The first day of my new life was less than eventful. I did not wake that morning smarter, better looking, or even richer. To anyone but me, that day was the same as the one before. But like I said, anyone but me.
Financial aide does not cover parking so we loaded the kids in the car and headed across town.
They dropped me at the curb, I kissed the kids goodbye, and they sped off to the zoo, or the splash park, but most likely Aldi’s. I shouldered my bag and headed for the new office.
Buildings were in fact ivy covered, I did spot some bow ties, and the man at the door of the building just waved me inside.
I sat through a meeting with an outside marketing company hired to help with a project. None of them questioned my right to be in the room. I was introduced to all the staff who worked on the floor, most were friendly, others were busy, none told me to go home. Then it came time for the scary part, the part where I would be told my role for the upcoming year. The moment where I would be asked to perform a task and then run the risk of exposing my ineptitude. The moment of truth.
I quickly scribbled down notes of my to-do’s, nodding agreement and understanding along the way. I was not completely there, I was acting. A huge manila folder containing a full ream of paper brought me back to reality.
I was to sift through the stack and check the raw data for errors.
I occasionally click on those generic web articles that pop-up with titles such as “Top Questions Asked In Job Interviews”, or “What Employers Look For Most”. Each time I do I see listed “attention to detail” as a priority and each time I reconsider the janitorial arts. It’s my Achilles heal.
That file was stuffed into my bag, bloated with apprehension. I did a little exploring, looking for a suitable place to expose my weakness (my assigned workspace is under construction).
I found a quiet spot to my liking, cleared my head, and dug in. That’s when I realized how this was going to be different.
I had assumed Ivy was different because it was harder. Maybe that’s true. I assumed Ivy would be different due to a competitive cohort. We will see. When I opened that file and started to dig in I experienced something I have never felt in my professional or academic life… I cared.
I flipped through pages and dug into data and realized that in this mess lay useful information. This was a huge pile of things I was interested in! I reopened my notebook and skimmed my to-dos and tasks, confronting me right there was how this was different. It was as if someone had looked at my resume, qualifications, skills, and interests, and from that information devised a list of things for me to do. In fact, that is exactly what had happened. I was no longer a widget.
This is going to be different.