I hope I’m not jinxing myself, but I believe work things are so much better. This morning, I had a casual conversation about donuts and weird things people from outside of Columbus say. There weren’t any asinine request or long-winded complains. Unfortunately, this donut-style conversation hasn’t been the norm for two years.
I began a new position two weeks ago and the difference in everything has been night and day. While I haven’t written in detail about my previous job (you know, trying to avoid getting fired), we’ll just say that it was bad. Bad in every sense that a job can be bad. My co-workers and I were quite convinced they were actually using stories from our department to write for “The Office.”
Here is where the irony comes in, I’m still with the same company and my new desk and department is approximately six cubical rows (roughly 48 feet) away from my old desk and department. Meaning, I still see all of my old co-workers on a daily basis and they jokingly ask me what I’m doing in “their” kitchen.
Here’s the back story on how I got from point A to point C.
Six or so months ago, I set out on a plan to find a part-time professional position. Knowing that D was up for a promotion and raise this year, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. We would finally have a work-life balance that allowed for more time spent with the kids, without sacrificing income. In other words, we wouldn’t be eating ramen noodles from our van-home down by the river. This would also get me out of the very icky position I was in.
After meeting with a recruiter and registering with an agency that places freelancers for all types of positions, I waited. Surprisingly, I didn’t wait long before I got a call about a part-time professional position that allowed me to work from home. It sounded like a dream. I interviewed, I researched, and then we got to the salary. No go.
So, I waited some more. Nothing was coming in. Recognizing that I had set some stiff parameters, I began looking within the company I was already working. At that same time, my recruiter called to ask if my company was hiring and if I could help him get a position there. I did not email him back, as I felt that was just about the most unprofessional thing a recruiter could do. This officially ended the search for a part-time professional position.
The positive thing was that I started getting a lot of interviews within my company. They all sounded okay, but nothing really stuck out. That is, until my good friend recommended that I interview for a position she had just interviewed for. While this might sound odd, she had decided she would rather leave the company than move departments. After confirming about five hundred times that she was sure she didn’t want it, I took the opportunity and met with the hiring manager.
When the hiring manager lead the interview by talking about work-life balance, I was hooked. My favorite quote from her during this conversation was, “I haven’t yet found a situation I can’t work around.” Meaning, she was open to virtually any working arrangement as long as the work was getting done.
Five months after that interview, I’m here. And everything she told me has been true. The people are awesome – friendly, welcoming, helpful. The work-life balance is phenomenal – work from home, flexible scheduling. I’m still trying to remove the fear and the knot in my stomach when I ask for time off or the ability to leave early. I feel like I’m a newly adopted, formerly abused shelter dog. I’m a little broken and fearful, so I’m going to need them to be a little patient with me while I learn to how to let my guard down and function again in a normal society.
I had mistakenly thought, as many would do when they are in the face of no other option, that my old work situation was only impacting me and maybe a little bit D (he had developed dishpan hands over the last few years that I have boycotted dish duty in wake of my crappy job situation). And then last night, my son made a comment about being happy that I was home for dinner. While I had thought that I was home for dinner on a relatively normal basis, the truth is that I wasn’t and I wasn’t emotionally present when I was physically there. A three-year old noticed this because three-year olds have all the time in the world to notice things. After many years of juggling and the wrong entity getting the most of my attention and energy, I’m so excited at that I am finally in a situation that I’m hopeful will provide more balance.