipping around. They’re forecasting 100% chance of 1-3 inches of snow on Tuesday. I’m taking refuge in the hope that forecasters often botch their job. It’s too soon!! Fall provides plenty of coziness for me. I can hold off on the snow until December.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks so much for posting pics of one our favorite places – Canyon Lake Park, where Bruce and I met on a sunny early Spring day after a 10K. As you know, we were married at the Chapel in the Hills later the next year … Another picture perfect place for you to explore again sometime. Good luck with the new job – sounds like a dream job for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Canyon Lake Park is beautiful in every season…but I especially love the transition from fall to winter, when there are still leaves on the tree and they contrast so beautifully with the snow. I thought about heading up to Chapel of the Hills, but figure there will be plenty of snowy opportunities ahead to visit again!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “I’m a firm believer in never burning bridges, because you never know when and where you might cross paths with your old employer in the future.”

    BINGO! Yes Mark, you are spot on about that because there have been so many times in my life when I crossed paths with past employers and needed them. I too have never burned bridges. My father taught me that when I started working. And he was right. Oh, I was tempted at times to just up and quit, believe me, but I stuck it out and still gave my two week notice. Because I always wanted to say to myself, “At least I did the right thing.”

    Awesome set of photographs! And I am sooooooooooooooo envious of the snowfall you’ve gotten already.

    As always….please send some my way!”

    The best to you on your new job, my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. When I have to call on health insurance, etc., I try to be extra thankful to the person if they get me an answer. When it’s a complicated question, I send an email!

    Weather can sure turn on a dime! Your rain hit us yesterday afternoon and it hasn’t let up. Fortunately, we are supposed to have warmer weather by mid-week. Good luck on new job!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re the dream customer I only rarely had the pleasure of dealing with.

      Another thing about those call center employees: they’re supposed to be experts and able to field your calls skillfully, but man, I hardly ever would have put money on the information I was giving callers. And whenever we made a mistake (which happened often), BCBS covered it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Yikes, the call center job sounds awful for sure. Glad your last days went well at your last job. Love the pics, as always. Those white bark birch trees are a favorite of mine.
    Hooray for a new adventure! Stay warm and cozy!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A great analogy, Mark “…existence between death and rebirth….”. And, yes, the never burning bridges. Your description of a past shit job reminds me how I have learned lessons from past shit jobs…something I never, never, ever want to work at again. Many, many moons ago, since I did learn my lesson. Interesting comparing your more recent posts and photos with this post. Warm sunshine, icecream, to the recent snow and colder temperatures. Amazing the difference of a week.

    Liked by 1 person

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