It’s been four months since my last entry. Looking back at my notebook and the number of blog posts I wrote and ultimately decided not to publish, I realize just what an emotional roller coaster it’s been and how different my life was one month, six months, a year…a day ago. Life’s moving quickly despite this seemingly endless winter.
There’s nothing like starting a new job to strip you of your confidence, whether it’s your dream job or a waitressing gig. Everything is new; nothing comes easy. I relied on the kindness of coworkers and the support of family and friends to get me through it. On rare days, I left sighing a relieved, “Ok, I can do this.” More often than not, I left shakier than when I started. I couldn’t sleep because my mind wouldn’t stop racing. I couldn’t eat because my nerves were so bad that my stomach was clenched into a perpetual knot. I googled “panic attacks” and rushed to the bathroom at regular intervals to slow my breathing. In an all-time low, I broke down on the 1 train headed to Times Square. Big, gasping, runny-nosed sobs.
Over time, though, I started to become more comfortable and confident that I would eventually be able to do my job. In that time I managed to somehow build valuable friendships and not screw anything up too badly. And my bosses started to trust me. (I think I hid my anxiety pretty well–one way in which acting has turned into a life skill. I just acted like what I thought an assistant in an office would act like in a play.)
And something else happened–I started to fall in love with Workman. The kind of love you complain about over a drink with a coworker, but only because you care. Because Workman is family. Because every Amazing Cow, Plush Piggy, Page-A-Day Calendar, Brain Quest deck, and What to Expect I see in stores makes me feel proud and protective. Aside from random, short-lived jobs, I have a history of loyalty when it comes to the workplace (which is why I always stayed longer than I should have). Four years at MASSBANK, five at Cheers, etc.
I could be a lifer.
And I love it–love being a part of the book world. I wasn’t sure about starting in sales, but if I had started out as an editorial assistant I would be in a corner somewhere, editing calendars and going through the slush pile. Instead, I email one of the most feared and respected women in publishing on a regular basis (Sessalee H., for those of you in-the-know). I may only be an assistant, but I have the two largest accounts in the company on my shoulders, hence a lot of money and make-or-break sales that I’m a part of. It’s a lot of responsibility–I wasn’t completely crazy to be as overwhelmed as I was. But my bosses appreciate me, and I’ve been praised by people who matter, which keeps me grounded and makes it all worth while. Now, instead of feeling like people are looking at me like the scared new girl, they’re starting to look at me like the hard-working newcomer who’s making a name for herself.
And that’s a role I love to play.
Thank you for your patience. Your love. Your support. For not caring that I sent my thank-you notes months late (or not at all). For understanding when I didn’t answer calls or emails for days or weeks at a time. For talking me through the panic attacks and the Sunday-night freak-outs. Even though work is still my top priority, I finally feel like I can be good at my job and have a life.
Just because it came out really cool, here’s a video my friend Phil made for our Papertoy Monsters book: