Monday, January 16, 2012

Balancing Act

I've juggled a lot of responsibility at once in the past.  There were semesters when I was juggling 17 credits of unrelated coursework plus three hours a day of flute practice.  There were semesters when I was taking intensive language classes in two different languages (Hebrew and Arabic) while planning 50 minute lessons each day.  I've felt like a busy, busy girl through much of my school career.

Last year I was still busy, but time spent in lectures and seminars was quite low (six hours a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays only), and most of my time was devoted solely to research and writing.  I went from days of concentrated time for schoolwork to a demanding full-time job and thesis-writing squeezed in too....somewhere.  I'm not managing it very well.  I had six weeks of transition time while I worked a less-demanding full-time job at the same company.  It was strange how it all worked out:

I came home from England and needed to work.  I had drained our resources and it was time to start paying off the little student debt that we had occurred.  After my hospital fiasco and delayed essay submission, I searched another six weeks for a job.  I finally received two interview offers and was the runner-up for each.  Thankfully, one of them offered me a lower-paying job instead.  I was to be a non-sales caller at a call center.  I accepted it because they promised to let me search for jobs at the same time I was working for them.  If I needed time off to interview, I could take it.  I couldn't turn down payment to continue the hunt, so I signed on. Their ploy worked, of course, and I never did interview for another position, though I did search for other jobs on occasion.

Fate twists itself in funny ways sometimes.  I ended up getting the job I originally interviewed for.  They fired the woman they hired over me because she just wasn't getting it.  She struggled with the computer programs and consistently made serious mistakes.  She told me the day before she was fired that she would lay awake at night stressing about the job and wondering if she should quit.  She said that she'd decided to stick it out and that three months should be a reasonable learning time, right?  Poor woman. They promoted me to her position a few days later, and they've since given me just about every responsibility possible.  It's a young, growing company, so I now fill a myriad of roles:

  • I am a customer service representative who responds to phone calls and is one of two to answer the hundreds of emails that come in each day.
  • I am a billing and service term supervisor who answers any questions our clients have about their billing and contracts.  
  • I am the operations team liaison for the call center.  I work with the callers and the call center supervisors to solve problems, settle crises, call clients to answer questions the callers can't answer, bring caller mistakes to the attention of their supervisors, work with the call center supervisors to improve the call process, etc.
  • I am the sales representative coordinator (or something like that; I never can remember the official title) who does research and gathers materials before each sales meeting.  This week there are three meetings in the first three days of the week...
  • I am the company editor.  I have been asked to edit new contractual documents, the marketing website, fliers and brochures, emails from the company's president, case documents for legal disputes, and the new company survey.
  • I am the official website designer and company copywrite. I am writing all of the content for the new company website and have had a large hand in the design concept (mostly Dave's expertise, actually). 
  • I assist in client retention initiatives when needed, which means that I call clients whose terms are ending shortly to find out if they are interested in continuing and I call clients who have paused the service to find out if they are ready to continue. 
  • I assist in introducing and walking our clients through our company web program when they start up for the first time.

So the cool thing is that the company trusts me and I have a very big chance to help the company expand and improve.  The president and operations manager value my judgment and respect my opinions.  It is nice to feel important and needed.

On the very big other hand, work is not and cannot be my top priority right now. That list above does not represent 40 hours of work each week. It represents a whole lot more than that. I find myself coming home late each day, and my mind is still reeling with to-do lists and ideas for streamlining and improving the operations of the company.  It should be reeling with brilliant strokes of thesis inspiration.

That's when I roll my eyes at the cruel irony.  My call position was fairly straightforward, tedious work. But it was exactly eight hours a day, each day, and I always knew that if I needed to take three months off just to write, I could do it.  With this new position, not so much.  I can't take off a bulk of time to write, and it expends so much more energy and emotion each day.  It even expends much of my creativity and innovation! I'm enjoying my job, but I have sacrificed TOO MUCH for that Cambridge degree to let my starter job compromise my success in any way.  It makes me sort of sick to think about.

Of course I could quit at any time, I know that.  If I have to make the choice, my degree will come first, without a doubt.  If necessary, I may be able to negotiate some kind of part-time schedule for a little while.  I was preparing a lesson for my 16 and 17-year-old girls the other day, though, on following the example of Jesus Christ.  I didn't have to think long to know what the Savior would do in my situation.  He would work diligently during the day to fulfill the commitment He had made to His employers.  He would produce quality work throughout the eight-hour day and finish the tasks assigned.  Then He would return home and work with focus and diligence on the thesis.  He would wake up at 5:00 am every morning (like I've been theoretically trying to do) and not sluff-off the alarm and shimmy deeper under the covers.  He would work well during the time available and He would finish the thesis and finish it well.  It's a really good thing I believe He can help me do all that too, or I might be a tad-bit panicked right now.  I'm just gonna take it one five o'clock morning at a time...    

1 comment:

Gaylene said...

What a wonderful life... and very busy!! Good luck with your prioritizing. Also, I got your Christmas card BACK. Oops. It says insufficient address so I'm assuming there is supposed to be an apartment number which I don't have. Let me know what it is and I will send this to you again. We'll call it a Valentine's Card. :)

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