12 May, 2007

Lives Collide

One thing I came away with after last week in DC was that I am living a double life. On one hand I have my life in the world of Valour-IT and milblogging, which have taught me so much and allowed me to develop skills and connections that can lead to things like that interview. On the other hand I have my current job: entry-level childcare with an income that cannot sustain me in this part of the country, working for people who have a tendency to treat me like I'm a lazy good-for-nothing while I learn to just shut up and do my job without question, thought or creativity (using none of the skills I've developed in Valour-IT and milblogging).

Yesterday, those lives collided in my head. I worked a split shift, which meant I had five midday hours free. During that break I dashed down the freeway to meet up with Andi at the Convention Center and help with the SpouseBUZZ conference. It's a big event and both Military.com and USAA sent advance teams. I had just come off a day that included following up on pitching a big military support idea to Ward Carroll (he likes it) and dealing with two guys from USAA to finalize their corporate donation to Valour-IT.

Wearing ill-fitting jeans and my over-sized work-mandated T-shirt, I introduced myself as Andi's Flunky to those who asked--I'm not a MilSpouse and I was just there to do whatever she needed. Mid-morning, who should walk through the door but one of the USAA guys who was at the MilBlog Conference reception for the announcement of the donation! He was there to coordinate PR for the conference, and instantly remembered me. Hug-hug, kiss-kiss, and I'm confronted with the fact that I didn't imagine that weekend in DC; here I am standing on "my Coast" and something that only existed in what had been a separate world just crossed the divide.

And you know what the painful part was? At 1230 they all walked out on the patio to sit down for lunch and I went back up the freeway to be the idiot who's hanging on to her entry-level job by her fingernails.

Yeah, I cried. I'm okay now, and I've always known the dignity/value of every job and I don't have nearly enough arrogance or self-regard to think I should be treated any differently on the job than anybody else (absurd!). But I also know I'm currently in the wrong job/career for me, and so driving back up that freeway was hard.

Okay, pity party is over. As I said in an email to friends on Wednesday when the contrast between my employment situation and the events of last week was too much: Just suck it up and absorb the hits; it's not going to last forever. And after last week I know that, regardless of whether I get that particular job or not.

And so today I feed my soul and educate my mind... I'm off to SpouseBUZZ Live.

[See what I mean about how I've been preoccupied with everything that has happened in the last week-plus?]