On being the new girl

Our middle school has a day each year (fondly known as stalk-a-student day) where parents come along and follow their children through their classes. Even though it's scheduled on a shorter day with shortened classes, I am always SO EXHAUSTED at the end of the day, drained by all the newness, the trodding from place to place, the sitting still and listening over and over.

Every year it made me a little more charitable towards my drooping, tired teenagers who would come through the door at the end of the day. Suddenly I better understood the need for snacking (not that I ever needed to stretch to understand that, mind you), the pull of the sofa (ditto), the need to put their feet up for a few minutes before launching into the afternoon.

I had the same, exhausted feeling all last week. I think I experienced some kind of jet lag job lag with adjusting to the new schedule, filling my brain chock full of new information, talking to grownups, being "on" for a whole slew of hours in a row, and getting up earlier & hitting the ground running.

Sunrise, Boston

Now that the job lag has mostly subsided I can wrap my brain around some of my impressions of highlights, challenges, and essentials for this new venture.


  1. Having a name badge that I swipe to get in and out of a restricted door between the museum and the elevators to my office. It just feels so clandestine and official at the same time.
  2. Wearing work clothes. Still feels like dress up but maybe the novelty will wear off eventually.
  3. The luxury of focusing without distraction for a few hours.
  4. The flexibility of my workplace. I work 7-3 and it could not be more perfect (well...8 to 2 would be awesome, too). Also? Most of my department works from home at least one day a week; after a few months there I'll be eligible to do that, too.
  5. The location on the wharf with a lovely view of Boston and the harbor. Have you been to Boston? My office is above the Children's Museum, the building next to the the giant Hood milk bottle on the dock, and near the site of the Boston Tea Party. The views make me happy every time.
  6. Having work mates. Although I've only admitted it to a few people, I have been just plain lonely for the last while and this is a nice remedy. (By the way, one colleague is planning on going on 180 dates in 2012. She's got some good stories.
  7. Two words: Office supplies.
  8. The job itself feels like such a great fit and, at the same time, it stretches me. It's gratifying and invigorating.


  1. The obvious: Getting everything done at home that I used to do. It took me about 4 days to finish all the laundry last week, where I used to be a Monday-is-laundry-day, start to finish, kind of gal.
  2. Leaving the house at 6:15 a.m. Yawn. One day at a time on this one.
  3. Negotiating my flex hours. I was nervous to ask but I'm so glad I did. Note to self: you don't know if you don't ask.
  4. I miss margins. I kind of like long transitions between things and prefer big margins to my day. Those are gone. It's a tradeoff.
  5. Will I ever make it to the post office again? (Sorry, Lauren, your package is coming SOON.)
  6. Being the new girl is exhilarating and also humbling. It's a challenge to start from scratch on everything: where the light switch is, how to do everything, what the office culture does and doesn't do, and all the details about the organization and my particular job. It hurts me brain sometimes.

Couldn't do it without:

  1. G. taking over the morning send-off responsibility. I miss those morning minutes with Maddy and Sam but I'm thrilled for him that he gets to have that time with them. I'm so grateful for him and his boundless, enthusiastic support. Plus he has a cold this week. Extra bonus points for G.
  2. Calling, texting, leaving notes, adding new routines and rituals to our day (my every-morning note to Sam, for example).
  3. Amazon and the occasional grocery home delivery. Some things had to go and I have pretty much abdicated my errand running in favor of online purchasing. Again, it's a trade off.
  4. Protecting my time at home. All I want to do when I get home is hang out with my people. I'm both an adventurer and a homebody (trivia: did you know this blog was first named "Ambitious Homebody"? It's true.) and I need my home time. Work will be plenty adventure for me for now.
  5. Ah, at the risk of repeating: That flexible schedule. I'm so grateful to preserve my afternoons at home and to feel like there's still a good part of the day left when I get home.
  6. Supportive, lovely friends (both near and far) who talked me down and built me up on more than one occasion.

Speaking of lovely and supportive, thanks for your kind, generous comments and emails and texts. They meant more to me than you know.