Ten years ago, I wrote an article called “The Right to Bare Arms.” It was about how attitudes towards tattoos in the workplace were changing, how tattoos were being more readily accepted in the workplace.
I was pleased with the finished product, although one reader took serious issue with the title; she argued I spelled “bare” wrong, saying it should’ve been “bear.” I wasn’t talking about the Second Amendment, but she didn’t understand that. I wish I’d kept her emails, they were scathing.
I find the article’s topic somewhat ironic because today I work in a company where it’s not acceptable to show your tats. Luckily, the ones I do have are in spots easily covered – shin, ankle, upper arms – all except one, the new one on my right forearm, my medic alert bracelet.
In case you didn’t know, a medic alert bracelet is used to identify medical conditions, allergies, medications, or treatment wishes. In my case, I’m allergic to antibiotics. If for some reason I was unconscious and couldn’t communicate to an emergency response provider, this tattoo will do it for me.
The antibiotic allergy started when I was 14. During the winter I developed walking pneumonia and our family doctor gave me two antibiotics to take at the same time. Why two? No idea. It was a time when you never questioned doctors; you just did what they said.
Shortly after I started taking both, I noticed a lot of red bumps all across my chest. They were freaky looking, but I didn’t say anything to my mom and the bumps disappeared soon after I stopped the antibiotics.
I like the work, but there are two things I don’t like about the job: One, the commute is 25 miles one way, and two, the work environment.
Okay, in all honesty, there is a third thing I don’t like, but I will be careful what I say. For as large as the interwebs are, it’s still a remarkably small place. I find it best not to share something that could come back to bite me in the ass.
So, of those two other things, the drive is pretty self-explanatory, wear and tear on the car, more gas, more trips to the shop, blah, blah, blah.
The second is harder to explain.
One of my curses/blessings is that I can walk in a room and tell when the situation feels right, wrong or just a little bit off. I also get the same sense from people. There’s no rhyme nor reason to it, it’s just my “gut feeling” saying HEADS UP.
Maybe I’m like that because I’m an introvert or maybe it’s because I’m a Pisces. It’s not something I’ve taught myself, it's just how I’m wired, I can’t change it even if I wanted to.
I’ve been at my job six months and every day I’ve been there, I get a splitting headache, and I feel like my shoulders are trapped in a giant vise grip, squeezing me tighter and tighter. No one’s physically harming me, but the energy, the feeling of, and within, the company that I pick up leaves me on edge every day. At the end of the day, I want to run for the door.
I was especially aware of today’s office energy because I was off work for the Memorial Day holiday yesterday, and I took a vacation day last Friday. Those four days were the longest stretch of time I’ve had away from the job since last Thanksgiving. It was blissful: No headache, no tension, no vise grip.
I don’t know how long I’ll be at this assignment (I’m a contractor), but for now it’s fine, after all, it took me away from a life as an administrative assistant. I'm not sure if I'll be able to figure out and resolve what I feel, so until then, I’ll be sure to have a generous supply of Advil on hand.
Since getting the job offer and giving notice, my disposition has improved exponentially. I want to be better, I want to do better – in everything.
First, there’s a little matter of my health and physical condition. In the year and a half I’ve been at my current job, my exercise time has decreased. The introvert in me needed quiet and alone time. Dummy me, I should’ve included exercise to help me handle the nuclear level stress, but it was easier to go home and hide than risk more human interaction. My diet was atrocious and this wicked cocktail added up to an extra 20 pounds. Before you gasp in horror, everyone in the department has put on weight since working there, mostly from stress eating.
I’ve been starting off slow with some cardio and am working up to lifting more weights. I can’t do my old weight levels quite yet, but I’m clearly doing too much too soon. For example, I tried to do pull ups a week and a half ago and I torqued my shoulder somethin’ good. I had hurt my shoulder several years before and went to physical therapy, so I’m using the exercises the PT gave me to get my shoulder strong again. Better to move a little slower than completely stop.
Second, I’ve been looking at martial arts classes; those probably won’t be until next month, after I’ve had a few weeks to acclimate to regular physical exercise. I have a feeling I’m going to love it, but I will take advantage of the free class before committing.
I’ve been so fortunate to have good health and a strong body, I can’t waste it.
Thirdly, I want to learn to make foam armor. Now that Wizard World decided to bring its con back to our fair city, I need to step up my cosplay game. I’ve watched a few videos and I think I can learn to work with it; it’ll just take a little practice. My future goal is to create a Vampire Hunter D cosplay. It would be a smidge ambitious to try to get it done before next year, but you never know.
Yes, professional development and joining professional organizations are on the list as well.
Since I gave my notice two weeks ago, it’s been psychotically busy here. Today it’s as though the brakes were slammed and it’s just slooooooooooow. I’m not complaining, trust me. The person I need to train on payroll has been in meetings all morning so I’ve been trying to pretend to look busy. Okay, not really, whatever I needed to get done is done.
For the first 10 months of this year life was stagnant. Now it’s November and life’s in hyperdrive. I’ve got my helmet, I’m strapped in and I’m ready to enjoy the ride.
I am excited, ecstatic and jumping out of my freakin’ skin. Okay, only proverbially, it’d be pretty damn scary if I really left my skin.
And even though I’m very excited, yesterday, I had a very real moment of panic. What if I don’t do well or live up to my boss’ expectations?? What if I completely bomb at the job???
I had to stop and take several deep breaths.
The woman who hired me is a smart lady. If she didn’t think I was right for her organization and more importantly, right for the job, she wouldn’t have hired me. Right? Right.
I am qualified for this job. I am meant to have it. My life is changing for the better – and it’s the most incredible, almost indescribable, feeling. I still haven’t fully been able to wrap my head around it.
* * *
I no longer have the yellow school box to keep me organized. Today, I use my smartphone and my trusty, and well-worn, backpack. I’ve never been a briefcase-carrying professional. I tried it, but it just wasn’t me.
Today, I cleaned out the backpack to get it organized and presentable to take to a new job site. All the while I kept thinking about my yellow school box and remembering the same feeling of excitement. And a few jitters, too.