The new job

My Daily Tarot app gave me Four of Wands today.

“[I]t’s time to celebrate your accomplishments. You’ve had success in your journey. Take time to honor your hard work.”

Indeed it is. I have spent two weeks learning nothing but new things: All the various computer systems my company uses for back office sales support, and some of the tasks to be done with them. Today I verified “no claims” bonuses.

Yes, I am finally working with insurance. After 31 years at the insurance company, I am finally learning what coverages are allowed with a leased car. I finally actually have to know that stuff. And I am having the time of my life learning it!

My poor noggin was exhausted every single day for over week, being crammed with new information every single day. I’m still getting used to that. I also sit in front of a computer in a different way than with the graphic designing. Can’t quite explain it. Maybe it’s just all the thinking I have to do. At any rate, I come home and do not want to use the computer here. That’s not entirely a bad thing. My reluctance to sit led me to finally moving some shelves I’d been meaning to move for a long time, and some necessary dusting got done.

Why the change in jobs? We graphic designers got downsized.

My company decided that there wasn’t enough work for two full-time positions in graphic design and “freed” my co-worker E and me. There is no official term in Norwegian for what my company does. It’s a downsizing/redistribution of labor routine that several companies in the finance and insurance industry use, and the term varies from employer to employer. Basically, by “freeing” employees (not firing or laying us off), both employees and employers are subject to specific rules and a time limit set down by HR and our union. The process takes 4 months and in that time the freed employees are expected to apply for and get new jobs within the company (perhaps relocated) or resign. If they resign, they have the right to be first in line for other positions in the company for the next two years.* Our employer practically bends over backwards helping its employees in this process.

So, on January 8, E and I found out that one of us had to go by the end of the year (this due to there being a budget for both of us for that long). E. will be 62 in December and could take early retirement then, leaving me with the remaining designer job. We believe that’s what everyone assumed we would do. But neither E nor I zig when expected to. We zagged. I’ve tried being a solo designer before and didn’t like it. E doesn’t want to retire as early as 62. I’ve wanted to learn insurance for a while, try something new.

With the help of HR, I updated my resumé, got tips on which jobs to try for elsewhere in the company, while my HR rep talked to potential bosses about me and whether I’d fit in.

I ended up getting a taste of what it’s like to apply for work—31 years after the last time. (!) Two interviews, a personality test, and some nerves, but mostly pleasant. The one job that seemed to be a good fit was also the one I got. I even got a raise! Did not expect that.

So now I’m in a team of about 18 women and two men (and the other team is the same), all busy and dedicated, but there’s a lot of laughs and gallows humor during the day. I really enjoy being there, learning computer systems all over again and insurance terms, and feeling 17 because that’s how old I was the last time everything was completely new to me.

E kept his graphic design job, and we are physically still on the same floor, so I still see him every day. After 17 years side by side, it’s hard not to want to say hello.

I’m not sure if this is my final stop until retirement 14 years from now (my mentor has been in this department for 20), but I’m not worried about that. I see a future, I feel appreciated, and I’m having fun.

Definitely cause for celebration!

PS: HR and our union rep were impressed with how calmly and cheerfully E and I took the news and worked through the process. I don’t know E’s secret—he’s always been on an even keel—but mine was ho’oponopono.

*) Clumsy wording edited.

By Keera Ann Fox

I am a bi-lingual American who has lived most of my life in Norway.
Jeg er en tospråklig amerikaner som har bodd mesteparten av mitt liv i Norge.

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