Friday, March 6, 2020



I don't know what it's like not to work. I will soon find out. My work life has been a meandering road. I endured some uncomfortable situations and experienced unexpected highs. I had a laissez faire attitude toward work in my early twenties, likely because I possessed no skills other than the ability to type and a quick mind. A job was a job. If I hated my current one, I'd find another. They all paid little above minimum wage, so my gauge was whether I could tolerate it and the people who worked there (the deal-breaker was usually the people). I tried retail (and liked it); I tried secretarial (and despised it). I lucked into a hospital position that last eight glorious years; all in all my favorite all-time job.

In 1990 I tried desperately to secure a position with a health insurance company that'd decided to expand its operations to the far-flung prairie; sat on a stool in my garage and smoked and practiced answering interview questions. I hated my current position and was desperate to escape it. My only calling card was a knowledge of medical terminology gained during my years at St. Alexius. I knew nothing about processing insurance claims. They only hired me because one of their initial choices dropped out and I was first runner-up. During the three weeks I waited for a phone call, after I'd grown despondent, I silently accepted my woeful lot in life as a farm records secretary. When the call finally came, Mister Sun beamed through my plate glass window. I didn't know nor care what claim processing entailed; just that I'd been delivered. Somehow I knew this was where I belonged.

Thirty years later, I'm still in the medical insurance game. I went from claims examiner to assistant supervisor to supervisor to manager, backsliding at my next company to examiner and then upticking to trainer. When I accepted the job with my current employer, I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I was punching below my weight. But being a manager, honestly, simply meant juggling balls in the air. I thought I was a phenom, when in fact I was just "capable".

I've been a trainer for seventeen years. As one ages, they settle and make the most of the tableau offered. I made the most of it. As an extreme introvert, I'm amazed at how I managed to mentor people. I still don't quite understand it, but maybe that's one of the little things we accept with humility and tuck in our pocket.

Soon all that will end. I'm not certain I want it to. Why am I ambivalent about retiring? Isn't this what all of us yearns for? I think maybe I'm afraid of what comes next. Will my brain wither and die? I don't feel old. Shoot, I'm still writing my novel! Will I grow fat and plop myself in front of the TV all day? I need a plan. A goal. Sixty-five-year-olds can still have goals, you know. I don't feel a day over sixty.

I will let you know as soon as I know.

Thus the story continues...

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