Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Panic Button

The panic button has been pressed. The waves of anxiety are washing over me. It started with not sleeping yesterday. Wait, let me back up.

My interview was yesterday at 1. I interviewed with 6 people. I sat at the end of a conference table and they took turns asking me questions. Some were general interview questions - identify your strengths; where do you see yourself in 5 years; what is your computer strengths. Some were "test type" questions - tell us what you know about establishing paternity; how do you understand the child support guidelines; can you manage a docket of 280 cases in a day. I was not nervous and I thought I did well on all the questions except the goal question. They asked what salary I would require and I told them. Set it fairly high.

I drove back to my building and walked up to my office. I walked in and my cell phone rang. It was the gentleman I had interviewed with. He offered me the job at the salary I requested. Plus full benefits - they pay my insurance. It means a $10k raise and then another $5,000 when you consider they cover my insurance. And the savings in the lower copays will be extensive too. Plus I'd have dental and vision. Throw in government retirement, 2 weeks paid vacation, 11 paid holidays and 12 sick days a year. Plus disability and life insurance. Well, it is a quite impressive package. The offer is contingent on my references checking out. I have no doubts there. They will insist on calling my current employer but agreed to wait until I can meet with the partners.

I talked to trusted friends and some internet buddies. Everyone, absolutely everyone, says this is a great opportunity. It means a better pay package. It means an 8 - 5, Monday to Friday schedule. It means no billable hours or quotas. It means leaving work at work and not taking it home. It means no after hours or weekend phone calls. It means concentrating on practicing law and not running a business. I called the associate who is under me in seniority. We had a candid conversation about salaries and billing rates and goals. He was offered another job last year and turned it down to stay. But he is meeting his goal - I am not. He does an area of law that is growing in this economy. I am not. My passion is working with children and the unfortunate. That doesn't pay all that well. Plus, you help a client and they are gone - you don't get repeat business. If I am to meet my goal and grow my practice, I'd have to do other types of law and I have no desire to do that.

It's a no-brainer. I have been praying about it. I'm a bit dense so I prayed for a sign - in writing would be nice. A billboard or sky-writing. The gentleman that called me said, "I'm sure you want to discuss things with your husband and pray about it." Pray? Was that my sign? Then I emailed him my references, as requested. He emailed me back. It was a long email. Not generic, but personal. Saying that he enjoyed meeting me and that my experience and character was exactly what they sought. He asked me to think carefully about my decision and pray. Pray - there it was in writing. I think this might be my sign.

And here I go again - being practical. Turning this post into an objective listing of qualifications and reasons why I should take this job. Instead of writing about how I FEEL and what I'm EXPERIENCING.

My heart is racing and my hands are sweaty. I alternate between chills and hot flashes. My chest is tight and I feel like my heart will beat out of my chest. But, no - I check and my heartrate is quite normal. I'm breathing quickly and feel out of breath and my vision narrows. It's a panic attack. The nausea finally clues me in. I've not had one this bad since before I was pregnant - back when I could take xanax to ward it off. With nursing that is not an option now. It's gone on quite long - a few hours now. Tylenol helped with the head pounding. But I know I can not sleep like this. Lying in the dark will make things worse. So I think I'll take an ambien and ask my husband to oversea my nursing tonight - make sure I don't fall asleep and roll over on Baby.

I wonder how long this will go on? Until I finalize a decision in my heart that I've already made in my head? Until I tell the partners? Until I start the new job?

So that is the WHAT - the WHY is for later.


Anonymous said...

It is a real sign of spiritual maturity when we ask Him for something, He answers and we simply give thanks and move on.

Imagine there are two 55 gallon drums in front of you.

The drum on the left is full of all the things the "enemy" wants to throw at you. (indecision, anxiety, distrust, doubt, lack of faith, etc.)

The drum on the right is full fo the thing of the Lord. (Faith, peace, tranquility, family, security, happiness.)

NOW you have to climb into one of the barrels. PICK ONE!!

Go ahead and choose. You, alone, have been given the free will to choose. Any decision you make, other than to completely climb into the 55 gallon drum from the Lord means you have chosen the other life.

Choose now Whom you will trust.

Ethereal Highway said...

Enola, I can really relate to this as an anxiety trigger. Change is very difficult for me even when it's for the best. That said -- HOT DAMN, WOMAN!! You did it! You're in! You da bomb!

What'cha waitin' for, honey?

(And on a strictly practical note, I think the shoes helped :-)

16 blessings'mom said...

I just want to say, Congratulations!!! With this economy, to get a job offer like that, how wonderful. And your body is your body, sometimes it takes time for your body to catch up with your mind. We cannot always help those panicky feelings. When you make your decision, your body will catch up with you. You are an amazing woman. You should be so PROUD of yourself!!! Whatever you decide, you are a sucess. And I know you know that God always answers when we seek Him. Does any of this make sense? I am not an expert on panic attacks, but I have had a few, and once went to the hospital thinking I was dying of a heart attack. Some of us just aren't good with change, but I think you will be okay. Just think: you survived sitting at that table with all those people asking you questions....the hard part is behind you!

quacks like a duck said...

That is Awesome!!!
County benefits are so, so good. That alone would seal the deal for me.
(I concur with Lynn, all change - even "good change" throws me into a bit of a panic... the anxiety should not be taken as a sign in and of itself).

Oh yeah, did I say WOOT!!!

jumpinginpuddles said...

sounds like ya freakin bout changes an i reckon change sucks but i rekon ya on a winna over there take it an run matie

DM said...

I used to think if I was brave I would not feel the raw fear that sometimes gnaws in my gut at times like this- come to find out, even the courageous feel panic...they just go ahead and do things anyway..

you know you have a butt load of people rooting for you don't you....heck this post has only been up a little bit and listen to the excitement...

BTW, what does your hubby think about the offer?

your friend DM

lawyerchik said...

Just stopped in to tell you that I think it's awesome that the results have been what they were in this interview. I'm a big one for changes - I hate making them, but when it's time to make one and everything seems to be lining up, I take that as a sign that God is really directing me to do something - and it's not just my own desire to run away.

I will continue to pray for you and your family as you sort through the details on this opportunity. Whatever you decide, I have the utmost confidence that you will make a decision that is right for you and for your future.


cornnut32 said...

what a difficult situation. it seems as if you have already made your decision. panic attacks are awful, and i feel your pain. i wish you luck--and i'll pray for you, too.

beauty said...

If I were in this situation I know that the panic attacks would stem from not being able to give myself permission to go after what I want. The fact that you feel such anxiety doesn't mean you shouldn't accept this job offer.

I think that we sometimes forget we have free will. I don't believe that there is only one perfect job out there for each of us (or perfect mate, perfect house, etc.) We have been gifted with the ability to reason, to think for ourselves, to use sound judgment.

Seems to me that you wouldn't be wrong in choosing either option--to stay where you are now, or to accept the new job. It's really a matter of preference.

Changes are scary, there's no way around that. From what you've written in this post, it sounds as if there would be more benefits to taking the new position rather than staying where you are. But the bottom line is that you are the only one who knows what would be best for you.

Does your hubby encourage you to take the job?

Enola said...

Mssc - the problem is that I'm never sure when He HAS answered. I don't agree that I've "chosen the other life" or chosen to distrust God just becaues I experience anxiety, indecision or doubt. I've spent far to long smothering my feelings to do that again. I'm relishing the fact that I am actually FEELING this decision instead of just going with my heart. And I truly believe God is rejoicing too - even if some of the feelings stink to go through.

Lynn - thanks! Changs is hard but it is nice to feel wanted. Oh and the shoes definitely helped.

16 blessings - you hit the nail on the head. It takes my body awhile to catch up with my mind.

Quack & JIP & Cornnut - thanks for your support.

DM - thanks for the words of wisdom. You're right - even courageous feel panic. It's what they do with it that counts. As for DH, he wants me to jump in with both feet and take the job. But ultimately he says it is up to me.

Lawyer - hmmm, everything is lining up. So maybe that is my sign too.

Beauty - that's a good point - about the panic being from not wanting to go after something. I think that is part of it.

Tamara (TC) said...

Whoa, I have been gone way too long! Sounds like major congrats are in order. Good for you!

I think for even the healthiest people change causes a bit of anxiety. Changing jobs is no small matter. Even when it is better pay, work conditions, etc. it is still a HUGE deal because it is where you spend most of your time Mon-Fri. It has to be more difficult when you can't take a Xanax. Even if you didn't want to take one, knowing that you could is helpful.

It is also anxiety producing to have to tell your current employer that you are leaving. I bet once you do that you will begin to feel better.

All the best, Enola. You deserve it!


Anonymous said...

I can't tell if you want the job or not. It obviously has a lot of very big and wonderful side effects. But what about the job itself? I wasn't sure from your post if it would meet your passion or not.

Whichever way you decide, may the Lord ease your heart and give you trust in him.

Kahless said...


(Take it!)

Angel said...

Wow, Enola, you did it!!! You are right, you have outlined all the wonderful things about the job but it's still not making you feel better. Yay for you not squelching your feelings or dismissing them. Feel the fear and do it anyway! (That's a book title, I can't take credit for the phrase but I really like it.)

I am so excited for you! This sounds like exactly what you need. You have been praying and it certainly sounds like the signs are all pointing towards taking this job.

For me there would be the awkwardness of having to tell the current employer, but you have been there 7 years. You know your area of expertise is not a moneymaker for the firm. You are not interested in working in any other area. Maybe this decision you are making is saving them from having to make an equally painful decision later but one that would have a negative impact on you? Sometimes people in businesses have to made decisions that make financial sense but their hearts hate it. Times are difficult right now for a lot of businesses. It sounds like you may be doing the right thing for yourself AND for your current firm. Have faith. {{Enola}}

pip said...

Hi Enola

God bless you in your decision. I would focus less on the security the job brings, and more on what you feel is your personal calling in life...whom it is you feel God wishes you to work with and help. Perhaps it is enough for you to have been offered such a job...a validation if you will...or perhaps it really is time for a change. The answer is in your heart and in your prayers. God bless you.

Rising Rainbow said...

Congratulations, Enola, whether you decide to take it or not, you did it! You got the offer. How cool is that!

Personally, I think when you follow that little voice inside that directs you through what's right and wrong, you can't make a mistake. I think that little voice is how God talks to us.

April_optimist said...

I am so happy for you! It does sound like a great opportunity. At the same time I understand the anxiety over telling your current bosses. After all, how did your parents react when you told them things they didn't want to hear? But odds are the people you work with now won't react as badly as you might fear. Still, I have stood in that kind of fear, too.