I’ve mentioned here in the past that I work with a bunch of pretty nice people. I’m just not used to that. In my previous life in the wonderful world of commercial radio, I kind of got used to my employers and many of my fellow employees being ego-driven, self-centered, everybody for himself jerks – including me.
I currently work for a non-profit company called Senior Life Resources Northwest (http://www.seniorliferesources.org). There are three agencies within the company including Meals on Wheels, Home Care Services and Senior Health Services. I applied for work there two years ago as an administrative assistant because, physically, I can no longer do many of the kinds of work I’ve done in the past. And I refuse to do outside, commission sales again.
I’ll digress for a moment. When you’re just shy of 60 years old and suddenly find yourself laid off from the best paying job you’ve ever had, you find that all the laws in this country against age and sex discrimination are nothing but a bunch of words on paper. You will be discriminated against, especially if you are white and male. Reverse sex discrimination was sometimes out-and-out blatant. The prospective employers knew there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.
So, I saw an ad for this job I was eminently qualified for with Senior Life Resources Northwest. I drove over to their office and spent about an hour filling out the employment application and releases for background checks. A week or so later, I was called in for an interview and I must say, I felt I did pretty well. God knows I’d had enough practice over the previous year! But I heard nothing back – the usual result. Finally, a couple of months later I guess, I got a letter from SLR thanking me for my interest, blah, blah, blah. Then the very next day, my wife called me and said that SLR had called my former employer, where she still worked, and was getting references. I said something like, “But I just got their rejection letter yesterday.”
But I got the job. Come to find out, I was not their first or even second choice. But the first and second choices, both young women, just hadn’t worked out. So, in desperation, the office manager said, “Let’s call the old guy.” And “the old guy” has been there for nearly two years now. They hadn’t wanted to hire a man because the women in the office were afraid I’d just join the “good ol’ boy” network. Well, hell -- there are only two other men in the office and they’re both in management. I told my new fellow employees to just threat me like “one of the girls.” They do, but to tell the truth, I think they’re more protective of me than they are of each other.
So, I took this week off to have some surgery done. I sent the office a funny email the day after the surgery letting them know everything went well. Thursday I got a call from one of the women in the office asking directions to my house because she and one of the other gals had something they wanted to bring me. They both showed up at my door after they got off work with a card and box of chocolate. No flowers because they knew my wife shouldn’t have flowers or plants in the house with her immune system being compromised from chemotherapy. I am still flabbergasted that these two people (who had not wanted to work with me two years ago) would go way out of their way to bring me a card and box of chocolate candy. My house is in the opposite direction from the office to their homes by a good many miles. To paraphrase Sally Field, “They like me! They really like me!” And I like them too.