Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Dawn of D-Day

For the longest time after I accepted my position at York, I set for myself a date to tell my boss that I was going back to school of August 1st. But as time progressed, I became more and more uncomfortable with waiting that long. I felt guilty, and uneasy, and it was starting to keep me up at night. I'm not the kind of girl who can lie by omission for weeks on end and not feel anything, which is both a good thing (in a truthfulness sense), and a bad thing (in a being comfortable sense).

A few weeks ago, after our launch, I was invited to an event at York being held in honour of one of our keynote speakers. My boss was invited as well, and we both decided to go. In publishing, networking and contacts are your greatest assets, and supporting this person may go a long way for us in terms of making connections and partnerships. It seemed to me to have good symmetry to tell my boss that I'm going to York on a day that we were going to York, and so I chose this morning to tell her. It also helped that we are having a big long-term marketing plans meeting on Friday, and I didn't feel like I could make plans for the next six months that I would be unable to see through to completion.

In our division, we all know something bad is coming when we're asked to sit down and close the door. Normally it's either that a) someone is telling us they're quitting, or b) we're being told that someone has been fired. So my boss was understandably nervous when I sat down and closed the door. It was hard to get the words out--I was a bit of a nervous Nelly--and she looked pretty much flabbergasted. Really flabbergasted. Which was the response I was expecting, really. I assured her that I didn't want to leave, and if she was willing to work with me in working out a flexible schedule, I could continue doing my job, in some form or another. She didn't seem to think that was the brightest idea ever.

However, as the day went on and she spoke to our colleagues and our president, things began to change. Publishing is an industry that is, in some people's opinions, beginning to die, and we're all feeling the effects of that. It began to dawn on my boss that having someone doing my job part time, with the help of some good interns, would mean getting nearly the same results for much less pay, and no benefits to cover. By lunch, she was fairly certain that she could make something work, and by the end of the day, she was 99% certain.

While my boss' response wasn't unmitigated joy (obviously. She likes me, and my work, and it's a pain in the arse to train someone new), everyone else in the office was very happy for me. One of our interns, who is going into her last year of an English degree at Queen's, was very excited to see someone going on to the highest level of English education that you can do. My two marketing interns were both thriled as well. It's so nice when people are happy for you!

So after many a restless nights contemplating, and a change in plans, everything has worked out for the best. I will keep my job on a part-time basis, which means that I get to keep working at something I love with people whom I love, and I will get to do my PhD. It turned out to be a good day. I especially liked the part when the director of Trade (who I've mentioned before as someone I really like and respect, and who I enjoy impressing) told me that if my division couldn't give me a job, he would. Love him.

So all is well in Mel World. I'll plan the sales conference (sales training, IT training, product training, and general department bonding), go off on my honeymoon, come back to attend the conference, and start school the next Tuesday. I'll work a day and a half a week until December, and then three days a week until April, and then who knows. But that sounds pretty great to me.