Sunday, April 05, 2009
In Which Things Gradually Begin To Get Better

I've been in Portland about eighteen months now. The first six months were great, but hard -- the struggle just to find and keep a handhold in a new city took everything I had. The last twelve have been hard in a different way, less challenging but saddled with growing discontent. It seemed all I could do was maintain my position, trudging through the months under adequate (barely) but dissatisfying conditions.

The last month has finally seen some real improvement, though. As of yesterday, I'm 100% free of my old house and completely moved in to the new apartment on Belmont. I'm not settled yet -- there's so much still to be put away -- but I realized last night that over the course of a week I'd gone from thinking of the house in N. Portland as "home" and the apartment in SE as strange, to thinking of the apartment as home and the old house as a depressing chapter of my recent history. Walking in for the last time, I was struck at how gross and squalid it was, exactly as it had been for the previous year, and what a relief it was to not have to live in the midst of that anymore. Our new apartment is still chaotic, but Liliana and I are already proving to be very harmonious flatmates, there's an underlying sense of order behind the boxes and un-arranged furniture, and the place feels comfortable and welcoming to me.

The neighborhood, too, is a big step up. Rather than come home after work and retreat immediately to my room, here I hang out in the living room or wander out to see what's going on on the street. Just having those two options available is a revelation and has done great things for my mood. So that's a major improvement.

More significant though, at least in the long run, is the news I got this afternoon. You'll remember that almost exactly a year ago I put in for a job at a local media organization, did well in two interviews, and then lost out on the job to someone else. I was crushed at the time, because I'd felt very much that the organization would have been a good fit for me, that I could have made a real contribution there, it would've been an opportunity to do work that I genuinely care about and really enjoy, and it would've gotten me out of my retail purgatory. And since then, with the economy collapsing, there have been so few opportunities -- I've applied for any number of positions, and gotten exactly nowhere. It has sucked beyond reckoning.

But a couple of weeks ago that same organization posted a new position for a media instructor, and after some initial doubts, I sent them my resume again. They remembered me, and I went for another interview. And not only did they remember that I'd been there before, they remembered specific things about me. And I knew in the interview that I'd done well and given them all the right answers, but after last year's disappointment (and all the other little disappointments that followed) I was disinclined to invest too much in the outcome.

But this afternoon I got the call -- they want me. I am hired. It's a small job to begin with, only part time, working with the main instructors at the facility. But over the next year or two, they told me, they plan to expand this position into a real, full-time education position, and from there there's further room to advance if I want. Until then, I'll be spending part of my week there assisting with the existing courses, and between those courses I'll be in training myself, filling in the gaps in my own skill set. And they'll be paying me more than I would ever get at Fnorders. I'll get to spend my time doing work I enjoy while simultaneously getting better at what I do. That's a pretty fantastic combination.

My time at the bookstore isn't completely over, of course -- this new opportunity will hopefully lead to a final departure eventually, but for now I'll still be there a few days a week. But it should cut down on the time I have to be there, at least, and I'll take any opportunity I can find to get off that sinking ship. Now that the company is circling the drain, it seems every new week brings down some new torment from corporate. Part of me wants to stay on just for the satisfaction of being on hand when the company finally dies.

Elsewhere, I'm writing more steadily, which has a lot to do with why I'm posting less frequently here -- it turns out it's pretty hard to write for a blog and for other purposes at the same time, and I'd rather spend my energy on that than on this. It just feels like I'm finally starting to rebuild some momentum, that I'm turning the proverbial corner, that my life will gradually become more about the awesome and less about the suck. There's still a long way to go, but I feel like I'm now definitely traveling in the right direction.
2:39 AM ::
Amy :: permalink