So I get to my apprenticing job today and I'm a few minutes late - something I hate to do, but I stroll in 5 minutes late hoping for the best, with a big smile on my face... and I'm immediately met by my boss lady there at the shop and her face is like the exact opposite of mine. She quickly escorts me into her office, saying "we need to talk." Expecting the worse, I sit down nervously and she promptly tells me that one of her guys will be leaving soon and she would like to offer me the position, but I need to take the time before he leaves to really prove that I can do it. She says my skills are there, but my need for perfection is definitely slowing me down too much for how busy she is. She asked me to step it up by about 3 times!
Seemed a little daunting but I'm pretty tough, and I really like a challenge, so I just go for it. First she throws me right into yet another thing I've never done before... using some pretty intense chemicals to strip the big pieces of wood from a piano. This stripper is incredibly mean to the skin, just burns like crazy. So basically it's hard work physically, plus the added fun of the burning flesh where it's splashed back. Boy does it get the job done though, very impressive. I find out after a few hours of that, at what I'm feeling like is a pretty good speed, for a newbie... that I'm actually doing a fair job and at a good speed! SCORE!
So I'm feeling pretty awesome by now... like things are really moving forward in this plan of mine. The guys go to lunch and the boss and I are left alone again. So I take this time to inquire about the pay and hours... if everything should work out as we're hoping. Turns out it's only 16 hours a week and the pay would have to be pretty incredible for that to work... the money is ok... but it's far from incredible. So of course I ask about room for advancement $ wise and about the possibilities for more hours... their business has been really picking up and they have a ton of work. As it turns out they are indeed hoping to expand in the near future... however there is still a limit on how much she can afford to pay us and still make a profit... so that's why the hours are cut back. So while it could definitely improve... maybe not enough.
So I go back to work and continue to learn and enjoy every second of this creative freedom. I worked almost an extra hour just trying to help the guys when I could and other times just watch their techniques; just trying to absorb everything I can. I can't tell you how much this experience (so far) has helped me... it's given me the confidence to try all these new and tricky things, ask questions, be heard, and even just the idea of working in a predominately male career, and be fairly successful at it.
Plus the people I work with are great. OMG - I can't tell you how much I just adore them, they are real people who laugh and joke and have fun, but have a serious side and are professionals too.. they are just so refreshing to work side by side with! Even their jokes are hardly at the expense of others and are tasteful and fun. They all sing to the radio and it doesn't even matter what's on. They don't hesitate to help me if I don't know how to do something, or if they think they are doing something I might find interesting they make sure to call me over. Also they are great about encouraging me to try things hands on, and I just love that!
Plus working with all these diverse pieces of furniture, some really amazing antiques as well as some regular Joe Schmo furniture, which I've learned even that can be cleaned up remarkably well. I can't tell you how often my preconceived thoughts on anything in that shop can be changed in just a split second. Love the active learning, just love it.... I think especially since it's about something I'm really passionate about.
Anyway... so basically I realize that while it's likely that this particular experience may not end in the career of my life... I have gotten soooo much out of it, and to me that's really key. I'm hopeful that everything happens for a reason and maybe if I keep plugging forward wisely - I'll find myself in some good job in the next few months, that works for me and that I can thrive at. I'm not cutting anything out yet!
Keep in mind that I have really POSITIVE DAYS and then some days when I forget about all these things I know to be true. Luckily the positive days are still out weighing the negative ones. :) So if I come back next time feeling a little bummed... remember... the positive Kela is just a day away. HA HA HA!
Thanks for listening,
P.s Send happy job thoughts my way! :)