I have been mentally attempting to write this post for approximately 4 1/2 months now. I still don’t feel present or committed, but I needed to declutter my mind, and finally getting closer to wrapping up Jobs I’ve Had will hopefully help. It’s the kind of thing that cures for a moment that angst of not being in control of when what happens in my life.
So here we go ~ a little over a year ago, I quit my job at a staffing agency, and secured a job through a different staffing agency. In addition to on-boarding me as a candidate, this particular agency wanted to see if I was interested in taking on the same job i’d just gotten sick of and quit for the same amount of money. In not so many words, I was basically like, nah I’m good. But I did need at least a contract gig to at least pretend to contribute to the expenses of paying rent and moving. Which was honestly so freaking stressful. This morning I listened to some of the old school Citizen Cope songs I downloaded last summer and felt that familiar comfort of God’s present faithfulness in the cold ‘summer’ air of Berkeley, CA. I swear, we’re on some Southern hemisphere seasons around here.
Anyways, everything about the placement I agreed to through the staffing agency was evidently Orchestrated and helped me experientially see that God is faithful. Certain other details helped me remember that He is also kind. For example, there was the fact that it wasn’t full time, so I got to still process life in the ways that are easiest for me to do so ~ ways that working 35+ structured hours a week doesn’t always leave room for. Also, it was on Cathedral Hill, which meant an epic view from the upstairs break room, and ready access to St. Mary’s Cathedral before/after my shifts if I so desired.
It also meant sketchy walks through the Civic Center BART station and up Polk and even further up Eddy in shoes that quickly became broken in by the classically infamous topography of San Francisco.
It was one of those contract positions where they just got someone because they were overwhelmed, and kind of knew what needed to be done, but ultimately understood that everything was just going to be a hot mess for a little while. Which was totally fine with me. I’m well versed in those kind of scenarios. “Battle tested” as my new BFF Christina would say. ha. So I go interview and they love me and it seems like a good enough fit and I enter data for a few hours a day. And sat around not *actually* doing much of anything for another hour or so. And then I pulled an Amelia Bedelia which ended up giving me plenty of work to do for a couple of days, but wasn’t entirely my fault in my unnecessary defense. haha
The HR team was updating their database, and clearing out old physical files, and I misunderstood what was happening to said files. In an attempt to be thorough and prudent, I unhinged and de-foldered a million employee records because I was under the impression that they were going to be shredded. In walks Andy which a mix of panic and amusement, thinking I’m the one that’s going to be upset when he manages to communicate that the shredding boxes only say shredding but will actually be storaged away somewhere because of some random HR rules I only half remember. But even a year ago God had wrought extraordinary patience in me, so I just set about steadily correcting my mistake. And then I got a pretty ‘significant’ filing injury in my hand and claimed that I needed to take the rest of the afternoon off because after all I was a musician and I couldn’t afford to be injuring my appendages over old non-profit employee files. In so many words. ha. I honestly wasn’t that dramatic, but I was legit like, this isn’t going to work for me. haha
Filing is a hazardous task, yall. Even without slicing my hands and fingers on the metal accoutrements of overly efficient folders, there is the muscle strain of digging through file cabinets that are stuffed to their physical limits with wads of paper, and the various ways you have to hunch and twist and curve your spine to get to the files that can’t be readily reached.
Aside from the financial aspects and the mini adventure of having somewhere to be four days of the week and traipsing to an area of the city I probably would never have willingly gone to otherwise, the relationships I made with the HR team were also timely and agreeable. God has really given me favor in all of the 9-12 jobs I’ve had, such that even if only after a few weeks, everyone seems genuinely fond of me and somewhat sad to see me go.
There is a liberating denouement to working contract jobs. And it was there on Cathedral Hill as my contract was nearing its end that I decided I would never work in San Francisco again. So far, that has held up. Though there are moments when I envy a commute-less life by Ocean Beach, I honestly don’t anticipate that in my foreseeable future; and anyways, I still don’t want to ever work in San Francisco again, not really. Not unless I’m playing my music at the Independent. Which still has a chance of happening despite my workers compensation unworthy filing damages.
During my stint on Cathedral Hill, I was also working as a free lance english/essay tutor for an adult student at UC Berkeley. That was actually a really interesting experience because I felt sort of thrown into the whole ordeal, but also believed myself to be capable of helping due to my personal academic successes in English and the Humanities.
My student was taking a sociology class on disabilities, which was personal to her because of her own learning challenges that had only recently been given language and justification.
We worked around her schedule as a student and my schedule of working on Cathedral Hill to go over her class notes and crank out her papers. I think it was actually a good exercise for me in many ways, but also because I got to represent God’s love to her regularly. Because of the content of her sociology classes, there were a lot of authentic moments of evangelism in our conversations as I shared what my personal worldview was with regard to human dignity and worth. At some point, she sent me the sweetest text message saying that she had been blessed by the light and patience in me and could tell that I had God’s love in my heart. That was one of the nicest things everyone had said to me in quite some time, and was radically unexpected.
That exchange was particularly moving because I had just been praying at St. Mary’s Cathedral that I would have opportunities to be gentle and to decrease so that God could increase [#HE>i]. I also realized that in an attempt to be respectful and compassionate in previous jobs I’d had, I had become much less vocal about the most important aspect of my life, which is my relationship with Jesus.
Some of our best conversations happened with the laptop closed and a frozen treat from yogurt park. At the end of the semester, she was accepted into an exchange program and ended up heading out to Australia. I ended up having a mocha with her daughter and chatting about life for a bit.
I am so in love with God and His intricate stories. In a way, I’m glad that I’m just now getting around to this, because I needed to be reminded of His brilliance today.
And He is brilliant.