I know you’ve all been waiting with bated breath to hear the story of my most recent panic attack. Sorry that I made you wait so long, but I had to tie up a few loose ends before I could share.
First, the good news – I have been offered and have accepted a new job. Of course I am sad to leave coworkers who have become genuine friends over the past few years, but I’m also excited at the prospect of trying something new. Admittedly, my job has become monotonous lately, and it’s gotten to the point that I’m just going through the motions as my brain turns to mush. I need a new challenge. While I’m not big on change as a rule, I do want to develop my talents and grow professionally. My current job, while wonderfully flexible and easy, does not offer these kinds of opportunities. This new job? Tons of potential for growth, with the added bonus of business travel. I have always wanted to travel for work (I know, some people hate it, but for now at least it seems glamorous). Plus, the places I’ll get to go are pretty awesome. It’s exciting. Nerve-racking, but exciting.
“But Amanda, this all sounds so great, why are you having panic attacks?” you might wonder. Well, nothing about this whole new job thing has come easy. I first put in my application on May 7th. Yes, May 7th. Over the course of the past few months, I became convinced that they were just going to hire someone else. I am fortunate enough to know someone who works there (not a close friend, more of an aquaintence friend-of-a-friend type person), so I did have the inside scoop on where they were in terms of the hiring process the whole time. It just took a while, and there were a lot of applicants. The (first) interview was literally four and a half hours long and involved meeting six people. It was quite a day. There was even a second interview (thankfully not four and a half hours long), a personality quiz and a writing test. They clearly take hiring very seriously, and I appreciate that. It also made me feel pretty damn good when I was the one they chose.
All of these things, while not panic attack worthy, were stressful. I wanted to know the outcome and prepare accordingly. Finally, I got the call – I was hired! I just had to do a quick background check and drug test and we’d be all good to go.
Somehow I’ve made it through 29 years of my life and have never had to take a drug test before. It really doesn’t matter; it’s not like I do drugs. I had nothing to fear. But this particular drug test coincided with my miscarriage and the prescribed medication that I’ve been taking for it. I went into the company to quickly fill out background check paperwork and to pee in a cup. Interestingly, the receptionist was the one in charge of administering and reporting on the test. I warned her that I was on medication and showed her the bottles, which I was smart enough to bring along. I peed. I waited. A second receptionist got involved in the reading of the results. And then the HR person pulled me into a conference room and informed me that I failed the test. I had tested positive for opiates.
Well, yeah. That’s when the panic attack happened. I started crying pretty hard and explained that I was going through a miscarriage and was on this medication, which had to be what made me fail because I didn’t do drugs and I certainly didn’t do drugs while pregnant, which I was up until a little while ago. I’m sure it’s not the first time an HR person has had to hear someone cry. But still, it was embarrassing. I didn’t even WORK for this company yet. He was very nice about the whole thing and sent me off saying that it would all get straightened out once they sent it out to the lab for further clarification. But still, I couldn’t help but feel like the receptionist thought I was some huge heroin addict. Failed my first drug test. Just craziness.
It took several days (which felt like an eternity), but it did all get sorted. I had failed for the drugs that were precribed to me – and for future reference, Tylenol with codeine comes up as opiates on a drug test. You know, in case you were wondering.
And of course, because I am me, after being hired my mind immediately jumped to treatments. For all the negative things I can say about my current job, one invaluable thing that’s remained is their unceasing flexibility when it comes to leaving early, coming in late, working from home and not working at all when I need to. It’s been such a blessing. I’ve felt totally comfortable sharing what was going on, and my sort-of boss and friend has been known to say things like, “Please stay home today with your legs up” and “Take all the time you need to process and don’t worry for one minute about work. It’s all taken care of.”
It would be silly to expect that kind of environment at this new place, especially in the uncertain first few months. Taking a break from treatments is one thing, but for how long? What’s going to happen when I start up a cycle again? Of course I can’t predict the future at all. Maybe they’ll offer flexibility, too. I can only hope.
So one week from today I am embarking on this new professional path, which will hopefully feature positive change and new opportunities. I will truly miss the girls (and guys) I work with, who always seem to make me laugh when I feel like crying. But I’m not too worried about staying in touch. It’s a tradition I’ve kept up with almost all the places I’ve worked. I’m just going to bully them into hanging out with me and scare them too much to flake out. Sounds like a good tactic.
Here’s to new beginnings and taking chances (and passing drug tests).