The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

More Than I Asked or Imagined September 29, 2010

Filed under: Life in General,Writing — Erin Joy @ 12:54 pm
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It’s hard to believe that a year ago I was still searching for a job. It’s even harder to believe that three years ago, I returned home from college, resigned that I wasn’t one of those who found a job as soon as I received my degree.

As many of you know, I’m far from that now. I enjoy my job a lot. I have not only learned a lot from it (like having to give a presentation that scared the pants off me yesterday), but I’ve been challenged to better myself as well (for example, my professional appearance).

And that brings me to a few Sundays ago. That Sunday, someone from our church preached from the book of James. I must be honest that I was a bit distracted while sitting there looking at my Bible, mostly because of the notes I’d penned in the margins.

Almost exactly three years before, on September 30, 2007, I’d written next to James 4:15-17, “God has perfect timing.” That was shortly after my move back in with my parents’. I realized about that time that we don’t always get to plan what’s going to happen next. Now, I’m not saying we ought to sit by and let life happen to us, just that we don’t always get what we plan down the line. At that point, I’d expected to be moved out on my own (or with a roommate) to a job somewhere in the writing/editing field. I had none of that aside from some freelance work I’d been doing.

Completely distracted from the sermon at this point, I flipped through the pages of my Bible to glance through any other notes I’d scribbled on the pages. Sure enough, I found one from August of 2008, right about the time I’d returned from working at the Willow Creek Association for the summer. I was, once again, discouraged that I had to move back in with my parents, but the verses that caught my eye were 1 Corinthians 16:8-9. Next to it, I’d written, “Lord, show me the ‘in the meantime.'”

It’s amazing how God answered that tiny written prayer, by providing random odd jobs, friends who move in and out of town and a wonderful Sunday school class to help teach. That “in the meantime” really did become filled with some amazing blessings.

Last fall, I began temping in the area, and that led me to the job I currently have (and love). Can I continue to say how much I enjoy working at my job? I have caught myself saying on more than one occasion, “It’s more than I could’ve ever asked for or imagined.” Sound familiar? I know! I didn’t even realize what I’d been saying. It’s true though.

I never would have imagined that I get to write blogs, “play” on Facebook and tweet away on Twitter all day! I also recently organized an event for some bloggers and their children. How is that not fun? How can you not enjoy a job like that? Sure, there are days that I’m stressed out or have to work ridiculously long hours for the sake of the team, but to be able to work in an environment that is as quirky and fun-loving as I am or spend time with people who are crazier than I am (in a good way) is such a wonderful thing that I never could have asked for.

It’s funny how a couple scribbles in the margins had such an effect on me over the past three years. I’m amazed at looking back to see where I was when I wrote each of them, and how each one has impacted where I am now.


Battle Scars of the Modern Day Workforce May 20, 2010

The one thing I love most about my job is that I’m never doing the same thing from one week to the next. Last week, I spent the entire week working on a PowerPoint® presentation while every day so far this week, I have been working on cleaning a room that started out looking quite a bit like the cover of this book:

Berenstein Bears

No joke. That’s almost exactly what it looked like, but with more boxes and no kids. By now, it’s begun to look a lot more like this, but with toys lining the walls instead of artwork and no carpet:

Please note, neither of these is really my workplace. Just comparisons. But I would love to work in the world of the Berenstain Bears, but that’s another blog post in itself.

While cleaning yesterday I somehow managed to nick my finger on a door, and earlier in the week, I think I did something awful to my finger trying to break down corrugated boxes. It was sore for two whole days afterward. I haven’t felt this beat up at work since working in the factory! (But I like this job a hundred and fifty million times better, let me tell you!)

Sure, sometimes I may use these as battle scars to compare with other people at work and see who’s suffered the most damage over the last three months, but there are other non-physical scars people who work here like to compare, too. These are scars we take pride in, things that make us feel like we’ve done our duty to our jobs.

  • The number of paper cuts received in a single day
  • The number of hours of overtime you work in one week
  • The latest time you’ve ever stayed after the typical 5 p.m. closing time (or your shift if you work something other than the typical 9-5 job)
  • The earliest one person has ever had to come into work
  • The most changes to a single project in one day
  • The longest length of time it takes to upload a file to the ftp site
  • The number of times you cut yourself with an Xacto blade in one day
  • How many cans of 5-hour energy drink needed to survive one week
  • How many cups of coffee or cans of pop one person can drain in the same day
  • The longest flight an individual has had to take on account of work

Are there any battle scars you compare with your coworkers to prove who is the most dedicated to your jobs, no matter what industry you work in? Are there other things that should be added to this list?


Late to Work January 26, 2010

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 2:30 am
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It was only my second week at my new job, and it was my dad’s second day at his. I never expected they might have the potential to collide.

My job is an office desk job. I get to sit at a computer and play with baby toys all day. It’s quite the leap to think that I might have some contact with my dad, a tow truck driver.

And it’s all because I was trying to save a couple dollars.

I was about to go away on a long trip that weekend, so I figured that I might be able to wait until right before to fill up on gas. The night before I went to work I thought I had enough to make it to work and to the gas station, and I think I was hoping it as much as I was assuming it.

I was rushing out the door, and I didn’t have much time to eat, and I’d just thrown a microwavable sandwich in my purse for lunch. I think I even forgot to brush my teeth that morning. (Not that it matters with the coffee I drink at work.)

Usually my mom and I leave the house at about the same time. On most occasions, she will leave before me, but that morning I was lucky. We went out to our cars at the same time that morning. Knowing I was in a hurry, she let me leave the driveway first.

I pulled out, and turned the corner to leave our subdivision. As I was going down the hill to make a turn toward the main road, my power steering went out. I was confused. Why couldn’t I make the turn as easily as I normally would?

And then it dawned on me:

I was out of gas.

On my second week of work.

What was I going to do?

I was humiliated. As I was calling the temp agency I work through, my mom pulled up beside me to see why I wasn’t rushing down the road as fast as I had been out the door five minutes before. I told her I’d ran out of gas while the phone was ringing, and hopped into her car.

Thankfully, we weren’t far from home and had a spare container to go get some gas. Otherwise, I would have had to call my dad’s work and have him bring me some. I’m sure he would have been pretty amused that his daughter would have been one of his calls that day. But alas, my mom saved me instead.

It’s mornings like those that remind me to be extremely thankful for living at home with them. If I had been living somewhere else, I would have been stuck relying on AAA, and I would have been at least 45 minutes late, rather than only the 15 that I was that day.

Oh, and did I mention my boss just laughed at me when I got to work? 🙂 Yeah, not a surprise there.


Calloused Knees December 15, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 11:09 pm
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When I first started taking photos, I never thought of it as a physically taxing job. But it is.

I am always on my knees talking to children. I’m always on my knees eying them through my viewfinder. I’m always lifting blocks, dragging and rolling backgrounds, or jumping up and down to get kids attention. It’s insane.

As one lady said to me the other night, after attempting half a session with her four children, “You must go home every night exhausted from this job.”

It’s true, I do. But I love seeing the kids in their cute outfits, and catching those occasional quirky smiles between moments of hysteria makes every moment worth it.

Having worked in the photo studio for a couple months now, I have begun to have pretty calloused knees. I was warned toward the start that I’d deal with the knees of my pants being worn out, but I never imagined my actual knees would begin to be worn. Maybe I should have invested in a pair of knee pads to put under my pants.

Growing up, I always heard about how people who had calloused knees from praying so much. I just thought it was an expression, not something that could actually happen to a person’s body.

I feel a bit ashamed that I’ve never realized it until now, when I’m being paid to be on my knees all day. As with any callouses, your knees are rough, and they catch on material that rubs up against them — in this case, your pants. And no matter how much lotion you scrub on them, your hands end up ten times softer than your knees.

That makes me wonder: how often do Christians really physically exert themselves in prayer? Sure, we’ll get down on our knees if we’re paid or if it’s something fun to do like play with children, but we’re pretty quick to curl up nice and comfortably in prayer. Even churches that do kneel on a regular basis have kneeling pads so as not to cause callouses on the knees of their parishioners.

But even with those kneeling pads gone, everyone knows that a decent workout isn’t going to impact you if you’re only doing it on the weekends. What about every day of the week? Is prayer really driving us to our knees in focus, or has it become a passing thought? Should prayer have more of a physical impact on our lives?