High-Low Heels: A New Trend

Change is in the air.

Miles run yesterday: 4.5

Words written in my novel so far: 62,326

Times I have revised my resume since September: 12

Looking for a job back in corporate America of course makes me recall my early experiences with corporate America. I was in my mid-twenties, and my career stretched out in front of me with promise.

My first job after college was as a public relations assistant for the city schools. I loved it. But I was ready for something bigger; something where I could spread my wings and fly. So I applied for a new job.

Some jobs, like relationships, are doomed.

The fact that my car wouldn’t start as I left for the job interview should have been a huge red flag.

But I borrowed a generous friend’s car for the 40-minute drive, got the job, and went on to eventually wish I hadn’t.

On my second day of work, Hurricane Fran struck the Triangle. Our entire tri-city area was shut down. Trees lay across major highways, the power was out everywhere, and the newscasters were telling everyone to stay home.

But I had to go to work… I didn’t know my boss’s cell number (or, geez, if she even had a cell phone), and I didn’t yet know the protocol for what to do in an emergency situation.

So I drove through fallen limbs and debris, downed power lines and crushed cars to get to my new job.

Which was dark.

Very dark.

I tried going to HR to ask if they knew my boss’s number. But no one was there.

After waiting for a while to see if the power would come back on or people (any people!) would show up, I went home.

The job didn’t get much better after that.

One time, when my computer wasn’t working, I called in the IT help desk guy from next door.

“It would help if you plugged it in,” he said.

We did not have a close and meaningful relationship after that. In fact, I think he and his cohorts giggled every time they saw me.

My boss took a job at corporate about a month after I started and told me to move into her office immediately.

“I am telling you this to help you learn about the corporate world; I am helping you,” she said. “Move into my office now, and get situated. They won’t have the balls to move you out. Remember: possession is nine-tenths of the law.”

I moved in. It was a terrific office, especially for an almost-25-year-old. I had a big credenza, large desk, two nice “company” chairs and a fantastic swiveling desk chair. The office was freezing cold in both winter and summer, and I acquired a space heater from someone in HR that I had to hide when the office was inspected for fire safety. One time, I started getting weird burn marks on my legs, and I eventually figured out it was my heater.

The good news: there were Hershey’s kisses in a bowl on one of the secretary’s desks. I went to visit her when things got bad. I never could figure out why I put on five pounds that year.

One day, about a year and a half into the job, I was so tired. I was planning a wedding and working and couldn’t seem to get anywhere in the building without it taking supreme amounts of energy.

I looked down, and I was wearing TWO DIFFERENT SHOES.

They were both black pumps, but distinctly different heights. All day, I had been schlumping around the building, clomp-CLOMP, clomp-CLOMP.

When I had gotten ready for work that morning, I was trying not to wake up my almost-husband. I reached into the dark closet and pulled out two shoes. Not then and not until hours later did it occur to me that they could be two very different shoes.


When I left that job, I moved to a very similar job at another company… in a cubicle. It was the best cubicle I ever had. It was the best job I ever had. And every single thing about it was easier than the broken-down car/hurricane/great office/Hershey kiss job.

You better bet I appreciated it. Every day.

I donated one of my pairs of black pumps to Goodwill. And bought some navy blue ones with a wildly different texture. Lesson learned.


31 thoughts on “High-Low Heels: A New Trend

  1. Melissa says:

    Oh, if I only knew then what I know now…the jobs I would have avoided and the jobs I would have applied for…hind sight sucks. I’ve done the shoe thing as well, only one was brown and one was black. I sat at my desk all day and tried not to go anywhere else in the building. Now, I’d show everyone my unique fashion sense.

    • annewoodman says:

      Funny how age and how far you are into the job affects how “real” you can be, isn’t it? I don’t fool myself into thinking this same thing couldn’t happen to me again. ; )

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    I knew when I started requiring medication for acid reflux pain–something I’d never experienced before–it was time to pursue a different track. I stayed in the same field, but transitioned to something else that made me happier and got me off that medication. I hate taking meds of any kind. It was my body’s way of telling me what my brain already knew.

    Glad you found something better suited to you!

    • annewoodman says:

      Ugh. I despise medications, too. Needing them is usually your body’s way of telling you: something is wrong. SOS! I’m glad you found something more fitting, too.

      • Carrie Rubin says:

        Yeah, sometimes we need meds–and thank goodness we have them–but if I can do the same thing through sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet, then I’m all for it.

        Okay. I’ll get off my soapbox now.

  3. Bernie Brown says:

    I don’t have a shoe story, but one time I wore my sweater inside out to work. Anne, good luck with your job search. I think any company would be lucky to employ you. Do take a second look at your feet, though, before leaving the house; and, with me in mind, make sure your top layer is on right side out!

    • annewoodman says:

      Thanks, Bernie! Yes, I should probably give myself a thrice-over before exiting the house… it’s so easy to miss something major!

      And thanks for the words of encouragement… always helpful. ; )

  4. Haha! I read your comment on my blog today before seeing this post, I knew what it was going to be about as soon as I saw the title!

    Sometimes we need to take notice of the signs telling us that something isn’t going well don’t we!

  5. jmmcdowell says:

    Well, if we always listened to the universe, how would we learn from our mistakes? 😉 I haven’t done the mismatched shoes—but I have done mismatched socks. Trying to keep my feet hidden preoccupied my mind those times!

  6. J-Bo says:

    There must be some universal law that first jobs have to suck. Probably so we are grateful for other ones later on. That office sounds pretty badass, though.

    One of my fellow students in graduate school conducted a day’s worth of therapy sessions with mismatched shoes- it happens!

    • annewoodman says:

      I am pretty sure your fellow grad student and I are now linked in some cosmic way.

      I was wishing I had a therapy session at that point. For me, I mean. No one has asked for my advice lately.

  7. Amy Mak says:

    That is funny! Good look job hunting…yucky…but great to see you making so much progress on that novel. And the running. The cold always makes me want to stay inside on cold dark mornings…let us know how it goes all the way around!

    • annewoodman says:

      Thanks, Amy. Yes, my goal on the novel was to have it completed by this week. Maybe I’ll need a few more days. ; ) But I’m getting close!

      Running early on dark mornings can be fun, but I always get so tired later on!

  8. Best of luck to you with the job hunt! I worked at a desk for a number of years before staying home a number of years and now I’ve finally decided that being a yoga instructor really makes me happy, so I figure if I’m going to work, it should be at something that not only doesn’t cause stress but eases it. It’s funny how getting to a certain age helps us to come to a new state of wisdom 🙂

  9. I see you’re trying to recycle that comment you posted on Vanessa’s blog, eh? For shame!

    Oh, pooh, it was a great post anyway. As ususal.

  10. 4amWriter says:

    Funny. I have not done the mismatched shoe thing, and I’m surprised actually that I haven’t. There have been many a morning that I’ve run out of the house completely at my wit’s end.

    Gosh, your resume situation sounds eerily similar to my query situation. I think I have probably revised my query as many times in the past couple of months. Aaargh.

    • annewoodman says:

      Query letter/cover letter, tomayto, tomahto. Same thing. And strange to be doing both! I’m heading to my writing conference this weekend, and I have my first incarnation of my query letter for this novel in hand. I know it’s only the first of many. ; )

  11. Mismatched shoes – oh, poor you. I felt so terrible laughing. It reminded me of a bad job where I actually forgot how to walk. I would have to walk through the desks on my floor over a dozen times a day, and each time I would do it differently, so self-conscious, completely unable to remember how to put one foot in front of the other in a normal way.

  12. Ravena Guron says:

    As long as no one noticed? (No one noticed, right?) I would have just taken off the shoes. I think it’s a new trend. The other day, in a supermarket, I bumped into a boy. He must have been slightly younger than me. My eyes were drawn to his brightly socked feet. His eyes were drawn to my shoe covered ones. One of us walked away thinking we’d missed something 😀

    • annewoodman says:

      Ha! You’re so funny!

      As far as my shoes, no one noticed (I don’t think??), but I am the sort of person who will then walk into everyone’s office and scream, “Look at what I did when I woke up this morning! OMG!” It’s the kind of thing that tends to make people feel better about themselves.

  13. This tale was just the giggle I needed on a Sunday evening! Thanks for that! (My mother has, by the way, ventured out with mismatched shoes – and still wails about it, and on her last trip FORGOT TO PACK PANTS. I guess that’s a side effect of awesomeness.)

  14. Your sentence structure and ability to tell a story ALWAYS pulls me in. You could write about anything and I’d love it! Really, I can’t wait for your novel to be finished and available!

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