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!