Went to See the Wizard … and Turned Right Back Around

Back when I was still with Ginormocorp and my plans of moving to Orlando were well known, I often joked that if I lost my mind and decided to go back to work, I’d only work for one of the theme parks.

You know where this is going, right?

It’s late October and I am BORED. I’m bored mainly because I can’t establish a writing routine. Mr. Mandalay, still on the Eternal Quest for a Job, busts into my office regularly asking if I thought he should apply to this job or go to that job fair, and it’s hard to write when constant calls of “Honey!” float up the stairs. I have attempted to establish boundaries, but short of locking the door–and don’t think that I haven’t considered it–they’re cheerfully ignored.

In an effort to drum up some freelance business , I put my resume up on Indeed.com.  For the most part I’m able to ignore the various (and spurious) offers that come my way.

In early November, Mr. Mandalay gets an email from the theme park I’ll call the Wizard’s Lair, the other being the Mouse Hole, of course.  It wants him to come for an interview.  He put in an application in July, so he is pleased.  He goes to the interview and is pretty much hired on the spot, so there is much joy in House Mandalay.

Then I get an email from the Lair via Indeed inviting me for an interview.  It intrigues me, even as the two voices in my head have a debate while I research the Lair on Glassdoor.com.

“You said you’d only work for a theme park,” says one.  “Come on, think about it.  It’s right down the road!  You can go any time you want!  ALL THE HARRY POTTER STUFF!!  How bad can it be?”

“It’s still work,” says the other.  “You haven’t given the writing thing a chance.  And you complained about how corporate Ginormocorp was.  This place will make Ginormocorp look like a mom and pop shop.  You’re gonna hate it.”

In the end, I go on the interview because Glassdoor says the Lair’s a good place to work.  It’s a cattle call; there are easily seventy-five people in the room.  My experience is solid, so I’m not surprised that I’m offered the job, to start training the second week of December.

There is a certain cult-like mentality at the Lair–not as bad as the Mouse Hole, but still there.  Once the novelty of free park admission and discounted merchandise wears off, I’m reminded of all the things I really dislike about working in a call center, namely having to deal with the general public. I also realize that I’ve grown accustomed to my time being my own and not having to be anywhere at a particular time.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mandalay’s career at the Lair is coming to a rapid end, thanks to a shoplifting incident from the cart he was working.  He’s complaining about the job so much anyway that it’s probably for the best.  I’m still in training, but I make the decision over New Year’s weekend to leave.  The trainer actually sheds tears when I tell her–“but you’re doing so well!  You’re gonna be a star here!”  I get to keep my name tag, which now adorns my stuffed Smurfette, but when I walk out of the training center I feel nothing but relief.

I am not dissing the Lair.  Under different circumstances I would have happily stayed.  At my age, though, I don’t want to “grow my career” for a huge entertainment conglomerate.  If anything, the experience spurred me into getting organized, to plan and schedule things.  If I need pocket money, there’s always Textbroker and the like.  Also, I like the Lair as a guest, and one of my things was “I don’t want to start to hate it”–the same reason I’d turn down the Mouse Hole if it came calling.

Mr. Mandalay is still on the job hunt, but I’ve finally gotten through to him that when I’m in my office, I’m working, and not as his employment counselor either.

So long, Lair, and thanks for all the Gryffindor t-shirts.