I cannot describe my joy and relief last week when I got an offer for a job on this side of the river! My current job was so far away, and the management was pretty poor. They were piling more and more work on us, had us scheduled out for months ahead, and so many things overlapping and getting bumped, I just had no confidence in our being able to keep up and do the jobs well. The last few jobs had gotten particularly rushed and sloppy, and they were just pushing more. I was dreading the upcoming crush of overlapping projects, and suddenly knowing that was all off my plate was an un-describably weight off my shoulders.
Of course there’s also the wasted time every day spent waiting for buses and sitting in traffic. Time I could be home enjoying hobbies, exercising, or just being at home! And the job had a very weird culture. No one was supposed to have anything personal on their desk, not even family pictures. People didn’t talk to each other when they passed in the hallway or on the street. The people were nice, but there was hardly any socializing. I was seated far away from my teammates, which made me feel sort of out in left field. I spent my days with my headphones on (thank goodness they allowed that) chugging my way through project tickets. Then I’d pack up my kindle and head for the long bus ride home.
Walking in Old Town Portland creeped me out. I saw people smoking crack pipes under the parking structure stairwells I had to walk by. I chose to walk that route, because the other side of the block had drug dealers, or people sleeping in doorways. Some days people would be staggering zombie-like along the sidewalk, obviously under the influence. There was a bum who looked like Santa, and he would be on the same corner every morning. An old lady who’s gig was telling people she was diabetic and hadn’t eaten in days. A well dressed bum who worked the food carts I called ‘sharp dressed man’ who always needed 55 cents. You might mistake him for someone who was just short on change, if he wasn’t there working the crowd every day. I didn’t give anyone money, I always just said sorry. My first week down there I was followed for two blocks by an angry screaming lady, and I knew if I gave any of them anything, they would just want more the next time they saw me. The less interaction the better!
Walking up to the bridge was always a nice release. It felt wide open up on the bridge, and I could look back at the city, then choose to go rejoin it when I was ready. Probably the coolest thing that happened while I was down there was the angry bird protecting his nest by the bridge. He divebombed me a few times, then I’d go stand on the corner and watch him divebomb everyone else who went by!
I wonder if I’ll look back at this and wish I’d taken my camera with me more often? Hopefully I’ll remember how scary it felt, and I really didn’t want to lose my camera or have anything happen to it. Maybe I was just paranoid, but I wasn’t comfortable looking through the viewfinder without someone to watch my back.
But it’s all over now. Today I worked all day, stuffed my coffee mug in my backpack, and headed home. Thanks to the ‘no personal items’ rule it was a cinch to pack up and leave no trace. Monday I start my new job, and despite my weird luck with my last couple jobs, I have high hopes this will be a good one I will do well with and enjoy for many years to come – fingers crossed!