Monday, August 5, 2013

"P" is for Preparedness... and Providence.

Mi amor and myself enjoying the sun in Providence...

 "Fortune favors the prepared mind." Louis Pasteur

It is absolutely incredible how once a concept or idea enters your brain, you can become fixated on it, so that as life happens around you, you’re able to find a million connections to that exact concept that you normally wouldn’t notice. It’s the same way that reading your horoscope always feels as if it perfectly applies to your current circumstances. Or just like when you start watching a new television show or hear a new song and suddenly everyone and their mother is talking about it.

I’ve recently been thinking a great deal on the plans we make for ourselves and how, in reality, planning is just about the biggest waste of time. Of course, since I began contemplating the (f)utility of planning, my life has become a roller coaster of events with plans quickly being made and, almost as quickly, flying out the window.

Planning. .. ridiculous.

Sure, one should plan to go to college, or plan to spend a certain amount of money next month, or plan a vacation to visit the family. But no matter how much you plan, who knows what the next month, week, or day might bring - shredding all your plans and tossing them in the garbage like another crappy credit card offer.

Yes, if the last six months – hell, the last six days - has taught me anything, it has taught me that planning is for the birds. 

Preparedness, on the other hand, seems to be the life skill to cultivate in oneself.

Certainly, planning is a key part of preparedness. One can plan for the best and plan for the worst, thus being equally prepared for either outcome or a happy medium. But there seem to be times when no matter how much imagination one has, planning for the worst case and best case and in-between scenarios just cannot help you when the events take a turn for such an extreme of the unexpected that there is nothing left to do but simply shrug your shoulders, sit back and watch the scenery fly by. I guess the other big part of preparedness is the ability to roll with the punches, finding the best in every situation, and readjust without much discomfort (whatever the word is for that).

I’m beginning to think that I may just come out of this year as an expert in the art of preparedness.
In the last few weeks I’ve been attempting to plan the next few months with less information than I need, an optimistic attitude, and realistic expectations of the worst case, best case and in-between scenarios. 

Knowing my wonderful boyfriend was in negotiations for an almost as wonderful as he job in the exciting city of Providence, RI, I decided I better get on top of the job hunt if I was planning on joining him in his North Eastern adventure, as he so hoped I would.

I had already decided months earlier that while South Korea, a potential destination for myself this fall, would have been an excellent opportunity for my seven months ago single self, it was now out of the question. I know all too well that an experience like that would turn into a half-life if I attempted to maintain a serious relationship overseas, and I’d rather travel and work abroad with a wonderful friend and love by my side than all by my lonesome.

So I began searching in the Providence and Boston area for full time jobs that would take me out of the restaurant industry and back into the field of education that I so sadly left in Washington.

Lo and behold, I was able to quickly find a dream first(ish) job in Boston, only an hour commute by train from Providence, working for a non-profit, study abroad focused division of a privately owned, international education company. Jackpot! I luckily had a recently refined resume and cover letter to send the company and within the same day had a phone interview scheduled. 

My first and second interview came and went quickly and I found myself giving tentative notice at the restaurant I’ve been spending 40+ hours a week at. I pondered briefly whether or not I may be jumping the gun, however, my love’s negotiations had, by that time, turned into a full-fledged offer and acceptance, and as a northbound move was in my near future, job or no, giving my current employers a heads up couldn’t hurt. This thought process could have been justification and self-comfort for hasty decision making, or maybe that attitude of “I’ve already got the job” which I’m told helps you actually land the job, but whatever it was, it was as much planning and preparedness as I could accomplish with so little to go on.

My love and I quickly scheduled a four day trip to the Providence area, with one day dedicated to my final interview in Cambridge and exploration of Boston, and found ourselves, in the midst of packing and storing all of our belongings, dramatic family events, financial stress and work overload, jetting up to the city we will soon be calling home.

I would be lying if I said this was a carefree adventure in which my love and I were able to wander aimlessly through parks and beautiful cityscapes enjoying the sun and blue skies…

We were on a mission.

There was indeed sun and blue skies, which made the mission more pleasant, but there were also countless U turns, a constant stream of coffee supplied by Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner, mini naps in our car rental on the side of the road, hours of debate about the value of purchasing a house versus purchasing a condo versus renting, hundreds of new street names and neighborhoods cataloged in our brains as desirable or non-desirable, very little eating, lots of rushing to different meetings, creeping on properties for sale that we couldn’t get inside of… the list goes on and on…

I am so happy that I am experiencing all of this at Robert’s side.

As much stress as there was leading up to the interview, looking at houses, and everything else that this trip entailed, my love kept me smiling and laughing as best as he could considering the exhaustion and moodiness that overtakes me when kept in a car all day, not fed regularly, talking about decisions and not making any, and/or kept from sleeping. I tried my best in turn to do the same, although he certainly bested me.

Robert was particularly heroic in helping me figure out how the heck to print copies of my resume in the correct format from the hotel apple computer just hours before we were meant to head into Cambridge. I was completely useless, as my patience and intelligence had been eaten up by interview preparation, nerves and fantasies of not getting the job and having to commute to Boston to continue working 14 hour shifts at the sister restaurant of that which I am currently employed. He, my sexy nerd hunk, was of course able to figure it out and send me on my merry way with three perfect copies of my resume (which I didn’t end up needing).

The interview, three hours long, went spectacularly. I was more concerned about getting distracted by the pretty view of Cambridge and fun décor of the office than whether or not I would be able to answer the questions correctly. There were a few points I stumbled on, but overall I must have impressed everyone, because they offered me the job in person by the end of the interview. The terms are perfect, the job is perfect, the location is perfect, and I’m perfect for it all. There is no way around it.

So now, I Boston/Cambridge bound in less than two weeks, to begin working a brand new job, in a brand new place, in which I can count the people I know on one hand.

There is definitely no way I could have planned this, but boy am I happy that everything seems to be falling into place.

I did have a bit of a freak out moment (one could say a freak out day… or two) when everything set in. Immediately I began trying to plan every minute of the next two weeks, money, transportation, time with people I needed to see, what it would be like when I got up there… it was all a bit overwhelming, stressful, and took the fun and excitement out of getting the job and the move.

Just long enough for me to remember all this thinking about planning and preparedness I’ve been doing.

Because as I frantically searched for affordable temporary housing, a friend’s home opened to me. And as I worried about working too much or too little and money, my work graciously allowed me an open schedule to pick up and take off when I wanted and needed. As I began feeling saddened about leaving friends and family I wanted more time with, I found them all reaching out to me, helping me, and making time to see me before I leave.

Once again, the plans (or attempt) weren’t even necessary… all I seem to need is a bit of preparedness for the good, the bad, and the somewhere in between.

1 comment:

  1. Great advice. Really happy for you Rachel!