I should have seen the end coming as I started my illustrious career in a phone support center for lab testing. I guess career isn’t really the right word for that particular job. More like paycheck procurement pursuit. Ooh, doesn’t that sound fancy! Anyway, I knew it wasn’t long term. I didn’t have any great aspirations to climb the corporate ladder in a medical testing company, I just wanted to help pay the mortgage, you know?

And the job wasn’t bad at first. I’d taken a break from teaching to get some health problems under control but again, bills, so this was a simple nine-to-five, no work brought home on the weekend gig. I didn’t expect much but I did expect a decent work environment.

Okay, those of you who’ve worked lots of cubicle jobs can stop laughing at me now.

All I’d known up to that point – with grownup jobs anyway – was teaching. I’d worked in elementary, middle, and high school, both in country and city settings. I figured a job was a job but I didn’t really factor in how wildly different working in a school versus cubicles would be. Yeah, that sounds kinda dumb now that I read it back but there it is and it’s a big part of how I didn’t imagine anything close to how that job would end.

At first it was just the daily grind. I was good at it – problem solving, conflict resolution – but things started going downhill as the stress level rose. The push for call stats got intense and when you add in the stress of some of those incredibly rude callers it made for a perfect storm. I tried working within the department, shifting job responsibilities to make things better but nothing really seemed to fix the baseline anxiety levels. At some point I had to decide: was this paycheck worth a minute by minute risk of stroking out? Would the stress of finding another job be even worse?

In the end the decision was more cut and dry than any I’d ever made before. One day, when my immediate supervisor called me into her office to tsk tsk me for clocking in two minutes late from lunch I felt my own personal manifestation of The Last Straw. I called the hubby at work, had him check into how long it would take to get onto their insurance, and had turned in my notice by the end of the day. Sometimes you just know, you know? The beginning of that four year adventure didn’t promise rosy adventures but it certainly didn’t prepare me for the nuclear explosion at the end.

Linda hosts Stream of Consciousness Saturday. This week’s prompt is “the beginning, the end.” Write about the beginning of something and the end of something. Bonus points if your first sentence contains “the end” and your last sentence contains “the beginning.” <– Read that again. Have fun!