You know how I hate goodbyes

Today was it.  My last day at AAA. It started normally enough: I woke up, ate breakfast, worked out, went to work, checked my voicemail and got down to it. They have a tradition of having “food days” for birthdays and departures, so I walked in to donuts and had chili-mac, cake, brownies, chips and dip, and cookies to look forward to for lunch (yes, yes, I know, but I’m allowed to splurge every now and again). The day went fairly quickly in contrast to the rest of the week.  Emotionally I started off ho-hum (because, really, I’m going to do the same thing somewhere else, just for more money. I’d be way more excited if I’d gotten out of claims), then grew more and more excited with each person who came by and reminded me that it was my last day, then, during the last hour, the sadness crept in.


AAA has been one big roller coaster ride. I was elated when I was offered the job in late March 2011.  By that point I was desperate for work and would have been elated with just about anything, but the job itself sounded interesting and it was with a large company with opportunities for future growth.  The first year was a whirlwind of learning the trade, bonding with my coworkers, and finding a way to make the job fun.  We were all on top of the world at our one-year anniversary lunch (I’ll never forget blasting Michael Jackson in the smart-car with Brian).  Sure, no one really liked working weekends and holidays, but we were all in it together and, somehow, that made it better.


Then came the catastrophe.  In one month, all the goodwill I’d held towards AAA was obliterated. Not only were we taken advantage of and treated horribly as a group (is it really too much to ask for expectations to be spelled out clearly?), I personally was disrespected by my manager in the most unprofessional way for daring to bring up a concern I had with what was going on and daring to request one day off each week (while she took three vacations in a ten week period). Shortly thereafter, my previously-promised promotion was magically taken away.


I stayed at AAA solely because of my Japan trip. True, after the catastrophe, once I settled back into a relief adjusting Monday-Friday role, things were better, but I’m one of those people who doesn’t forget. I knew that as soon as another catastrophe hit, everything would go to hell again.  When I was offered the opportunity to jump ship and join Sonja’s team, I didn’t hesitate.


I got lucky – Sonja was laid back and knowledgeable, and all of my team members were easy to get along with. I’ll always feel a special bond with the original weekend team (going through hell together from day one breeds closeness), but my new team was just as amazing.


I started looking for a new job within days of returning from Japan. No matter how amazing Sonja or my team was, I couldn’t forget how the company allowed the weekend team to be exploited. I couldn’t forget that Katie, a girl who had started after me and still asked me the most basic of questions, was given the promotion I had been promised, simply because she was best friends with our manager, who herself was unqualified for her promotion from HO adjuster to manager of a team of brand new auto adjusters. I couldn’t forget that the company based promotions solely on customer service surveys, not taking into account work quality or skill. I couldn’t work for a company like that.


That said, I’ll still miss the people- Amanda, Daniel, Jim, Sarah, Casey, Scott, Mark, Jason, Kristin, Sonja, Cynthia, and others whom I never got the opportunity to know well. The worst part of today was all the goodbyes. I tell myself that I’ll keep in touch with a few of them and go to their Happy Hours to see the others, but, while that might happen, the more likely outcome is that I won’t see most of them again.  And while life is full of people flitting in and out of your life, that doesn’t make it any less sad.


It appears I spoke too soon about not getting the Liberty Mutual job, because I received (and accepted) an offer on Valentine’s Day! Unfortunately, the job is essentially doing the same thing I’m doing now, except I’ll handle primarily injury claims and will be getting paid a substantial amount more to do it. Add in the fact that LM has offices near all of the grad schools I’m considering, and I think this will be a great move. While I would ultimately like to get out of claims, I’ve accepted that this is my trade for the time being, at least until I get my MBA.  My last day at AAA is February 28th 🙂

Happy Chinese New Year!


The past few weeks I’ve had absolutely nothing to blog about. I would open a new post and draw a complete blank.  Luckily, the Chinese New Year this weekend gives me something to start with. I’ve been in an Asian mood lately and my kitchen shows it.  Think Pad Thai, soba noodles, and homemade Japanese sweets. Whatever you think about Asia, you can’t knock the food 🙂


2013 is the Year of the Snake.  I hate snakes, but whether I like it or not, it’s my Zodiac sign (Just my luck, I missed the coveted Dragon by a mere 22 days).  So, maybe this will be a good year for me. 2012 wasn’t a bad year per se, but it was rather forgettable, travelling aside. I was hoping to start the new year off with a new job; I had a really promising interview a week ago last Friday but after a week with no word, I’m fairly certain I didn’t get it.  But that’s alright, because it was an injury adjuster position, and what I really want is to get out of claims and into HR. I saw a job posting for an international HR logistics coordinator the other day and fell in love.  I didn’t have nearly enough experience to apply, but it got me fired up again to get into the HR field so I can work my way there.


One of my favorite movies is ‘Memoirs of a Geisha.’  The main character is often told that her element is water.  In one scene, she receives the gentle rebuke that “water is always in such a hurry.”  I feel like that character.  I want a new job. Now.  I want to move to Chicago. Now. I want to go to grad school. Now.  But I can’t have everything ‘now.’  A new job in a new field is going to take time.  No new job means no moving.  And without a couple more years of work experience, I’m putting myself at a disadvantage for the more prestigious MBA programs. What I need to do is slow down and enjoy life, rather than always looking ahead.  That doesn’t mean I stop being ambitious, but I should enjoy the extra time I have with my family while I have it, and be more appreciative of the job that more than pays the rent and is really not that bad.


I’m big on making plans and setting goals.  But this year, I want to try a year without all that.  Yes, I want a new job and I’m going to keep looking for one, but setting arbitrary deadlines is only going to stress me out.  I need to embody one of those other qualities of water- that of going with the flow.