It was yesterday, actually, but that’s not a good title. Twenty years ago on April 11th, on the eve of my 30th birthday, I was offered my first respectable full time job with benefits. It felt good to start a new decade in such a fashion. No more scrambling to make ends meet. No more running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to piece together freelance work and being under-employed and broke. The job offered stability, structure, and a place to belong. I loved it there and stayed for fifteen years. I made some lifelong friends. I had great managers and colleagues until the last year or so: it was a good run but I was ready to leave when they gave me the boot. I prefer my more bohemian lifestyle of freelance photography work but it’s not quite enough to reliably live on so, about six weeks ago, I set out to find a very flexible part time job.
When what you have to offer is friendliness and good will but you’re not the professional type it can feel daunting to find the right fit. Who will not mind my wearing of jeans and grey sweatshirt day after day? When I want to dress up I wear earrings and a little make up. Who will not mind my sometimes colorful language? Who won’t mind that I wear my heart on my sleeve publicly? Who will allow me the flexibility to take care of my children when they are sick and to switch my schedule around when a photo job comes up? Where will what I do matter in some small way for the greater good?
Someone I don’t know very well, but who is kind and friendly, read my ramblings and contacted me once she made her plans to vacate her part time job official. I asked her if she thought I should hide cautionary trails or take it down and she said no, this organization will more than likely celebrate who I am.
Exactly, to the day, twenty years later, on the eve of yet another big birthday, I was unofficially offered the very flexible and interesting 16 hour/week job she is leaving. Ask and ye shall receive. When I interviewed I felt like myself. When I unofficially accepted the job, one of the people sighed in relief and said, and I paraphrase, “Thank god, we really wanted someone GOOFY!”