Ask and it is given…

As Spring melted into Summer this year, something curious happened:  I got to start doing something I love at my job. Up until May or so, I had been doing some tech writing, some end-user manuals, an occasional assist with test scripts and in general being wherever I was needed, whenever needed.  My job classification is still State Accountant; <shrug> who knew?  Then in what I can only describe as a flash of Divine guidance, I went to my boss and pointed out that the Training group was suffering from a case of revolving door-itis.  Many of the contract instructors were being offered more lucrative opportunities with private-sector projects, and were leaving just as we all got to know their names.

“I have a background in course development and technical instruction,”  I reasoned, and the project manager tipped his head to one side and said, “y’know, that’s actually a very good idea.”  And over the course of the next month, time accelerated as I finished up my most current piece of the project while attending and then co-teaching as many of the end-user courses as my schedule could fit.  By the middle of June, I was teaching solo on three courses and taking on more. By “Go-Live” – that magic time on July 19th when we turned on the new statewide government accounting system – I had qualified to teach five different courses and was moved to a new cubicle among the other trainers.

Journal Entry August 17th – Got my confirmation of book purchase for first two classes at U.D.  I can pick them up anytime bookstore is open.  Grad School — the next frontier.

We’d all been told that for the first two weeks after the 19th – perhaps longer – training would be suspended while we served as first level escalation for the Service Desk, in overlapping shifts spanning 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. six days a week.  For those of us who were used to working sometimes on a weekend to catch up or do something special, that wasn’t such a big deal; but for many of the people on modified schedules, including contractors who often left town to spend a three-day weekend with their families, it was a bitter pill to swallow.  Nonetheless, when the time came, the team pulled together and it was refreshing to see the number of people deliberately extending special thanks to each other, making those around them laugh whenever possible, and in general, being as patient and supportive as they could with the mounting numbers of end-users phoning and emailing in.  It was a new system – a sea change – and it was not going to be easy.

By the end of July, the volume of calls and email had subsided slightly to where regular schedules could be resumed, and while there were (and still are) questions around what was a user error or a legitimate glitch in the system, training resumed and I was back in the classroom, more often in front of it than at the back observing.  I often drove home at the end of the day marveling, “I know where the day went — I just can’t believe how it went!”  This, then, is how it feels to love what you do.  It’s been a long, long time.

I have made it a practice over the past few years, to wake up in the morning thinking thoughts of gratitude.  I’d list things like my stout, wonderful home; my beautiful dog with his huge furry face on my shoulder as I open my eyes; the sensation of a comfortable bed supporting me and the knowledge that a warm shower is just a few steps away.  Usually the list included, “my job, which is steady and provides me with a feeling of security….”  but never until now have I been able to say, “my job, which I can’t wait to get to, and at which I want get better and better!”  This change – this not-so-minor miracle of the past four months – has been an extraordinary gift.  Maybe it was a birthday gift.  I turned 60 just two days after Go-Live.  We pronounce it “Go (long O) Live (long I)…I think of it as, I’m going to go and live!

Journal Entry August 30th   A nice young woman at U of DE wants to know if I can come in and talk to a counselor about my potential career goals.  I wrote back and said I’m in the Historic Preservation program with the encouragement of the Director of the department, but if they’d like me to come in (and have to burn some leave time from my job) they’d really need to justify that for me.

I’ve said numerous times that my 40s were a time of discovering who I truly am.  During my 50s I stopped worrying overmuch about what anyone really thought.  My friends tell me I look nowhere near my age; and my detractors?  well, they’re not telling what they think.  But I can say this — if 60 feels this good, I can’t wait to see what this 7th decade is going to be like!  Maybe I’ll get my Master’s during that time.  Classes started August 31st.

Journal Entry Saturday, Sept 5th

Dangit! – I got there at 8:00 A.M. prepared for an all-day class and apparently classes for both the Friday and Saturday leading to Labor Day were all canceled for a long holiday.  <sigh>  Okay…I can do this…roll with it.  The other class that was to be a Monday class also has to start next week…patience, kumquat.

My friend Michael, a website guru I can’t afford to hire right now, tells me that blogging is the way to relate and get people to see and know me.  I think that given I’m nearly finished with a book I’m writing, I’m going to do that.  I’ll probably try to get something basic – read “amateurish” to begin – online soon (heaven help us all!) .

It’s been an amazing Summer for me — I’ve missed writing to and for all of you — I hope you’re well and that as Fall approaches (my favorite season of the year!) we’ll get to share more ideas and at the very least, you’ll enjoy hearing about adventures with grad school, still working on my house, and the life and times of a lady who’s decided that the number my age is doesn’t really matter at all.

My best to you all,
Sherry

About SherryEllesson

Sherry Ellesson is a freelance writer and part-time homebuilder who lives and works in central Delaware. Originally from New England, she credits having been raised by hearty, self-sufficient people for her willingness to stay the course on the journey back to homesteading.