Do you ever look back on your life and consider the alternate routes it could have taken? What would have happened if you’d said yes instead of no to a question?
Maybe I’d be living in a different city, maybe I’d have lost or gained significant friendships, maybe I’d be driving a luxury car, and by luxury I mean one that came with cruise control…
I’m a storyteller and writer at heart. I often reflect on the choices one makes and the ‘what if’s’ had the choice been different. After all, that’s really just plot we’re talking about. How will the world around you change by choosing x instead of y?
My day job is in the process of transition and it got me thinking about the many different transitions my career has had to date. If I ignore actual position titles, and go by the tasks I completed day to day, then I have worked in the following fields:
- professional alphabetizer
- storage room cleaner
- napkin folder
- duster of knick knacks
- pizza maker and garbage taker-outer
- gift wrapper
- sales auditor
- bra fitter
- coach and counselor for commission sales team (AKA: the shark pit)
- latte maker
- social media guru
- sex trivia host
And that got me thinking to what I could’ve done in my career had a few application processes gone different. Imagine it, somewhere in an alternate universe, I am known as Jess Witkins:
- district level lingerie manager
- Catholic school secretary
- organic farm office manager
- grocery store deli worker
- hotel night manager
- bank teller
- or if my father had his way, cake decorator – which could work if y’all are in the mood for an “abstract” trend in the bakery business. God, remember that time I attempted to bake a tart??!
I can’t say I regret any of these “lost” positions. But I found it most entertaining to consider what life would have been like had I…worked in close proximity with nuns or spent eight hours shaving a honeyed ham.
Life would be very different. I might even pick one of these faux jobs and use it as a writing prompt just for giggles.
What about you? What alternate life would you lead had a past job application worked out?
Do we share a pension for habits and ham? 😉
It began as one of those mornings. Nothing was going to be easy. Still, I mistakenly started my workday by making what I thought was a simple phone call.
Me: “Hello, I’m calling about completing our SAM registration.”
Woman on Phone: “Certainly, first may I have your name – first and last – your email, and phone number in case we get disconnected?”
I spell out and listen to her repeat all my information back to me.
Woman on Phone: “And do you go by Mr. Witkins?”
Me: *silence* … “Um, I’ll respond to MS. Witkins.”
Really?? I know it’s early in the morning, but my voice isn’t that low?
Have you listened to my vlog? I sound like a Jim Henson muppet!
Me: “I need to complete our SAM registration.”
Woman on Phone: “Alright ma’am, and what’s your dunce number?
Me: “My DUNCE number?”
This lady is not making friends with me this morning.
Woman on Phone: “Yes, ma’am. Every organization has their own Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number.”
Me: “Oh, DUNS number. I have no idea.”
Shit. Maybe I should have a DUNCE number.
Woman on Phone: “No problem, I can give you the number to look up your DUNS number and you can call back here when you have it.”
Me: “So, I look up my DUNS number and then I can call back here to complete our SAM registration?”
Woman on Phone: “Yes, ma’am.”
Lies! She told me lies!
The next half of my morning was spent taking a variety of background checks and chatting on the phone with more women assuring me this was how I register our SAM account.
FYI, a SAM account is used for any agency that receives federal funding. It’s the registry that proves you are who you say you are, and funds are sent through that registry. My nonprofit employer needed to update our account, but the problem it seems is that our registry was logged under an employee who is no longer with our agency. So I was trying to access our account and update the necessary info.
These are the faces I made during the following process.
First step: Call 2nd phone number and ask for agency’s DUNS number. Get told they don’t give DUNS numbers out over the phone, but they’ll email me the website link to look it up online.
Second step: Go to the website which forced me to complete an online background check in which I was asked a series of multiple choice questions about my identity – not my agency – MY identity. What are the first two digits of my social security number? What county was I born in?
Third step: Now answer 4 more random security questions.
Fourth step: Pass the background check! Acquire DUNS number! Find out DUNS number was in original email requesting SAM registration all along.
Fifth step: Hit head on desk.
Sixth step: Call back to original SAM registration line. Give them DUNS number.
Seventh step: Become informed that I must create an account on the SAM registration website.
Eighth step: Do that.
Ninth step: Become informed I must submit a notarized letter signed by the head of my agency confirming I am who I say I am in order to be approved as the new agency account administrator.
Tenth step: Hit head on desk more.
Eleventh step: Write letter to be notarized. Get boss to sign it.
Twelfth step: Get letter notarized by a lady at the bank.
Thirteenth step: Discover the bank lady uses an embossed notary seal, not an inked one. So this will never show up when I scan it and send it to the federal government.
Fourteenth step: Scan letter anyway and email to government. Become informed I must create an account on a third website for that day.
Fifteenth step: Go home. The federal government hates me.
How was YOUR morning?