Friday, September 21, 2012

A Year of Gratitude: Day Three Hundred Twenty-eight

Day 328 – Power in Numbers

There is something to be said for group functions: to be surrounded by people with whom you share common interests and attitudes creates a greater ease.  One is not concerned with fitting in, or with appearances.  You just are.

Such has been my day.  I didn’t do anything special.  I kibitzed with friends old and new, and had a very relaxing day in the Palm Springs sun.  Spending this time among a number of friends has been exactly what I needed: a respite from a newly-hectic world where I don’t even have my rhythm yet.

I’m feeling good today.  Really good.

A Year of Gratitude: Day Three Hundred Twenty-seven

Day 327 – Palm Springs

After work, I went to Palm Springs and started the weekend with dear friends – friends from Portland that I had met in Palm Springs, and other great guys from different parts of the world - for a semi-annual gathering.  Though the location was the same, the people were the same (with a few extras), and the weather was the same, this time was completely different for me.  I was different.  I was employed.

I left work a bit early (pre-arranged) to avoid the traffic, and made it in spectacular time.  It was wonderful to be embraced once again by such a wonderful group of people.  And now that I live only 90 minutes from Palm Springs, I kept coming back to the thought of how easy it will be to visit with the friends who live here.  Wow… so much has changed in such a short period.

How lucky I am to be able to spend time with quality people in a great location, and just have some fun without wondering about the job search or how I was going to make ends meet.  Again, all I can say is "Life is good."

A Year of Gratitude: Day Three Hundred Twenty-six

Day 326 – Sunshine and Smiles

One of the things I missed about Southern California during my time in Portland was the daily sunshine.  I wasn’t as hung up on the rain and gray of the Pacific Northwest, but I recognize the positive effect that sunshine has on me.  It brings a smile to my face.

Of course, working again has also brought smiles to me – from others I now work with and in the mirror – and it feels really good.  Yes, I’ll have to get accustomed again to figuring out traffic patterns (and how to avoid the worst of them) as my routine settles in, but in this moment, I’m going to celebrate the sunshine and smiles.  They have been hidden behind the clouds long enough.

A Year of Gratitude: Day Three Hundred Twenty-five

Day 325 – Financial Advice

I trust my financial advisor.  Roberto has been willing to offer advice and ask questions even though I had no income to manage.  He has been supportive in my “worst of times.”  We had a conversation today about what I can look forward to, and discuss “next steps.”

The idea that I will soon be saving money is less important than the fact that I have a knowledgeable friend who will help me regardless of whether he’ll get paid for his advice.  He and his business partner are clearly interested in my success for my sake as much, or more, than for their own.  I am grateful for friends like this. 

It’s nice to be able to discuss what to do with an income again.

A Year of Gratitude: Day Three Hundred Twenty-four

Day 324 – Benefits

Today begins my eligibility for my employer-supplied benefits – health, dental and vision insurance, 401K, and all the rest.  Yes, this is “day 2” of my employment.  It seems unbelievable, but I got lucky here – the university’s benefits policy is to start benefits the first day of the first full month of employment.  That would be today. 

There is a mild sense of relief.  I know that it will take some time to set everything up since I barely started – I haven’t even had my first meeting with our benefits specialist!  But knowing that I’m covered and would get reimbursed if anything happens now feels good.  I’m grateful that Brandman has made some choices that are clearly in the best interests of its employees, and where that interest for the employee comes before the benefit to the organization.  This is the way it ought to be.

Life is good today.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Year of Gratitude: Day Three Hundred Twenty-three

Day 323: Work

Today was my first day of work.  It was surreal.  After more than three years of being out of work and wanting to work, and wanting this day more than just about anything else, here I was.  I was nervous and excited in ways I had never been with other jobs or other times in my life.  In fact, it felt rather odd.

I went through the necessary "stuff" to get started as an employee; my orientation would be pretty simple (not exactly what I would create as an on-boarding plan, but we'll see).  I was shown my cubicle - right outside my boss' door - and told that I'd eventually be moving into the cube next to it, which was slightly larger and right next to my co-worker.  We had to wait for IT to move my computer and set things up.

The best news was to find out that my benefits (insurance, etc.) would start on the first full day of the first full month of employment.  That would be tomorrow!  How often do you start a job with immediate benefits?  I was amazed.

I don't think my feet ever really touched the floor, though I was aware that nothing is perfect.  I was just so glad to be working again.  I'm on board - let's get this ride going!