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Here's a question: Is there any danger that keeping my magnetic, magic door-opening Schwab card in my pocket might render me sterile? That would be *cool*.

It's like being in school again: gotta have a hall pass. So, the woman who asked about my lower-back tattoo, whom I described as a "TV mom", turned out to be the president of the agency... funny huh? It's so nice not knowing who anyone is; you don't act funny around them as a result. Actually I got called into my boss's office once for complaints that I was being acidic and edgy, which my boss wanted me to know was pretty much ok with him but I should probably manage my pH such that it wasn't aimed at any of my superiors. He's a wise man and I agree with his methods.

Off and on while I've worked there, I've contemplated quitting. I'd think, "I've given it a good go but I'm just not interested in spending my time here anymore. I want to go in my studio and make stuff, and explore, and spend some time in the UK with Ash." Really I'm *just* getting into the swing of things there... I've been getting some interesting projects and the directors and their bosses have had positive comments about my work, which trickle down to me. That's nice and all, but working there just isn't what life is about. (Note: if you're a web designer, or a print designer who doesn't mind designing for the web -no production- Schwab is looking for people. Don't know how fine a job I've done selling the place...)

In my descriptions of working at Schwab, I was very detached and noncommittal about being there, and I was telling myself I hated it there. I made an appointment two months ago to talk with one of my bosses; my intention was to tell her I'd had it and I was leaving. But overnight, between making the appointment and having it, I was deeply contemplating what I'd say: Why did I hate it? Why was I quitting? The answers were surprisingly inaccessible. What was there to hate? I had great bosses, a gorgeous G4 with 2-monitor setup, fun and challenging assignments, and was being paid my entire annual salary from 3 years ago- to work only two days a week. I had a 15-minute commute, made a couple of good friends, and was praised and respected. I ask you again, What's to hate?!

With this realization, I was uncertain whether or not to quit. The income wasn't a big issue, but why end a good thing for no reason? I went to the meeting with my boss (really my boss's assistant) as planned, but decided instead of quitting to make the meeting about the impending holiday which Burning Man would necessitate. Since I had just taken a 2-week vacation to England, I thought this was worthy of a meeting. I was being flaky taking all these vacations and I had to own up.

So I didn't quit. In fact, I ended up rather frankly apologizing for being noncommittal, and for acting superior and suspicious of everyone else there. My boss appreciated that I was willing to transcend that behavior, and in fact told me that they were glad to have me; that people around the office had described me as being a "breath of fresh air", interesting and colorful, and a good contrast to the status quo. Whoa. People *like* me? The way I've been acting?? Suddenly I felt so ashamed of myself, and also felt a tremendous sense of humility which lifted me right off the ground with a sense of clarity and lightness. It was a huge epiphany. We ended the meeting with smiles and good will, and I walked back to my cubicle with new senses opened to my environment.

It was me all along, see. You probably knew that, and I've alluded to that already. But I hadn't known it; I thought all my behavior had been the utterly sensible reaction to being dropped into a sucky corporate nightmare. I don't want to sing any songs of praise and glory, but there really was, really *is*, nothing wrong with Schwab or CRS, at all. It was my attitude alone which was making me miserable; and being praised by TJ while realizing what a nightmare I had been, just left me feeling so humbled and aware of the fortune of my circumstances.

That's why I'm still there after trying three times to walk away. If there's any way I can communicate to my Schwab coworkers my gratitude for their patience with me before I ever do leave, I will certainly take that opportunity.

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