I’m going corporate … movin’ on up, like George and Weezie.
But I’m not going to East Side, just taking a new job. Starting Aug. 7, I’ll be a technical communicator for an international credit card processing company based in Columbus, Ga.
“What” you ask, “is a technical writer?” Or, for that matter, “What’s credit card processing?” I’ll let you know soon as I figure it out myself. I guess that’s why the orientation takes a week. It’ll be weird having to explain to people what I do for a living. “Features writer,” is pretty self-explanatory. And I’ve gotta admit that I’ll miss watching the ire rise in some people’s eyes when they learn I write for “the Red Star”(editor’s note: a derogatory nickname for the Anniston Star) … not so much for those who feel the need to confess “I don’t read the paper.”
Unlike Transformers, we Buckners aren’t necessarily known for our smooth transitions. For all the good things that this new job promises, there will also be a bit of upheaval given that yours truly will no longer be a Write-at-Home Dad. Now that I’ll be leaving home like a big boy, the family will have to adjust:
The Diva is apt to become a latch-key kid entrusted with the code to the house alarm.
Jellybean (AKA Pokey) will have to get a move-on in the mornings given that she’s changing schools to be closer to Daddy’s job and has grown comfortable with moving at a snail’s pace.
My Lovely Wife will no longer be coming into a clean, freshly Febreezed home.
Still, my family is resilient. It’s me I’m worried about.
Being employed by a world-wide, multi-billion dollar corporation comes with certain expectations. The first thing I noticed upon reading the official dress code, “Visible tattoos are acceptable as long as they are not offensive.”
Wheewwww – at least there’s one thing I can check off my worried list.
But the rest made a cold chill run down my spine. Words like “dress pants,” “dress shirts,” “appropriate shoes” and “…tucked in.” To say I’ve been working under Casual Friday rules for the past three years would be an understatement. Most days I don’t even wear pants, consider bedroom slippers “appropriate,” all my work shirts have faces – from Charles Manson to KISS in full makeup – and save for the interview to get the aforementioned job, I haven’t tucked my shirttail in since my wedding day.
My panic doesn’t end there. While I’ll still have a creative outlet thanks to the Star allowing me to write occasional stories as well as this column (my dozens of loyal readers can now breathe a sigh of relief), I’m worried about fitting in at the corporate level. I was raised in a newsroom – career-speaking – and the rules of office decorum are a bit skewed. It’s place where weird is a mainstay and, like USA Cable Network, “characters are welcome.”
It’s nothing to hear someone shout out, “Hey! What’s the name of the creepy old, read-headed woman on ‘Who’s the Boss’?” It’s Mona, by the way.
Something tells me that won’t fly in my new cubicle space. And one distasteful joke, pun or random statement and the only thing I’m apt to communicate is my deepest regrets while technically pleading for my job.
I won’t let that happen. I’m excited about the change, about learning a new way of writing and of starting a new career. As long as I’m writing, I’m happy, even if I’m writing a new chapter in my own life.
Brett Buckner is an award-winning freelance newspaper/magazine writer who was raised in Albany.