This one is long…I warn you…but I’m making up for my lack of posts for this week. So here you go…
When I first met my husband, as I’ve mentioned before, I worked for an organization I loved, doing a job I was good at and that I adored. I worked a ton of hours and my life was moving ahead a thousand miles per hour. I loved it. As we got into our relationship, challenges started to pile up, and I was questioning myself for the first time ever. Was I a good mom? Was I a good girlfriend/fiance/wife? Where did I belong? We struggled mightily, experienced devastating loss, and found ourselves barely limping along. At work I went from feeling like a star to sitting at my desk not knowing how to prioritize. Should I be worrying about my marriage? Should I be worrying about my little girls? Should I be worrying about the other parents involved? Should I be worrying about my husband’s anger? Should I run away as fast as possible? And how can I possibly keep working, and doing a good job, when all of this chaos and loss and heartbreak is happening at home? I felt stuck.
I was miserable at work. I resented that I had to be there. Normal annoyances, that we all endure in our workplaces, became capital offenses in my mind. I hated it. Because of that, I went from being a positive, optimistic, energetic, enthusiastic, and fun member of the team to a miserable, cynical, sarcastic, crabby, and negative member of the team. For the colleagues with whom I worked for many years they knew I was not myself. For newer colleagues this is all they’d ever seen of me.
After five years at the organization, in fall of 2010, I knew I needed to leave. I hated where I was and I didn’t like the kind of employee/team member I had become. That fall my personal life, however, began to turn around. Things started to get a teensy bit better day by day. In January of 2011, an opportunity arose for me to join a different organization, and I leapt at it.
It was the craziest change of pace. People sauntered into the office around 9am, left around 5 or 6pm, and they had the audacity to not do one ounce of work at night. Nobody received their email on their phones. There was no sense of urgency. People wore jeans to work every day. And the goals were vague and easily achievable. It wasn’t the pace I was used to, nor the kind of environment in which I could do my best work, but it was exactly what I needed in a time when I was piecing my marriage back together. We went into the summer of 2011 a happy, healthful, and solid little family.
As the summer wore on, and our personal life was better than ever, I started to get antsy at work. The truth is, I LIKE to get and respond to emails after hours. I LIKE to feel a sense of urgency. I LIKE fast paced work. I LIKE dressing up to go to the office (I don’t own all of these heels for nothing!). I LIKE stretch goals. While the job was perfect for me when I was trying to figure out my world at home…it now felt too slow-paced.
This past fall I was offered another fabulous opportunity. An organization that I thought would be more like my previous one. I jumped at it and thought it would be the perfect next step in what was turning out to be a phenomenal year. I’ve now been in this job for nearly six months and it’s…well…it’s fine.
I told you that in February I attended an event benefitting an organization for whom I used to work. I was nervous to attend because, as I’ve said, I wasn’t exactly “employee of the month” when I left. There were damaged relationships there. I’m ashamed of the employee some of my colleagues knew me to be. Because it is so far from who I actually am. I attended the event and it was amazing. I remembered just how talented and lovely my former colleagues were. Someone asked me that night if I’d ever consider coming back and for the first time I could look at the organization and my former colleagues objectively, not related to the terrible place I was in when I last worked there, and I said “yes! Yes actually I would!”
A mere three days later I was told of an opening at the organization. I was beyond excited. It was a position I really wanted, a role that would take an incredible amount of work, but I was convinced I could do amazing things if given the opportunity to take it. I applied and my interview was earlier this week. Which is why my posts have been so few and far between. I was completely pre-occupied with the interview process that I didn’t feel like I could write anything unless it related to this.
It felt like an opportunity for a second chance. An opportunity to prove myself to the organization that had been so supportive of me when I was truly struggling. An opportunity to show my former colleagues just what I’m capable of. An opportunity to do amazing things for an organization and a cause about which I’m incredibly passionate. I was ready to jump in and run towards my new goals.
And it would have allowed me to come full circle. I have managed to completely turn my personal life around and I was excited to have a second opportunity to be a star within this organization.
Some relationships would have required some repair but I was even excited about that. I knew it wouldn’t be all sunshine and flowers but I was up for the challenge and ready to start a new adventure. It was going to be a new ballgame for this girl and I was so excited I could hardly function.
I found out late yesterday that they gave the job to someone internal. Someone I’ve not worked with before but I’ve heard is lovely and is really really good.
Surprisingly, I mean shockingly actually, I was totally devastated. Seriously. I am not overly emotional and I don’t cry (no seriously…hardly ever) but I wanted to cry. Hard. Two years ago…hell…even a year ago I would have been mad, and cynical, and thought horrible thoughts about the organization and I would have been hard-edged, and crabby, and sarcastic about it all. But I’m just terribly sad. Very very sad.
I’m always the first person to say that everything happens for a reason. I know this to be true like I know that the earth is round and that the sky is blue. But yesterday, as I made it through the rest of my day with my husband and my little girls, I was on the verge of tears until I went to bed.
Sidenote…I believe it was for this reason that my husband somehow found (and actually watched from beginning to end) “West Side Story” on TV. I’ve been telling him about that movie for years and he’s refused to watch it.
Anyway, as I was saying, I was so sad. I’m still sad. But I know it happened this way for a reason. My husband was quick to say “I think you should be in finance…are there masters programs we can look for in finance? You’d be GREAT in finance.” To which I said, “if I were going to do any masters program, at this point, it would be for writing.” So he continued “I think you should just start writing a book. Right now.” To which I responded “well, I kind of have, it’s called The Year of What If. I have several pages done. There’s a website. You should check it out.” And on and on it went. I do love my husband.
When I get really sad I withdraw a bit to really reflect on all of it (so I can snap out of it faster). So here’s what I’ve got. A for one, I’m so so grateful that I am no longer in a place in which my first reactions to bad or disappointing news is anger, cynicism, sarcasm, and bitterness. THAT is a huge win. B for two, my support system is truly, undeniably, so completely amazing. C for three, I thought I’d had my professional heyday, my time to shine…but I’m starting to think I ain’t seen nothin’ yet. I will soon find out what it’s really like to have a job I love and adore and I will learn the real meaning of professional success. No I don’t know what that means, but I started to feel that strongly last night, so I’m going with it.
TODAY: What if everything (no…I mean EVERYTHING) happens for a reason. And what if my true professional success is out there just waiting for me to discover it?