Thursday, July 19, 2012

I've Got Skillz - Mommy Skillz

If I look back over my years as a working woman, I find a lot of safety in those numbers.

During college I worked at the local newspaper during one summer. I also worked for years and years, starting in high school, at our local Barnes & Noble. After graduating college, I continued working at Barnes & Noble, and went back to the newspaper, this time full time and for many, many years (about 11 or 12).

I also began my love for tutoring during my senior year in high school. I have tutored on and off ever since.

After my downsize from the newspaper (they're not so much the "thing" anymore, if you didn't already know), I struggled to find employment, tutored where I could, and finally landed a good job with a great boss. Just she and I. Mostly just me. Managing her office. I'm still there and I still love this job, and my boss. It's a good fit for me.

But this job is only part time. I need more income than that. So I've continually stopped and started, struggled and glided into positions to fit my schedule and bring in more cash. I've written, I've receptioned, I've shipped & handled, I've office managed, and I've call centered. None of them, I have to admit, have been the best job ever. But I got the jobs, learned some new skills, met good people, saw how me and given job did & didn't fit, and finally left one way or another - some my call, some not so much.

And all along the way, all I really want to do with my life is be a mom. I know that job. I am great at that job! Please, just let me be a mom.

Yeah, well, that's great and all. But being a mom doesn't bring in the money.

Through all my varying work opportunities over the last several years, I have learned that I am pretty darn good at customer service. Huh?! Who knew? Shy, quiet ol' me. Me, who would way rather email friends and family than use the phone. But give me the phone and a desk and I can interact fantastically with the general public. I am friendly, warm and sympathetic. Tell me your troubles - I'll find a way to help you out.

And so, with that, I am heading back to work - in addition to my regular small office managing job - at the call center. No, it's by no means a glamourous job. I'll be making cold calls to hospital patients who are late paying their bills. But it's a good job that I am familiar with, I know I can do it well, and I really do get a great feeling being able to help those who are struggling find a way to pay down their bills through payment plans, financial aid, or just a friendly reminder to send out the check.

Plus, this job is a "leave it at the office" job if ever there was one. I go in, read the scripts, do the calls, and leave. No stress. Easy repetition. My kind of job. In fact, when I worked so many years at the newspaper, one of the reasons I loved my job there so much was the repetition of it. Sure, it was an important function of the paper (getting the classified section organized and printed), and it could be high level stress from time to time. But the basic operation of the work was the same everyday. I do well in positions like this. It's where I feel most comfortable.

And, the best part of all, is I'll have more time to do what I really want to do - be a mom. Sure, I'll be working most evenings until 8pm. But I'll always be home for bedtime. I'll have a couple daytimes a week off, good for scheduling doctors appointments, and if snow delays or cancellations of school happen this winter, I'll have morning hours to get Sweetie either settled elsewhere or choose to work from home for my office job. So happy that my boss there is very accommodating to my having both flexible work hours and location.

Oh - and another good thing... the call center offers full medical and dental benefits! WOOHOO!!! For 16 hours work a week, I can now, FINALLY, have good benefits. For myself, anyway. And boy do I need them! Oh, the doctors appointments I would schedule if only I had the benefits! Well now I can. And I'll have the flexibility of schedule to go to them. Yippee!

So, yes, you could definitely say that I like to play it safe in many areas of my life. I keep returning to places I'm familiar with, not one to make grand leaps of faith into entirely new opportunities. But you could also say that I know where my skills lie. I may not be CEO material. I'm probably not even a good candidate to manage the neighborhood Dunkin Donuts. But I do know how to interact with people. And I do know how to be a fantastic mom.

I choose to choose work opportunities that let me focus my energies and skills where they truly belong, where they really fit the best.

I choose to be Sweetie's mom.

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