Thursday, July 18, 2013

Old Job, New Job

From my last TV appearance as the SelectHealth media guy

Last week, after six-and-a-half years, I said goodbye to SelectHealth.

And it was really hard.

I didn't grow up having big dreams of working for an insurance company someday. It just happened. Back in 2006, I was happily working at Salt Lake Community College when Traci started job searching for me. (SLCC was a great gig, but it didn't pay very much and I had one of those as-long-as-there's-funding jobs.) To appease my wife, I filled out some applications. I was actually pretty surprised when SelectHealth called me for an interview.

I still remember what I wore for the first interview--a pair of slacks and a dress shirt that I bought at the H&M in London, that I didn't tuck in. Sitting in a room of shirts and ties, I realized I may be a bit under dressed (at the College, I got to wear shorts and flip flops--I thought I was dressed up!). But somehow I got hired anyway.

On my first day, I was introduced to the world of corporate cubicles. I sat at my little desk, surrounded by my three little walls and immediately felt completely alone. In the early afternoon, Traci called me. I hunched over the phone and quietly whispered, "Hello?"

"How's your first day going?"

"Uh, it's okay."

"What? I can't hear you. Why are you whispering."

"I'm in a really tiny cubicle and everyone can hear me."

I was surrounded by strangers who I didn't really want to talk to and who certainly didn't care to talk to me. And it sucked. I wanted to walk right out the door and back to the Community College, where I was happy.

But it got better. And I made friends. And then I made more friends. And more. And I had fun and then LOTS of fun.

Over the years at SelectHealth, in spite of it being a stuffy insurance company, I had the chance to do lots of cool stuff. Like bringing a cartoon tooth to life, and writing and performing a song for a video game (oh, how my coworkers loathed the sounds coming out of my cubicle), and going to galas and sporting events and pretending to be a cook on TV.

Most of all, I made so many great friends. The kind of friends that install your ceiling fan during their lunch break, or fix your car in the freezing cold, or play with your kids at the park, or go see the Twilight movies with you at the dollar theater, or let you sleep in their New York City studio apartment, or who become such an important part of your life.

Saying goodbye to those friends sucks.

When I first told my team that I had accepted a job at CHG, I could barely get the words out of my mouth, I was so choked up. Then, for the three weeks leading up to my last day, I worried about how I'd say goodbye without completely breaking down.

And then the last day came. There happened to be a department-wide training and the office was pretty empty. All of the sudden, I was thinking that I could just sneak out quietly (and tear-free) without anyone even noticing.

But that didn't happen. In the afternoon, I took some boxes out to my car (there's nothing worse than having to make your final exit whilst juggling all of your crap). When I came back, all of my homies were gathered around my desk. They gave me a slow-clap and sang me a somber rendition of the SelectHealth farewell tune "Happy, Happy Last Day" (which is pretty similar to "Happy, Happy Birthday").

And then there were hugs. Lots of wonderful hugs. And well wishes. And goodbyes.

And then it was time to go. Time to move on from the place that was there when we bought our first house, and when we welcomed Curtis into the world, and brought Tate home from the hospital, and experienced all the first years of this parenthood stuff.

Leaving is hard.


I'm now almost a week into my new job. The people have all been nice--when I showed up to my desk the first day, they'd already turned my desk into a makeshift music shrine (complete with pictures of Justin Bieber, Daft Punk, and the Ramones). They took me out to lunch and made me the star of the show. But it's still pretty lonely. It's hard to start over.

Luckily, I know it will get better.


thepalmierifamily said...

Change is hard. It sucks to leave. Glad that there is change in life and I hope that this is a good one for you guys!

Michelle said...

So so glad to hear they welcomed you with open arms!

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