Spoiler Alert: This one could get kinda sappy. But I have to tell you it could have gotten a lot sappier. Trust me on this.
I didn’t have such high hopes when 2012 started. Let’s look back a bit: I was working as a contract copy editor for Red Ventures at the time. The writing on my contract said the job would (or could) end in early February. I’d been told it would last through February. Considering the few bites I’d had from casting my resume out pretty widely since “my sabbatical” began in December 2009, I wasn’t very encouraged on the job front.
But pretty soon after we reported back to work – the office had shut down the week between Christmas and New Year’s, but as a contract worker that just meant I’d had a long stretch with no pay – we got the word: We were extended through at least March.
That meant I could concentrate on the cruise I’d given Karen for her birthday in September 2011 (pretty sneaky of me to give her a gift that I got part of, right). Particularly, it mean I needed to get a passport, because it would be my first trip outside the country (unless you count our trip to Baltimore a few years ago – but that’s a tale for another day). Anyway, I detailed the passport experience (as always, in excruciating detail, here).
In between all that, I got a nasty case of vertigo. My doctor warned me it could last weeks, even months. For once, though, I got a break. I was better in a very few days. Though the idea of the vertigo recurring, especially given that I wasn’t altogether sure about my sea legs anyway (there’s a seasickness story here that I’ll save for another day, too). Anyway, I’d signed up for the cruise to happen in mid-May, with the idea that I’d move it to later in the year if necessary.
In March, we found out that the contract would be extended for three more months. But this would almost certainly be the last extension. Would there be any permanent hires, I (and many others) asked. Not likely, my boss told me. Which would have been devastating. But I wasn’t too so sure. I thought that (a) she was preparing us just in case, or (2) she didn’t really know.
Things kept changing rapidly. The other two editors and I were told later that there probably would be jobs for a handful of writers but not for editors. Then that there might be jobs for editors. Then that there wouldn’t. Then that there would.
But very little definite info came out. So Karen and I did what we do: We went on with our lives. Specifically, we went on our cruise, which would take us from Charleston to the Bahamas and back. I detailed it here, but here’s the short version: We loved it. There was no recurrence of vertigo, and we had a great time that we really still haven’t stopped talking about. So if you don’t want to hear about it, don’t ask!
One of the best things about the cruise was that it put us incommunicado for a few days. When we got back, we found out that Red Ventures had sent out invitations for writer interviews among the contract workers. (I’d indicated interest in both writing and editing jobs.) I didn’t get an invitation. No problem, I thought. They didn’t send it because they knew I was on the trip.
Turns out I was wrong. They intentionally didn’t send one. “We think you’re a better fit for the editor position,” the explanation in my email said when I asked about it. Which made me feel good – at first. I mean, there was some rejection there. And the editor position was no sure thing.
A couple of days later, the invitations to interview for the editor job came out.
My co-worker Heather and I would be interviewing for positions – we didn’t know whether there was one or two or none. But we made a pact, and we stuck with it. We wouldn’t compete. Which is to say that we wouldn’t try to advance at the expense of the other. And we’d share any tidbit we got about the process. Our dream was that we’d both get hired. We stuck to that the whole way.
We interviewed, and nothing happened for several days. It felt like months. But finally, we had appointments to speak with the head HR person (reality check: it was only a week later). Heather’s was first; mine was in the late afternoon. Heather got her offer. I was overjoyed for her, but now I was really nervous. Finally, my time came.
I had to go upstairs. Susan took me into a meeting room. I noticed she had a folder in her hand. That was a good sign. Inside it was an offer letter, which she took out within a minute or so. She went over a lot of stuff after that. I didn’t hear any of it. I had a job. Since then, I’ve had some amazing things happen at work: The CEO stopped me one day to tell me he keeps hearing great things about me. A few days later, he invited me to sit at the big boy table beside him during a company meeting.
The job offer came at the end of May. But more good stuff would happen to me, too. In July, I reconnected with some old friends in Jacksonville at Potterpalooza, a ssort-of engagement party that my former boss Elliott Potter was throwing for his son, Jake. We got to see a lot of folks we hadn’t seen in years. And did I mention that we were at the beach!
We took another short beach trip with the kids later that summer.
And I still wasn’t done with traveling. In early December, my company took its annual trip. To the Caribbean. In this case, the Dominican Republic.
There was a little work: We had an awesome meeting the first day. I talked about it a little here, particularly about some lessons I learned, though I don’t think I mentioned the topless beach outside my hotel room. Or the casino. Or the hilarious videos my colleagues put together.
But I didn’t mention the other lesson I learned, which was how much I missed my family. Especially Karen. Because traveling just wasn’t as fun or interesting without her. We’ve grown so close it’s frightening. In a good way.
Something else fantastic happened, too. But it’s not my news to share.
But move over, 2012. Because 2013 is gonna blow your doors off. And I’m not talking about the cruise we booked, either.