What a difference a year makes

…or more precisely, eight and a half months. Back last January, when Susanne was being courted by the college that later hired her, I had a call from an administrator at the college who was interested in my resume. Originally, my journal post went something like this:

I got a call from the College that wants to bring Susanne on board next fall. The voice mail had the name of a person and said she was the head of advancement and then asked me to call back. Not knowing what the hell “advancement” meant (am I not advanced enough? I do walk on two legs, after all, and I haven’t dragged my knuckles on the floor in years), I figured she was a head hunter or some such. I called her back. I got her voice mail. It went like this:

“Hi, this is Betsy K—-, Director of the Department of Advancement at XX College. Please leave the date and time you called, and your name and number, and I’ll call you at my earliest opportunity. Thank you. *cough*

Hi, this is Betsy K—-, Director of the Department of [pause]

Hi, this is Betsy K—-, Director of the Department of Advancement Services at XX College. Please leave the date and time you called, and I’ll call you at my earliest opportunity. Thanks.

This is Betsy K—-, Director of the Department of Advancement Services at XX College. Please leave your name and number, and the time and date that you called. I will call you at my earliest opportunity. Thank you.”

I swear, she recorded the outgoing message SEVEN TIMES. I waited patiently, trying not to laugh in the phone’s microphone, because of course I had no idea at that point just when the beep would begin. And so I wondered:

1. how could she not realize she was saving 27 messages?
2. why has nobody told her yet?

Anyway, I did indeed leave my name, number, time and date of call. She called me back. She offered me a job as her assistant, basically, but I said we could talk in a few days since she only had about 10 minutes to go over things with me.

Really? Wow. I am kind of at a loss for words. I don’t even understand the job duties because she was so inarticulate. It has something to do with data reporting, SQL queries, and institutional endowment. Those are my words. Hers were more like, databases, project management, wow, and this college is cool.

Fast forward to today. Limping through the administration building looking for the ID office so I can go to the campus gym and library, I see a familiar name on one of the doors. It’s her! Rampant outgoing message leaver! I try to casually assess the woman sitting at the desk. She doesn’t look at all like I’d pictured — in my mind’s eye I saw a nervous woman with tight hair, a la Bree Van De Kamp. This woman was dressed like a college student in black stretch pants, a green sweater, and penny loafers. She had an office three times the size of my last cube, and for those former SSA colleagues paying attention, a name plate on her door. (Note to SSA: since you’ve already paid for it, feel free to send me my name plate whenever it finally arrives. You’ve got my address already!)

I couldn’t help myself. Could this earnest outgoing message leaving woman be interesting to talk to? Did she repeat everything she had to say 7 times? Could the number 7 be like, a divine number for her?

“Honey, I need you to go to the store. Could you go to the store for me? I need some things from the store, so how about you stop by there? Dear, this is really important, I need you to swing by the store. So if you could pick up a few items for me from the store, that would be great. Just please go to the store today. Hey, you know what would be great — stopping by the store today!”

Okay, somehow I’ve made this woman become my mother. Hmm.

Anyway, I poked my head in and introduced myself, and she remembered me from last winter. After the awkward, “no no, I haven’t found a job yet” moment, we chatted about Walla Walla and what is and isn’t in it. No knishes, bagels, whitefish or any other cuisine a good boy from New Jersey would crave in that 3 a.m. in the morning suddenly way. One, count it, one, liquor store. For 26,000 people. She was friendly and nice and putting a face to the answering machine message and phone calls did a lot to make her more human. And I was glad I met her, even if I still can’t envision myself working for her. And there is the issue of I continue not to have any idea what her job is, or what mine might have been.

Just another day in Wallyworld!

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2 Comments on “What a difference a year makes”

  1. Robin H.
    November 10, 2008 at 7:40 pm #

    Well, I have a new cubbie buddy. Rupa moved in next to me last week. She is new to my team. I now have 4 people working for me.

    Regarding your nameplate, let’s just say the “check is in the mail”. LOL. I suspect the plate will come when I’m celebrating 30 years at SSA.

    Still not the same without Everett living next door. Sigh.

  2. evmaroon
    November 10, 2008 at 7:54 pm #

    Aww, well, I wish the best for the little cube row there. And you’ve lost Ken too, right? Has he moved up to the 4th floor yet?

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