December 21, 2007
Looking At The Options
Winter Oaks Near Lowell AR
I miss the walks that I used to take in the mornings at "thisplace". It was a way to clear my head and to sort out my thoughts. I havent had such walks in months with my broken foot and now the weather. Today was a day like the one in this photo. Sullen grey with a storm front coming in.
Sullen is my mental state too. I am far from the joyous person that I thought that I would be, decisions made and future assured. Yesterday I was confronted with an alternate future.
That Future was one where I would have moved into a position with "thisplace" and from there assended into management. For nearly 2 years I have waited for this position in The International group to open up. I saw the posting on our teams web page and my heart sank....Here it was and I am going to leave. So I boldly asked to have the chance to audition for it....and while surprised the managers here said yes and that they really wanted me to stay on...
the last few weeks at "thisplace" have been a marvel. Once I told them I would be moving on in March... the red carpet has been rolled out. I got a superlative review and a raise that is, as far as I know the tops of what they give people...all since I said I wouldnt be seeking a new position once my account pulls out in March. i am told that everything that is comming to me has been earned, but my gut tells me to be wary and suspicious
I interviewed for the position this week. I know the Vice President of the International Division, from my days working freight in Los Angeles, at a firm that was eventually bought out by Walmart to become their Logistics arm with offices in 127 countries. The General Mgr is a local boy and a Beliver... I was so excited by the prospect of this... doing something that I loved once, not having to leave home for 6-8 months, making a lot more money as I would get a promotion with getting this desk. Staying with the Familiar... getting to be involved at Church, leading worship again....
Well the interview went well but there are issues. This desk has had four people in it already and they FIRE the rejects. This is not the way the company normally does business and that bothered me. I was told that while things in the freight biz have changed in the 12 years since I last did this, things hadnt changed much here and the processes are still manual and that there is a lot of data entry, a lot of, well, everything. And that I had to be up to the work get it dont no one would be able to help and I, well, just had to do it, and if I didnt I would get fired...
We talked about the good old days...and as I sold myself as the perfect account rep, I remembered back...the scary old building in the worst part of LA... the paperwork sometimes stacks of it three and four feet high on tissue thin rice paper, thousands of pages. The hundreds of Customs documents that I had a support clerk type. Some of this sort of drugery is being done by brokers, but there was still the massive amounts of data entry that they expected me to do now in 2007, where is EDI when you need it? They arent at the point where they are using yet...Turth is that they cant afford the computer systems that it takes to run this operation the way it could run... "Well," I thought, "Everything needs a chance to grow.."
I had a dream over last weekend, that I was still living in my little house in the industrial section of Downey california...500 yards from a railroad crossing where some evenings, from the chair I loved to sit in every chance I got on the little front porch, I could see accorss the way, on the trains moving past me, the rail containers that I had loaded that day, now loaded rail cars bound for points east... At night, the sound of empty rail containers rumbling would wake me. They rattled as they were pulled over those same tracks and made the sharp turn around the corner to yet another transloading firm, one I was to work for eventually. I saw myself getting up and driving into downtown LA where I would watch my freight being unloaded...touching it,caring about it like one would care about a child... supervising the fragile computers from Japan, the sweaters and High end clothing from Hong Kong and Leather Jackets from Korea, and shoes from China being unloaded and reloaded back into aircraft,rail or over the road containers, bound for the East, to places I never thought that I would see in this life, but have now. Chicago, New York, Charlotte,even Bentonville, Arkansas...who would have thought that I live there now...
I was happy then. I had a "trade" I was proud of. I was fufilled in my ministry at my church, and I was a dutiful daughter to my parents, spending time with them, with no one in my life that thought that was "excessive". My life was very full and I was satisfied with that. Or so I thought...
I have realized in recent weeks that much of my pain and difficulty in life right now is due to an innate desire to turn back the clock, to November 18, 1995. I have called that the last happy and innocent day of my life. It was the day I married Woody. Nothing was the same after that. Our marriage was stillborn upon delivery that night... When I returned from the wedding trip, my accounts had failed and left the firm I was working for, my church had split and I was the target of rumor and gossip as I was asked to leave the ministry.My health failed and within six weeks I was so ill that I couldnt function. I was dying of a broken heart. I know this now.
Everyday brought new agonies...the gossip got very ugly,friends stopped calling. my one friend that really stuck by me dropped dead of heart failure at age 49. I was devestated. I was not able to find a place where I could worship in peace. Years later in Hawaii a friend, also a Calvary Chapel pastor knew of the incident...It followed me to other denominations in the area. I couldnt work, and my body was covered with hives the size of dinner plates that reoccured every 8 hours. And Woody dispised me. Sometimes there would be days were all we could talk about together was the hurts inflicted by others that only made my life worse... like picking at sores until the fester and scar...I have come to realize that my life is one huge scar.
One of the things I was taught early in my Christian walk is that when things are going badly...when you cease hering the Voice of God... you should go back to the last time you did think you were doing God's will and start from there. I realized that I have been trying to do that. But its wrong as I know that God has been guiding and I have been following all of the time. Its me that is flailing about in the dwelling in the past and not looking forward
Three weeks ago they played a film version of Mitch Alboms "For One More Day
" the Lead character, Chick, is filled with pain and regreat and yet when giving a chance to recover a vestage of his former glory as a baseball player, he tells the father that had demanded so much yet abandoned him as a child, and had pushed him to fufill his own dreams of being a baseball player...."Dad stop it...Im done with that, you want me to go back to a place where I have already been...." The whole thing riveted me as I realized that was what I have been trying to do and need to try to stop.
You cant go back to a place that you already have been
I was upstairs at the Night Dispatch Christmas party, which is just across the hall from International. I slipped out and went into the office. I looked at the desks and saw the desk of the woman that would be leaving on maternity leave and not comming back. My future desk...I saw the piles of vessel files each with mutiple shipments in them. All of the handwriting...listing the different processes, just as I used to write on my files years ago. Our roots are the same. The people that trained her were trained by the same people that trained me. I closed my eyes and saw the files of documents in my hands those many years ago. I could hear the sounds of voices yelling at me that I needed to redo something or that I had an hour to get a document back from customs...or that shipments were late and ads were running for the goods in a week. I remembered a horrible afternoon when I had made a mistake and allowed a shipment to be loaded on an eastbound truck that didnt have customs clearence on it and how I crept down the stiars to the ladies room and how I knelt down on the filthy floor and prayed that God would do a miracle and he did by sending that customs document back to me signed off later that afternoon. I have worked many double and triple shifts and felt threatened with the lose of my livelihood if I didnt perform perfectly...
I dont want to go back to that, there is no need to go back to that. I am at a much better place and I really need to embrace it. I let the International group know that I am withdrawing my name from consideration. This news led to a conference in HR where I told them that I felt threatened and over burdened even before I have the job, even before they know what I can do they are bossing me. That is horrible
I realized that I had cold feet about starting my new venture and I realized that my cold feet about leaving thisplace and starting my own business has more to do with money than nerve. I am at a tough place in the business plan, crunching numbers and seeing how it will all work. I have figured out that I need about 25,000 more, so I am looking for a Salie Mea loan to fill some of that gap. It will pay for my training and my expenses while in Louisville, and leave me more money for startup
Everyone fears the unknown. I am very normal in this experience. And I have the experience to know that the start up of a new business is never easy. Im glad that I weighed all of my options and that I am staying the course. I have also closed the door on this chapter in my life and will from now on try to look forward and live in the now.
This pondering and planning has crimped all of my activities this Season. If you want to check out some of my best writing ever check out the month of december 2004
in the archives. I wrote some great Christmas posts there. Its ok to wax nostalgic, just dont dwell in it. It is my hope to begin to write more in 2008, and to experience a burst of creative energy...
Labels: Breaking News, Business start up, Current Events, Dreams, Faith, Family History, Marriage, Woody, working