Longing for the Good Old Days

There must be something wrong with me. Or I might be an anti-feminist. I feel zero excitement about our first female leader (Vice President elect). It isn’t because she’s a Democrat, and I was raised a Republican. I ask myself if Sarah Palin (or some other Republican female) had made it, would I feel differently, and the answer is no. Just a solid, unequivocal NO.

I never aspired to have a career or work outside my home. I was raised by an insecure, shy 1940’s-1950’s housewife who never wanted to work outside the home. My mother was there every day when I got up and there every day when I got home from school. She baked. She cleaned. She made a happy home warm and welcoming. She had a hot dinner on the table when Dad got home every night. She and Dad were married 41 years when he died. I always wanted what she had.

My reality was far different from hers. I’ve held full time employment since I was 19. I fell in love and married at 30. I’ve been married almost 31 years. I worked through two pregnancies and went back to work when my sons were both just six weeks old. Was I happy to go? No, I cried because I had to. I’ve been working for forty-two freaking LONG years.

I always blamed the feminist women for wanting to work for spoiling my dream of just being home. Burning their bras, protesting and carrying on. Intellectually, I knew that wasn’t true. I knew inflation and an increased cost of living necessitated my having to work full-time. And, no, we don’t live lavishly. We have a 1,000 square foot house built in the 1960’s. We drive used cars. We have debt just like most people.

I always felt that I was born at the wrong time. A job is just a paycheck for me. Never anything more. Do I like what I do? Most days. Would I walk away from it if I could? In a heartbeat.

I’m not a feminist. I have no daughters, and I’m glad. I would have made a terrible mother of daughter(s). I just don’t have it in me.

So was I devastated when RBG died? No. Am I excited that Harris is VP? No.

Sorry. I’m just not.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

My Resume (Sort-of)

Looking back on my personal work history it occurred to me yesterday that I’ve been working steadily for 41 years. That’s a long time. I’m old and getting older all the time.

I’m closer now to the end of my working career than I am to the beginning of it. I started work at 19. At the time I was even shyer, and I was a greenhorn in so many ways.

After a couple of temp jobs, I started out at what is now known as CTG. Back then it was called Computer Task Group, and it provided data processing services to other companies. I worked in the office, and over the years there I did a little bit of everything. I started out at the reception desk as a clerk typist when I was 19. CTG was the first place to send me on a business trip. I took my first airplane flight to Chicago, Illinois for a week of training. I also traveled by car for business meetings in Buffalo, New York and Syracuse, New York.

Nine years later after temping briefly at Eastman Kodak, I landed at ICE Communications, an advertising agency. I was an account coordinator to three account executives (salesmen). They sold advertising and the in-house creative staff made the ad campaigns a reality. At ICE I worked my first job with summer hours. We had half days on Fridays. That was nice.

I was laid off for lack of work two and a half years later and after I came home from my honeymoon, I started at Nixon Peabody. New husband, new apartment, and new job. Within a year, new baby, too.

I worked at Nixon, my first law firm, for twelve years. I also had my second baby while working there. I started as a floating secretary with zero legal experience. I was terrified. I floated for maybe two weeks and took a job that opened up in their Human Resources department, something that fit my background much better. I worked in HR for eight years and then when I was feeling burned out, they tossed me a lifeline.

I moved to the Intellectual Property department and became a paralegal. I learned all about patents. This monumental step would secure me my niche. All my working career to that point had been as a generalist, either general secretarial or general HR work. Anyone could have done my job.

Patent work was unique and complex. It requires a strong attention to detail and focus on the minutiae. Everything has to be exact and correct. Learning this skillset was a lifesaver for me. It made me feel special and unique to know something that others did not. Apparently I’m good at it, too. I’ve been doing this type of work now for 22 years.

While at Nixon, I would also travel by airplane again. They sent me to Washington DC for a tour of the US Patent Office, something they did for all IP employees. They also sent me to Tampa, Florida for a week of patent training.

Unfortunately while at Nixon, my youngest son was diagnosed with autism. Work was telling me I needed to spend more time there – stay later and maybe come in on weekends. My heart was telling me my son needed more of me, not less.

When one of the IP attorneys at Nixon decided to open up his own biotechnology startup company, he took one of Nixon’s HR managers (my former boss) with him. A year later, she asked me to come to the startup, too, so my four years as an IP paralegal (and my twelve years at Nixon) came to an end.

It was meant to be because while working for Integrated Nano-Technologies, I was able to flex my schedule and work part-time. I got my son on and off of the school bus every day so I was there for him. I was almost a stay at home mom.

The startup was different. In addition to keeping an eye on the company’s patents, I did everything else. I did accounting, payroll, and I even sat at the front reception desk, something I hadn’t done since I was 19. We wore jeans and sneakers.

Unfortunately as is often the case with startups, they ran out of money. When I was asked if I’d defer my pay, I couldn’t so I left. I was there nine years. Others stayed, and the company is still around today.

While at INT, I went back to college (at age 51) and earned two associates degrees online.

I was unemployed for eight weeks. It was a nice break, and I got to take a deep breath and relax. The world of patents beckoned again, this time with the opportunity to learn trademarks and copyrights, too. I joined my second law firm, working in Intellectual Property, Woods Oviatt Gilman.

WOG is where I still work today. I’ve been there nine years this year (there’s something about that number – nine years at CTG, INT and WOG). WOG is likely where I’ll stay, if I’m lucky, until I retire.

I’ve been fortunate to work at some great places for some good people, and I’ve had long stays at all of them. I can’t complain. I learned something each place I’ve been, and I think I’ve been a decent addition to each place.

Not bad for a shy kid who only ever wanted to be a stay at home Mom.

Donna Reads: The Curse Keepers

cursekeepers1In The Curse Keepers (Curse Keepers Series, Book 1) by Denise Grover Swank, Ellie Lancaster works as a waitress and also helps out at her family’s bed and breakfast. She lives in a small town in North Carolina where the tourist attraction is the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Legend has it that the colony of settlers disappeared without a trace when the settlers banished the spirits of an enemy tribe of Native Americans from the material realm. As a descendant of the settlers, Ellie’s father spent his life trying to teach Ellie her responsibilities as a Curse Keeper. Ellie never believed the legend that when two Curse Keepers meet the curse will be lifted – until she meets Collin Dailey.

I read this book on my Kindle when I found it as a reduced price special selection. As with most books formatted for the Kindle, it has its share of typographical errors, but the slight mistakes don’t make it unreadable. I had more of an issue with the author’s attempt to make Ellie tough. To do so, she has her drop the F-bomb a LOT. I’m not averse to cuss words, but I did think this was a little extreme. Whenever Ellie gets upset or gets angry, she swears. I think her strength of character could have been expressed in better ways. There’s also a lot of foreshadowing with Collin’s character. He tells Ellie repeatedly not to trust him, that he will let her down, she’s going to hate him, etc., etc. so you know almost from the start that he will betray her in the end. There could have been a little more mystery there.

I have seen a number of reviews that complain about the ending of the book. There isn’t really an ending, and to finish the story you need to read the sequel (sequels?). It doesn’t really end on a cliffhanger either. It just stops. I will continue on with the story to see where it goes and perhaps get a reason for why Collin seems to be such a jerk 90% of the time. I’ve also downloaded a novella that explains what the ancestors did to create the curse in the first place for some background information.

All in all, this wasn’t a bad book (I’ve read far worse!), but I do think it could have been better. I did appreciate the author’s notes at the end that explained the history of the Lost Colony and gave detail as to what was “real” and what the author created in her imagination to tell the story.

Goodreads rating – 3 out of 5 stars (liked it)