Monday, March 05, 2007

Sharing Time

Okay, that thing I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, that I said I wasn't ready to talk about yet? I'm going to talk about it now. I interviewed for a management position at Starbucks. And the interview went well, but long story short, there just isn't room for me right now in the management ranks of Starbucks. A position might open up in a few months, or next summer at the latest, but the fact of the matter is that, with Jeremy still not working, I can't keep waiting around forever. I love Starbucks, and I love working there, and I really wanted to move up in the company. But even more than that, I need my life to move out of waiting mode into living mode.

I can't remember if I mentioned this before, but when I left Canada and the legal profession and moved down here to Pennsylvania where I can't be a lawyer, it was because we had made a major life decision: We were ready to start a family. So I didn't care what kind of job I found, because I would be quitting in nine months to stay at home and raise our children. I found my Starbucks job, and it seemed like the perfect stopgap - flexible hours, good benefits, and working with people and coffee, which are two things I love. I figured, when I had kids, I could take my maternity leave, then maybe even go back for a few hours a week just to get out of the house and have a little bit of adult contact.

Then Jeremy got sick. Then he lost his job. Then he didn't get better, and didn't go back to work. And Starbucks went from being a nice side job to being all we had. And, unfortunately, it wasn't enough for us to live on, especially with my student loans being what they are. We are still living in my in-laws' basement, and as much as I love them and appreciate all the support they have been giving us, I am a grown woman who had her own household for four years before moving in with them, and I need my own living space. And, to put it bluntly, if Jeremy can't take care of me, I need to take care of myself.

So, I've taken children off the table for the time being. I still would like to be a mommy some day, but not with things the way they are right now. And not for a few more years at least. Because even if this week's doctor's appointment brings all of the answers we are seeking, and Jeremy is completely better by next week, and gainfully employed by the following week, it's going to take a long time for me to really feel comfortable putting my life in his hands so completely again.

Deciding to have kids takes a lot of trust. It's not an aspect of the decision that most people think about much, but really, especially when you are someone as self-sufficient as I am, it's a scary thought. I can usually find work, even if the work I find is almost always below my qualifications. I file our taxes, make sure the bills are paid, and loans are paid. I handle pretty much every aspect of our social lives, make sure we get to church on time, make sure we eat (well, that one is slightly less my responsibility since we've been living with the in-laws). I buy groceries, keep the house clean (when it gets cleaned at all, that is), do the laundry. I take responsibility for everything.

So, when we decided to have kids, it meant handing over a lot of reins. It meant biting my tongue and making sure that, at the very least, he could be responsible for the income side of things. And he did, eventually, find a good job with benefits. And I started to let him have that responsibility. And honestly, it didn't feel all that bad. I liked knowing that he could be responsible for something, that it didn't all have to be resting on my shoulders.

And then he got sick. And never got better.

It's strange to think that you can be completely ready for something one day, and then completely unprepared for the same thing a few months later. But it was a really big deal for me to hand over those reins, and, having taken them back, it's going to be even harder to do a second time. And as much as it breaks my heart, and makes my ovaries cry, to say so, I'm not ready to have kids anymore.

Where am I going with all of this?

Some friends of mine are buying a house in Ridley Park this month. They are planning on finishing the basement into a separate apartment. This apartment was where we were planning on moving if I got the assistant manager job with Starbucks, because the store I had applied to was just around the corner from the house they are buying. When I didn't get the job, I wasn't sure what I would do. I didn't know if I was ready to start applying for jobs outside of Starbucks, but I did start looking at listings online, just to see what was out there.

On Thursday night, I found out I that didn't get the assistant manager job.

On Friday night, I found a listing for a legal assistant/paralegal job at a firm that seems to do a lot of the kind of law I am really passionate about (civil rights, criminal defense, etc.), and the office is about ten minutes away from the house that Erin and Brian are buying. I wasn't sure if I was ready to start applying for other jobs yet, but I wrote an email cover letter, saved it as a draft, then hemmed and hawed for about two hours before finally pressing send.

On Saturday, I worked, and managed to not think about it too much.

On Sunday morning, I started to worry. I'm really very comfortable where I am, after all, even if I don't make enough to pay rent. It's frightening to put oneself out there like that, and I began to wish I hadn't sent that email. I was afraid of that inevitable call - the one I got in response to every single legal assistant job application I put in last year when I was looking for work - that call that said, more or less, "Why on earth would I hire you? You have no experience as a legal assistant, and you'll run off at the first sign of a better opportunity." I suppose I was equally afraid of a call for an interview, too, because that would mean change. And change is a little bit scary, even when you know, deep down, how badly you need it. I prayed, all through the morning service, that I wouldn't get a call at all. So much easier to not have to think about it.

On Sunday afternoon, the family (sans Jeremy, of course) all went out to Red Lobster for dinner. I began chatting with my brother-in-law about taking a trip to Florida during his Spring Break at the end of March. We started to get excited about the idea, and he texted a couple of friends to see if they were interested. I've had a stressful couple of weeks, between the job interview and waiting for an answer, and Jeremy's health taking another turn for the worse. A vacation sounded like a fantastic idea to me. I pushed the job application out of my mind, and chatted dreamily about beaches and Disney World.

Then my cell phone rang. It was a number I didn't recognize, so I decided to answer it, because I thought it might be someone from work. It wasn't. It was the lawyer I had sent the job application to. He told me he was actually completely done interviewing, and just had a few references left to call. He told me he knew it sounded a little weird, but he had told the other applicants that he would call them back with an answer on Monday, so was there any way that I could meet with him tonight? My heart beating out of my chest, and my hands shaking, I told him I would.

Sunday night, I had an impromptu job interview. He told me about his practice, and it sounds like he does exactly the kind of work I am passionate about. He told me about the position, and it sounds like it's the exactly the kind of job I would be good at and enjoy. He wasn't put off by my lack of experience as a legal assistant, and seemed to think that my experience as a lawyer in Canada would be an asset, rather than a liability. He offered me the job.

And I accepted it.

So, I have officially put in my two week's notice at Starbucks, and I will be starting a new job, a new career path, and hopefully, in many ways, a new life, exactly two Mondays from now. And I am both excited and petrified about it, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The biggest decisions in life require a little bit of risk-taking, and I would be an idiot if I wasn't at least a little bit afraid. But I would be more of an idiot if I let than stop me from striving for something better.

They say a change is as good as a rest, whoever they are. So I guess I won't be going to Florida for Spring Break, but I think my brother-in-law will understand.


Christina said...

Oh, JA, I'm so glad for you! I hope that it turns out to be eveything you hope and that this is only the beginning of things turning around.

timollie said...

Jule, that's wonderful!

I know how scary this all must be, happening as quickly as it did, but try to rest in the fact that there are many friends praying for you.

Jawndoejah said...

Congratulations on the new job. In a few years, you'll just look back and be amazed at the changes that have occured in your life...

10 years ago I was teaching in a low income public school and my husband was working for Motel 6. I was pregnant with my first baby. We lived in a rented duplex very near a mall in Overland Park, KS. I was trying to decide if I should still work, or if I should stay home with my baby. I would have to put my notice in a few weeks from now.

Now, I'm a stay at home mom of 5 and pregnant again. I write a small little thing for a local city paper that will only last a year, and I will be testifying before the Kansas Legislature on Wednesday to change laws in dealing with baby's remains after miscarriage in a medical facility. Who would have thought it?

rgr said...

Wow...I am time and time again impressed by the way that you have handled the last year of your life, and will be praying that God continues to make straight the path he's laying out in front of you.

Heather said...

I think this is great. Good for you! It's obviously pretty fast and scary, but I hope it turns into a great change for you.

susie said...

I am so excited for you. I pray that this job will be a positive start in your life.

Marianne said...

Wow, way to go! Change for any of us is at best challenging and at worst terrifying. But it can open whole new worlds. Congratulations on your new job, and I wish you well in your new adventure.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I just found this blog, and obviously I don't know the back story on this....but has it occurred to you that your husband probably reads this blog? You sound really bitter toward him for his illness. And it doesn't seem very responsible or considerate of you to plan vacations to Florida without your husband when you can't even pay the rent. In sickness and in health and all that...just saying. Congrats on your new job. Best of luck to you both. I hope Jeremy's health improves. I'm sure the move to the new apartment will be a welcome change.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I'm glad to hear that you've gotten something that you can be passionate about & use your legal training...

Emily said...

Wow, big changes! I hope everything goes well with the job and the move and everything. We would be happy to lend you our kiddo anytime you feel the need to be mothery. He's pretty great, we think (as long as you don't mind the mess on the carpet).

Anonymous said...

To the first "anonymous" poster, who wrote: "Wow. I just found this blog, and obviously I don't know the back story on this....but has it occurred to you that your husband probably reads this blog? You sound really bitter toward him for his illness. And it doesn't seem very responsible or considerate of you to plan vacations to Florida without your husband when you can't even pay the rent. In sickness and in health and all that"

I find that for an absolute stranger who admits to not knowing the back story, your comments are harsh and completely without understanding. For one thing, just because one person is incapable, doesn't mean the other is shackled. After all, Juleann is doing all the work, support and care-giving for her husband. She's entitled to vacations here and there, instead of working constantly and staying home alone with a sick husband. What she's doing is healthy. And I think anyone in the difficult situation of being the worker, provider, caretaker, and nurse to an ailing lifemate would be at least a little bitter- but she's doing the right thing, and being an amazing person at the same time.

Congrats for her are in order, not demeaning comments about an obviously difficult time in life.

Sarah said...

Hey Jule Ann,

Congratulations on your new job!! Although it is scary at first, it sounds like a perfect place for you, so I'm sure that it will work out for the best!


Anonymous said...

She is certainly not shackled and I don't doubt the situation is incredibly difficult. But planning to pay for vacations to Florida when you can't pay the rent is not responsible. And being bitter about the situation is understandable, but being bitter at your husband on the internet for the whole world (and all your friends and family) to see and blaming him for not being able to provide for you -- when the illness is not his fault -- is not fair, and I'm sure it is hurtful to him. I'm sure she is an amazing person, and I don't envy the position she is in.

Mike said...

That purely rocks. Scary new job and all, but it's a good thing. We've done the in-law's basement thing (twice, actually, first with my folks, and then with hers), and the getting out is so critical.