DINK-y designers ponder getting hired

Tonight: sushi at the local sushi bar. Whee! Service was glacially slow (actually, glaciers were quick in comparison) but the four of us—Margaret, Katharine, Jeff, and myself—had a fine time playing with our chopsticks and telling bad jokes and making fun of previous employers. It was a good thing. I'm sure the people at the next table were wishing we'd shut up, though.

Good news. I've been working through a temp agency for several months now, trying to finish out my contract so that the company I was working AT could make a hiring offer for me. They did so today. Even though I knew it was coming, it was a bit of a relief to finally hear the words "We'd like to bring you on staff permanently."Granted, I know I'm good at what I do. It's just that sometimes, well, you doubt every now and then.

No job is perfect. No employer is perfect. However, I'm glad to be where I'm at. When I consider my previous job, I realize that my stress level has dropped sharply since changing jobs, AND I got a raise by switching. I'm not naming names, as I realize these pages will get indexed by search engines, but quite frankly, my last job was hellish by the time I left. I enjoyed the people that I worked with, but by the time I left, I had zero respect for the people that I worked for. I despised the way they treated employees, I hated the work atmosphere, and I just plain didn't fit in.

It's difficult being a twentysomething DINK in a company staffed mostly by thirty- and forty-something working mothers who have been at the company so long they really can't afford to leave, no matter how much they hate it. Especially when you factor in that said DINK is obviously a geek adrift in the midst of a company whose employees just don't see the virtues of email. I was of a different generation and had vastly different priorities (and worldviews) than the people I worked with.

I wasn't a good employee for that company, and probably never would have been. I did a good job. I know that I do good design work; I came away with a nice portfolio. But there were many weeks that I'd look at my paycheck and wonder how many nibbles each dollar took out of my soul.

When I stayed with Andy last fall for my vacation, I cried on him like a little kid. He told me later that it took about two days for me to pull myself out of stress-crisis mode and to relax. I didn't realize how badly I needed a break from work until he came in on Saturday morning to wake me up. Normally I can't sleep long past daybreak. But every day of that vacation, I slept in until ten a.m. or later. (You'd have to know me to understand how completely and utterly out of character this is.)

I think if I hadn't calmed down after that second day, that he was going to force-feed me some Valium.

Anyway. All that prattle to comment on the fact that I'm glad I got offered a job, because of recent events in my past that make me appreciate where I am NOT right now.

That, and I'm starting to plan my vacation out there for this year. Hopefully I won't have to go out there to de-stress like I did last year. I'm going out there the week of my birthday (yep, it's my birthday present to me!) and I'm catching at least two NHL games. I'm probably going to drive out to the ocean. I'm going to as many art and history museums as my feet and the Metro will take me to. Andy and I are going on a culinary eating tour of the D.C. metro area.

I'm going to go out there, hoist a glass or two to life, friends, and surviving icky points in my life. I'm going to remember what it was like to need at least two antacids a day to get through work without screaming, and i'm going to be grateful that life isn't like that now.

Meanwhile, the cats would like to be petted. Like a good cat owner, I shall toddle off and do their bidding.