True confession time here again:  one of my occasional late-night comfort foods is chips and really, really hot chipotle salsa.  Salsa so hot I break into a sweat sometimes.  Ahhh, I love this.  Sometimes I’ll add a small blob of sour cream to cut the heat a bit.  Hmmm…is this a reason for my weight gain this past year?  DUH…ya think??

One of the funny after effects of this late night salsa fest is I have really, really strange dreams.  Dreams that make me wake up in the morning already giggling.  And dang I’d love to find a picture to post in here that captures this most recent salsa-induced dream but I just can’t so we’ll go with the dog and cat this time. 

As is typical with most dreams, I was hovering at a weird angle above the action.  This time it was a whole bunch of pets – mostly dogs, but also some cats, llamas, parrots and ponies.  And they were a mixture of cartoon drawings and “real life” animals too all in a huge crowd.  Ah, the magic of dreams.  And in the background, some man was playing a banjo and singing with a good ol’ country twang, “Don’t name your pet Rita…” And damn, I wish I could remember the tune and the rest of the chorus now!  It was something about how all the animals in that crowd were already named Rita so don’t name your pet Rita because it would be too confusing as there are already too many with that name. 

Are you still with me?  Have I lost any of you out there?  This is one of those times where trying to write and capture a dream is just…well, there’s just no way to describe it fully. 

Now.  Lots of you who have been reading my posts these last few months know I’ve been through a whirlwindy roller coaster being out of work and interviewing, looking, searching so bloody hard for a new job.  And when an offer did pop the start date got delayed over three weeks.  Well, the taunting, torturous delays are now done and yes, I’ve got my feet under a desk again!  How many of you out there can say you started a new job on your birthday?  Well, I sure can.  And that was the best gift of all no doubt.  Marching onward into 40-something here…oh yeah!!

How would I describe this new gig?  Same place…with a different color of Koolaid.

I’m back at work on a large, corporate campus for a third Tour of Duty.  And I’m not going to name names or provide hints.  Those of you who know me in real life will know what I’m talking about.  If you’ve found this blog either on purpose or by accident…well, first of all WELCOME to fivenineteen.  And second, I’m going to keep things generic but hopefully not too bland.  Meaning, the purpose of my writing is not to necessarily praise or bash companies or people by name.

So there’s a certain familiarity about being back at work here.  Lots has changed in the years since the last time, but the culture, energy and rhythms are the same.  I’m in a totally different part of the company from a business unit perspective…a distant cousin a few branches away in the ever-changing family tree.  And I’m in a completely different part of the campus location-wise as well.  I had a seven-year stint awhile back where I moved around as many times in as many years as I’ve probably mentioned before.  But I hadn’t worked in or visited this part of the campus…well, save for one time when I’d left my hockey gloves in the locker room at the rink and my team Captain had picked them up.  He worked in this building I’m now in so I dropped by one day to see him and get my gloves.  But that was about six years ago.

And just like before, there’s a lot to learn getting acclimated and learning how to navigate the labyrinthian hallways.  No matter where I’ve worked on this campus, it’s taken a few weeks for me to figure out where the hell I am and not look like a lost dumbass trying to quickly get where I need to be.  What is it with the tricky floorplan angles and all?  Did the breakroom magically move since the last time I walked by?  Oh, and be sure to look up when entering a restroom at a building next door…lots of these buildings are in clusters which are mirror images of eachother with their floorplans to make it even more interesting.  I’ve walked into the mens restroom by accident in one of my past locations here a few years back.  Fortunately that hasn’t happened here…yet.

I soak all of this in with a warm smile and giggle.  I know I will get my bearings and everything will jive in time.  I know I will dig in, contribute, collaborate and drive in a style that’s uniquely mine and that’s taken years to refine…and has never, ever failed me.  I’ve zoomed in and out of shorter-term engagements many times since my last stint at this company wrapped up nearly 4 years ago.  It’s nice having that experience and quiet inner confidence within…my own personal pilot light.

But I’m also impatient and want to learn and understand everything RIGHT NOW.  Or yesterday even!! What can I do to add value RIGHT AWAY?  What are the goals, objectives and expectations of this part of the business?  What’s the weather report right now?  Are we in good shape or in hair on fire crisis?  Who are the key people to know?  Who are the drivers, the influencers?  And where are their offices located?  I might need a few extra minutes to find them in case I get lost or turned around, wandering the halls with laptop clutched in hand, ha ha. 

And where’s the nearest cafeteria?  One thing I’ve loved about this company (as well as the one I worked at briefly late last year actually) – the food service is incredible…and subsidized.  You can eat for cheap and there’s something for everyone.  I’m also hoping I’ll be able to eat more nutritionally now that I’ll have access to a wider variety of foods, salad bar, etc.  And hoping this will help with the whole weight loss dealio too. Honestly, when you’re at home most of the day and on a very tight budget it’s easy to slip into bad habits and not eat well.  Popcorn for lunch is not a good idea on a regular basis!

So, I hold a fresh cup of Koolaid in hand and begin the chug-a-lug yet again. But I’m also feeling road weary and battled.  I’m ready to rock but with a tiny sense of calm…I’m AT WORK AGAIN.  Is it something that could turn into a longer-term engagement or merely a welcomed landing on a steep, twisted flight of stairs?  Who knows.  I’m still getting job leads and even a few interview requests which I will likely dig into if they look promising.  I’ve learned to never, ever stop networking. 

And I kicked off the weekend with two great friends to not only celebrate my birthday but to celebrate the new job.  Given the past weeks delays, we weren’t sure it was going to be a new job start celebration as well, but thankfully it was, with just two days to spare!

I made a vow many months ago I’d be at work on my birthday and the Universe could NOT have cut it any closer.