Saturday, February 26, 2011

Made in China

It's hard to believe that a year ago, I was on leave from work due to carpal tunnel problems. You may recall that I woke up on the last Saturday of January 2010 with numbness in both hands and arms, after spending an intense and stressful couple of weeks at work. Of course, carpal tunnel problems take time to develop, but working for two young attorneys with nothing but rush typing projects was, apparently, the straw that broke the camel's wrists. And the battle scars went deep--I didn't even realize at the time how stressed and emotionally traumatized I was until I'd been off work for a month or so.

After surgery in June, I returned to work at the beginning of August. Secretarial staff had been reassigned while I was out, and I wasn't sure what I'd be doing when I went back. Within a week or so, the office manager talked to me about switching jobs with a friend of mine. To say I was hesitant is an understatement, because the attorney I'd be working for wasn't very well known to me, but what little I'd heard wasn't very positive--she seemed to be somewhat demanding and I didn't think we'd get along at all. Seriously, I was afraid I'd be jumping from the frying pan into the fire, and if things didn't work out, what was my alternative? Looking for another job after being with my firm for 18 years? Not something I even wanted to contemplate. In the end, though, after giving it much thought and talking to a few coworkers whose opinions I trusted, I agreed to give it a try.

And it's the weirdest thing--I really enjoy working for this attorney. She and I have the same attitude to handling cases, with similar experience and knowledge levels. Most of the time we find we are in complete agreement on how to approach a situation and solve problems. And the level and type of work she does is a nice balance for me--she's a younger partner, so her case load is varied and interesting and there's not enough of any one thing to make it boring. And, best of all, she seems to value my input.

At first, I was somewhat skeptical about how well the relationship was going because I know there's always a honeymoon period, even in a working relationship; but nearly seven months later, and everything is still going well.

And here's something that I think is kind of interesting about her: I found out early on that she is in a serious relationship with a man who works for a US company who is based, for now, in China. In October, they got engaged, and they'll be married in June. Most likely, his time in China will probably be up before too long and he'll come back to work in the US, but for now, they travel back and forth to spend a little time together every month or two.

Last week, she traveled to China to celebrate his 50th birthday, and much to my surprise, she brought me back a couple of little treats. First, perhaps predictably, she wanted to get me a pincushion--

Isn't it cute? I love all the little Chinese people (babies?) holding onto the edge of the pincushion, wearing silk clothing with hand painted faces and pigtail hair made from threads. (You can see them from the side in the photo below.)

She also gave me a brocade-covered box, and inside was a hand painted glass bottle--

The bottle is painted on the inside. Can you imagine painting scenery like this on the INSIDE of a small bottle? Crazy! What patience it must take!

My job is still somewhat stressful and busy at times, but these days, I enjoy what I'm doing and I don't have to pound on a keyboard all day long. I enjoy the work and I like my boss a lot--who is, as you can see, quite thoughtful. Yep, it's hard to believe that a year ago, I had so many problems. Sometimes it seems like the year's gone by super fast, but then sometimes it seems like a lot has happened during that time. What a difference a year can make!


Lorraine said...

I have to agree with you Kim....this time last year was crappy for me....relationship gone....having to sell my dream home and move...the only thing that was stable (and good) was my job....a year later...the job is still incredible...and I have just taken myself off on a little road trip/holiday...have a wonderful new house and a little dog who loves me (well she did before I left her in a boarding kennel so I could go away!) I am counting my blessings...and like you...the year seemed to fly by in some respects but drag by in's to time healing all (most) things! Your boss sounds lovely! My boss has been amazing thru this past year...go bosses!

Wilma NC said...

Love that pin cushion!!

Anonymous said...

I have a little pincushion like that, but mine was my mom's that she got someplace so it's old I guess. I love it, but sticking pins in it started to break the fabric so I stopped using it as a pincushion. It's my all time favorite.

Laurie said...

It seems like yesterday you had the surgery. My DH had wrist surgery yesterday in which he had a plate put in. They did a block which was wonderful until
3AM this morning! Ouch!
So happy things went well with your job, getting new bosses can be tricky!
Happy Quilting

Denise in PA said...

Kim - I'm so glad things worked out on your job switch. Having a good boss is so important. And I know what you mean when you say "what would you do if it didn't work out?" I've been at my firm for 24 years - I don't want to go anywhere but out the door when I retire! My boss is wonderful to work for (well, most of the folks at my office are), but I am grateful for him every day! What wonderful, thoughtful gifts you got also - you can tell she appreciates you!

Debbie said...

Wonderful update on your work. I'm so amazed at how much you get done after work and on weekends when you have a pretty demanding job...and you blog everyday! I have one of those pincushions...have had it for 20's one of my three most used!

Bonnie said...

Cute gifts from China! I just had carpal tunnel surgery three weeks ago and I am looking forward to being able to knit again. I only had one hand done but it sounds like you had both. I bet that made recovery a little tricky.

PunkiePie (Jen) said...

How sweet and thoughtful for your boss to think of you. Super cute pin cushion and that bottle! WOW. I have a cat ornament that I display all year long and it too is painted on the inside. I have no idea how it is done. I got it in Alaska. A memento from my honeymoon.

quiltmom said...

I have a variation of that pincushion- I've always thought it was very fun. What a nice boss you have and so glad to hear that its worked out so well for you. I am sure she finds you a valuable support.
Change always brings some uncertainty with the change- We are having some changes at home these days- Our son and his girlfriend are moving into our basement this weekend. They have spent the last month cleaning out 30 years of stuff ( well maybe not quite that much because we cleared out a bunch of stuff last winter) They have painted and organized and it is going to be quite cute. We have not been this tidy for awhile. It will be a change for us all too.
I am glad the change has worked out so well for you. I am also sure that they know how fortunate they are to have someone with your talents.
Regards, Anna

Laura said...

Man I feel ya! A year ago was really really bad. My husband was serious thinking ofsigning up to go into the Army because his unemployment was running out and he could not find work to save his life. We were barely hanging on financially and were scared to death. Now he is employed with a start up company that has a really great idea and we felt comfortable enough to buy a new car to replace his falling apart one. Which was crucial since he has to drive 80 miles one way to get to work. Life is looking up. We are still strapped a little since he took a huge pay cut with this job and it doesn't provide insurance but it is more than unemployment and I think they are going to be very successful.

Micki said...

So glad that everything worked out for you and I love the gifts that you received.

Quilt Hollow said...

I wore out my pincushions like that one! I had two...bought them in the Philippines 30 years ago! I've been on the hunt for more! They are fantastic!

Jeanne said...

Hoping that 2011 is a much better year for you! Glad you are happy with your new boss, too.