The First Day

Tomorrow is a big day for me.

I have worked for a great company as a business analyst for the last three years supporting various U.S. West Coast businesses from headquarters here in St. Louis. I learned so much working for this company. I had a wonderful example of an effective training program and how that builds an enormous amount of confidence in its associates and allows them to navigate with a level of surety that is unlike any other institution I have worked for where they kind of throw you in and hope for the best. I have experienced that, too, and it was not my favorite. I have worked for companies that forced me to choose between being a wife and a mother. The Human Resources director of a company I worked for in the mid-2000’s told me as I was running, ten weeks pregnant with my second child, out the door only minutes after I walked through it to start my day after a water main broke beneath daycare to retrieve my toddler from daycare that “Alyssa, I’m honestly not sure what we are going to do when you have two children to deal with…” and I just stared at him fighting tears, apologized, and walked out… The very same company I later reported to the CIO who told me after I was in a car accident while I was seven months pregnant that I did not “need to go to the hospital because I felt fine and that I could go to the hospital after work if I was feeling poorly later”… and he reminded me “Pain is an indication that something is wrong and if I am not in pain I am perfectly capable of coming back to work.”. I apologized, told him ‘he was right and I was sure I was fine’ and drove my car back to work shaken up and extremely nervous. I later went to the labor and delivery ward after the wonderful ladies on the nurse’s line urged me to come in for at least one hour of monitoring of my son.

I went in and the OBGYN on call admonished me for not coming in sooner and listed off all of the things that could have happened from a very minor abrupt impact in a car accident.

Coincidentally this very pregnancy ended in the very traumatic birth of my son where my placenta abrupted and my uterus ruptured exactly six weeks later and I was only afforded five weeks of maternity leave.

Why did I apologize *both times* and not prioritize myself and my children first at all or not without immense guilt? Perhaps this is something women are trained/indoctrinated into doing. I won’t apologize for that anymore.

I don’t brag about anything material or otherwise… I don’t feel comfortable with that level of “over-confidence”. That said, I will tell you that I have a pretty solid work ethic. I never leave my team hanging. I work late or on the weekends if needed even if that means I am working from home in between dinner and kid’s stuff, etc. If there is something that can make a meaningful impact to my team that I can provide for them by giving a few extra hours so that the collective of the team is excited/positive/proud of meeting a goal – you bet I am going to work hard to ensure I do my part. I am one of the first to offer to cover another person’s work when they need time off or have planned vacation or have sick kids – you name it. Those things I will say loud and proud are an integral part of my work identity. I am proud to be considered a reliable and strong team member – its a part of my identity outside of the workplace as well. Thus, when I need to be a mother or a wife – I need to be a mother and/or a wife… or if I need care for myself… I need to be able to put those things first – but worry not – I will balance it out in spades.

Anyway, I have worked for this company for the last three years and made more friends, learned so much, and grew into my own skin and skills. I found my voice and felt empowered to point out when something needed to be done. Sadly, the analytics and minutiae that I enjoy doing related to financials and auditing are non-options for me as the departments are presently designed within this company.

I was crushed, sad, emotional, all the descriptive words pertaining to a lot of physiological responses when I had to tell them I had accepted a position as a financial analyst for a Fortune 500 and would be departing in thirty days.

It was hard. I shed a few tears and had a lot of anxiety but I knew that this was the right move towards deeper analytics and maneuvering closer to financial analytics with the potential for auditing again in the future within a structure that makes sense – perhaps? I don’t yet know – but I know there are a hundred different possibilities and the potential for all of them has me excited. My husband and I talked in length over the two solid months of interviewing and waiting about what was best for us and what was best for my career and our “pro” list far outweighed our “con” list even though since I don’t apply for positions flippantly – we went into it already feeling as though this was a great fit for my education and skills. We had to have some sort of final… “Yes. This is it. This is what we are doing.” conversation because we are those weird married people who try REALLY hard to make 100% of decisions together as we complement one another with what we see proactively when decision-making.

Tomorrow is the first day. I know its just a day full of orientation, picture taking, answering questions, providing documentation, etc… but its the FIRST DAY and first impressions are *everything*. I am going into a business professional environment for the first time and questioning everything about all of my business professional dress wear. Tonight is the night for anxiety and sleeplessness and tomorrow is for showing up sweating in a suit jacket while its 1000 degrees in St. Louis while trying to make a positive impression on my first day. All the thoughts flying through my mind right now, “Am I smart enough for this job?”, “Did I oversell myself?”, “What if I am not as smart as everyone else on the team?”, “How will I fit into their small-team dynamics?”… etc. Lots of overwhelming thoughts that are mostly based in irrational thought processes of wanting to be liked and accepted. I am smart and confident and a quick learner – but regardless as to knowing that on the inside it becomes clouded with self-doubt the eve before day one. Always. Every time.

All I know is that I hope I make my family proud and that since this is the first step into a non-entry level job with a great company (ranked 7 in the U.S. for best places to work) that is truly a move that opens a lot of doors with a company I want to retire happily with… Cheers.

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