So this is my new office. Since I have nothing to do, I’m just jotting down a few lines—not secretly, but…nonchalantly, in case someone comes in and thinks I should be busy at work. Which I would be, if I knew what in the world I am supposed to do here!
I think I’m going to be sick. First day job jitters.
It’s creepy quiet here, too. Where is everybody?
I decided to make myself a Twitter account. Natalie Taylor was already taken. So now I’m “iNatalie Taylor.” iNatalie would have been the name my parents gave me if I had been born a robot.
My first tweet: “Sitting at my desk. First day on the job. I am bored.”
And two people favorited it!
Second tweet: “Have to look like I’m doing something. Or they’ll fire me.”
One person favorited that.
I have fans and it’s my first day on the job! If they like this, they’re going to love my tweets from Paris.
Oops, phone is ringing, and I’m the only one here to answer it.
Just met Pete.
“I’m the custodian.”
“I’m the new secretary.”
“Oh.” Now what?
“Kate’s running late. Here’s your desk key.”
One crusty custodian gone.
My day officially started at 9:05 a.m.
“Sorry I’m late.”
It’s Kate. I like Kate—like I guessed, she’s the Senior Pastor’s right hand and head of office administration. She’s going to train me and tell me what to do. Well, best of luck to her…and me.
Right, so this is how my day goes.
Kate shows me around the front office.
Typical boring church office. We then walk further down to the end of the hallway and Kate points out the kitchen, coffee supplies, and I’ve been in enough church buildings to guess where everything is…and what it looks like. Linoleum. Sticky floors. Tons of leftovers in the refrigerator from who knows when.
“So why do you want to work at a church? You’re pretty overqualified. Tav thinks so, anyway.” Kate’s staring at me as she asks her question.
Tav thinks so. Hmph. Not that it matters personally, it’s just that I’d like to feel that my boss thinks I’m fit for the job.
“Did he say something about it?”
“Oh, not really, it just came up when Mark overruled him.”
“Oh…um…nothing. Nothing!” Kate says brightly. She’s looking worried, and I know she said something she didn’t mean to.
But I’m not letting go.
Kate sighs. “Well, its just that Tav didn’t think you’d be around very long, since you’re overqualified for this particular job—you have so many skills, and he didn’t want to get stuck looking for another secretary again so soon—”
“Stuck?! He thinks he’s stuck with me?”
“No, that’s not at all what I meant, I just…” Kate smiles and shrugs. “He’s…Scottish?” And we both laugh a little because what do either of us really know about Scottish people? Nothing. That’s exactly what I know.
Kate is very sweet, I could tell this right when I met her. But I am starting to see exactly what happened, and eventually she confirms my fears that Pastor Scottish James Bond Tavish voted no on hiring me!
That is both insulting and—well, no, just insulting. Turning down a perfectly qualified secretary?
Ok, I get that I’m not really qualified as a secretary, but he doesn’t know that so he shouldn’t be turning me down when he doesn’t know what I know that he doesn’t know.
“Well, I guess he’s got issues, but…it all depends on your attitude!” I hear myself saying and it sounds disrespectful and flippant. There’s that mouth again. I should carry around a muzzle.
Kate’s a good sport and I think she’s also happy to have some help in the office so she can go back to working part time. She lets it go.
“So what brings you to this church?” she asks again after we’ve finished our tour. “Doesn’t seem like your type of place…”
I want to say, “You have no idea!” Instead, I smile and mutter something about following God’s plan. This is true.
“There’s something different about you, Natalie. In a good way.” Kate is tilting her head at me. “You’re going to go places.”
I couldn’t help smiling. Go places is exactly what I’m going to do. “Well, I’m here now!”
Satisfied, she gets on with the training.
Starting with the bulletin. The bulletin? In this age of electronics and social media people still want a bulletin?!
Oh well. This is a small church. And Mark is from a small town and used to doing things the way they always used to—like when they struck two stones together to light a fire.
After Kate went back to her desk, I started to get even more angry about Tavish turning me down. Not even angry so much as…as…I have a hard time admitting when I have wounded pride, but I think this is one of those moments. I’ve come hundreds of miles to get away from a situation where I felt put down by a man all the time. Well, not anymore. This Scottish guy can think whatever he wants to about me. It doesn’t change who I am or where I’m going. I’ll laugh when I think of this on the Champs Élysées. I am a free, strong, independent woman!
I’m triumphantly stapling collated papers together when I see a guy strolling down the hall and into my office—goatee, earphones, cell in one hand, backpack in another, and I know instantly he has to be either the youth director or music guy.
He pulls out one earphone and starts nodding a lot.
“Hey, hey, I’m Brad. Thought we should get to know each other.”
“Great. I’m Natalie.”
“I work with the youth.”
“That was my first guess.”
“What gave me away?”
More than just earphones though. It was his walk, the way he spoke, the lazy sing-song intonations of his voice, something about his overall aura—but I couldn’t tell him that because it would sound rude.
“Dude. You on Facebook?”
I nod. “And Twitter.” My new Twitter that I am so pleased with.
“Awesome. Friend you. Follow you.”
And that’s really about it for today. Not terribly exciting. Being a flight attendant is going to be far more glamorous, but this will tide me over for the next three months.
Or even less.
I’m beginning to negotiate with God for two months. I mean I wasn’t really planning on being a church secretary. I’m very thankful for the job, of course I am.
But I hope it doesn’t last as long as I hoped it would before I started.