Down the Chute

I realized I’ve never talked about what I do on here. And since this post is going to talk about leaving that job possibly, I probably should go into it briefly.

Call it what you will–nanny, baby-sitter, “in-home child-care provider”–I take care of kids for a living. Two kids, to be precise. Two babies, actually. Today, Graham, the baby, turns one, and I doubt his mother is much more surprised and saddened by how fast time goes by than I am. I started watching Graham and his big sister Eden last July. So, for over 9 months, I have watched these two grow and learn. Edy wasn’t yet two when I started, she spoke in one or two-word sentences and she had a very round squishy face. Graham was still technically a newborn the day I met him: he couldn’t lift his head, he had that flat, googly-eyed-ness that lingers for a while after being squeezed through a tunnel much too small for your cavernous head. Now she talks…a lot…all the time, and her face is more oval than round, and she’s potty-trained, and she says a whole bunch of the snarky things I didn’t even realize I say around her. And he is one today, and he is walking, and he knows some sign language. *gasp*

Nothing makes you take notice of your own aging as watching other humans–particularly tiny humans–change before your very eyes.

Anyway, I’ve been watching them for a while now. And while he is a little tornado with a quest to destroy everything and meddle in everything and slobber on EVERYTHING, and she is two going on 17 with that attitude and hardheadedness of her, I love them more now than ever. (For the record, let me say I love them like an aunt or a big sister or…a nanny. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep a certain distance when I took the job and…I have. Huzzah.) But in loving them so much, it’s easy to think about sticking around. But I don’t want to stick around, not for any significant amount of time. Because if I stick around too long, then I’m stuck. And that CANNOT HAPPEN.

So a while back I told myself I’d leave in the fall. Edy will be going to school so she won’t need me so much, and their parents (who, I need to say, are great people) cannot afford both a full-time nanny and preschool, so it’d be a good time to make a clean break. That gives me 4 months to find something else or get into a school or…something. I was totally content to ease into the change.

Until last week.

My dear friend told me about some jobs at a company–that I will not name because I am selfish and do not want you to apply for the jobs, too–that would be perfect for me. And I heard her, I listened to her describe the great environment and the interesting view they have of the world and how that would mesh well with my unique outlook, blah blah blah, but I was still sort of blowing her off. I was all, “But I’m finally content with where I am and I’m not itching to get out, like, tomorrow, so…” Word vomit.  I was just talking. Whatever.

But I looked into the company, and the jobs, and I thought, “Oh! God, I have an awesome friend who I totally blew off. I suck!” because, damn, she was right. So I applied for a couple jobs knowing I’m not technically qualified even if  I’d kick ass at them anyway, and was ready to just start casually looking into new jobs. A good, “No rush, but 4 months will fly by so let’s start now” sorta mindset.

THEN. Oh, but then. Then I read about one job at this still-unnamed-because-you-need-to-stay-the-fuck-away-from-my-dream-gig company, and my world stopped. And suddenly I was ready to say goodbye to the babies and my house and Michigan and get up and go to (I won’t even say the city because I’m that much of a shellfish) to *&^%$#@ and start a new great life at this new great job. I haven’t wanted anything that bad–rather, this bad–in a long time. I just…I knew that I couldn’t just apply for this job. I had to do everything in my power to get it.

The problem with wanting something that bad is, you start taking yourself way too seriously. I wrote all my writing samples up and was very pleased and was ready to send it along with a kiss and a hope but some part of me spoke up and said, “Wait!” So I did. I waited. And I edited, and then I deleted a whole section of writing with no way to turn back and no new idea, and I waited.

Now, this waiting only spans a couple days, but it felt like an eternity. And in the working world, a job can be there on Monday and be gone come Tuesday, so I was really risking just complete doom by waiting that long.

So last night comes, and I’m not working on my application, and the boyfriend is asking me, “Are you going to send in that job app or what?” and I just keep hiding my nose in my book. But then my book grew a hand, which then reached out and slapped me in the face. The book is Bossypants by Tina Fey (go buy it! Tina, I’m plugging your book! You owe me!) and it was some kinda bat-shit cosmic something that made me read this quote mere moments after the boy bugged me.

I read this:

“You have to try to be at the top of your game and improve every joke you can until the last possible second, and then you have to let it go.

You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.”

It was…spooky. I’ll say this, the job involves humor, so this wasn’t just spooky because of the general message of just do it. No, this was spooky because it was dead on. I blinked at the page a couple times, and then I announced to the boy that I would finish the application and send it tomorrow.

Well tomorrow is actually today, and I sent it. I edited my writing, I wrote a whole new section, it made me chuckle, and I pressed send. And as scary as it was, “letting go” actually made this a much easier process. A day ago, I would have been sitting here, wracking my brain, wondering if I should have said something more, something less, something crazier, something saner, something…else. But I decided to let go. I did the best I could, and I am happy with that. And I actually think that I deserve this job, too. It’s scary, but I’m letting myself think about what it will be like to go to a job where I don’t get bitten, drooled on, screamed at, sat on and generally used as a bean bag chair that can make mac ‘n cheese. (I love those children, I really do, but they sure know how to beat me up.) And now if I don’t get the job, I won’t spaz about it.

OK, I’ll be upset for a while, but it won’t end my world.

Ms. Fey communicated something very important to me: not everyone is going to like what you write (not that I haven’t always known this, it’s just a good refresher). Not everyone is going to find you witty or intelligent or even coherent. So doing your best is important, but in the end, someone is going to think you failed. So as long as you don’t think you’ve failed, just let go. Go down the fucking chute already.

I went down the chute. It was fun.

Thanks Tina.


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