Onion Flakes, Anyone?

Last month, I landed a one-day gig working today as a dental assistant. Someone who works in an office about 40 minutes away from my house overheard me talking about my previous dental experience, and asked if I would like to cover for someone in her office, since they weren't having any luck finding someone willing to accept a one-time only gig through temp agencies. I said, "Sure!" and sent my resume and a letter of introduction over to the dentist. He called me back and we made it official.

I spent a few days in the office working with the assistant who was going to be gone so I could get the feel for the job. It's all basically the same office to office, but there's the "we do things this way" bit that you have to get used to (and the "woe to you if you suggest something else" bit that I've already resigned myself to). Today I was flying solo.

I did ok; the dentist is super mellow (very unusual for a dentist!) and everyone else in the office was nice. I hate being the new girl though. I'm really shy and awkward when I'm in a new work setting, because I'm always trying to strike the right balance between professional and true "Amber". If you meet me at a party, I can just be myself, but getting to know people at work is awkward (Don't swear, don't snort when you laugh, try not to sound like a know-it-all when they're confused about "those iPod thingies" and ask if you know anything about them, don't roll your eyes when they start voicing their strongly held opinions about celebrities, try not to feel left out when they talk about their fake nails).

I missed the freedom of being home, like going outside whenever I want. (The conversation went something like this: Me: "We don't have a patient for another half hour, so I'm going to go outside for a few minutes and breathe in this gorgeous fall air!" Office Manager: "Here, file these charts instead." Me: "Right.") I missed the dog; we go outside for some running around several times a day, and I fling tennis balls around for him to play with, and if we see the crazy neighbors, we run inside and make fun of them. (Ok, I make fun of them, but he laughs, I swear!).

I missed cooking dinner! Being around all day means I can make whatever I want for dinner no matter how long or complicated the recipe. Since quitting Starbucks, I've moved from grilled cheese, scrambled eggs, and that old stand-by, chicken a la nothing (8"x8" pan, 4 chicken breasts, olive oil, fling in oven, to jazz it up, add dry onion flakes), to slow-cooked meals and more complicated chicken dinners, which I'm very proud of.

Tonight I sank to a new low after my my nearly 12-hour day*: microwave popcorn; it was all I had energy to cook.

So go figure they offered me a full-time job. Apparently, the OTHER assistant in the office isn't going to be able to make such a huge time commitment to it anymore, and they'll be needing to replace her.

I totally flipped out. Where were you, oh wonderful full-time job, when I needed you, when I was stealing bagels from Starbucks for breakfast and rolling quarters to eat dinner? Where were you when I needed to scrape together rent while the 30th loomed ominously close? Where were you when I was ruining my credit with unpaid bills and feeling like a looser when no one would hire me? WHERE WERE YOU?

It's a cruel world. The jury is still out on whether or not I'll take it. Do I really want to turn to that bottle of dried onion flakes again? As always, I'll keep you posted.

*12 hours including traffic. Which sucks around here in the mornings.


It took me a while, but I have Lucky Pink (The "other Amber") up on my blog roll!