Why I Didn’t Want to Leave My Job but Left Anyway

It came as a surprise to some folks that I took a new position after being at one place for such a long time. To others, it came as a relief, no doubt. But to be honest, I really wanted to stay at my current employer. I just wasn’t a great fit for what I was currently doing.

But I’m happy today. Me and Bogey the horse

I’d really been enjoying the work I was doing in diversity and inclusion there. I discovered I was really interested in the topic (thus all my book reports on unconscious bias and allyship) and wanted to help the company move forward with their focus on creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. I’d brought up the idea of creating an official position for D&I, and everyone I talked to thought it was a great idea and that I’d be a good choice. But, new CEOs, new initiatives, new reorganizations, and new priorities came up that made my urgent desire a not-so-urgent corporate nice-to-have. I totally get that, but I do want my colleagues to know I really cared about the people at the company and wanted to be able to help them with their concerns. Things just didn’t work out due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control.

He didn’t like the coffee.

In addition, I cared very much about the customers of this company and was darned proud of the work I’d done to help them succeed in using a complicated enterprise-level software “solution.” I would love to have stayed in my position where I contributed to that work, which is exactly why I took my new position: I get to do what I like and am good at again!

Mostly, though, I hate leaving people I care about and who rely on me. I know perfectly well that no one is irreplaceable. In fact, I repeated this endlessly the last time the organizational priorities and my skills and interest no longer meshed and I needed to go elsewhere. (I do feel I left those folks in a bad position, but they seem to have all found other good stuff to do.) Where I am now, I was onboarding new team members and serving as a mentor to a few other folks. I’ll miss this the most. I was actually doing my best to hang on as long as I could be helpful to my coworkers and do good work in whatever role I was asked to do.

This is Chevy, the other horse where I am. He is also gray!

Sometimes you have to change your jobs. I did have a choice here…to wait and see if I could find a better fit in the company or look at other options. It’s weird as heck that a recruiter called with the new position the exact same day I realized I had to leave. That sounds all pretty and like it’s a packaged tied up in a bow, but I just wanted to share that it was not an easy decision.

One of my character “features” is that I care. I care about my work and the people I work with. Things would be a lot easier if I didn’t. I was way too committed to the “servant leadership” thing for my own good, and really wanted to be there for people who need my encouragement or support.

Two pretty boys. Bogey is very, very tall. Both had their manes trimmed because of sand burs.

I wish all of you who work in large organizations the kind of leadership who provide encouragement, support, and mentorship. I’m not planning to seek opportunities to lead teams during my remaining few years in the workforce, though. I’ll do work I like, do my best, and give and seek support elsewhere.

All that Change Embracing Gets Tedious

This is a time of upheaval, and I’m really glad I spent my whole life up to now preparing for lots of stress and lots of change. I think if the past year had happened with my coping skills back when I was 20-something, I’d be curled up in a ball every single day. So, if you are that way now, don’t beat yourself up over it.

Such a happy gal

This week I have three meetings for three different organization, and of course I’m the secretary of all but one (that means I have to pay attention). Plus, there have been lots of shakeups and changes at my Austin job. Hard ones, some of them. But, I was doing well today, having finally gotten the temperature in my office under control, my webcam set right, and a fine ambiance. I even took a cheerful photo of myself to use on some PowerPoint for a work project.

Suddenly, I got a message that I have to be out of the office for two weeks, to be sure we’re all safe and following instructions from the state. I was like, “Right now?” Yep. Thank goodness I could finish the meeting I was in! So, I untangled all my cords and wires and brought all the things I needed over to my office at the Hermits’ Rest, which I’d been avoiding using for work, due to barking dogs and such.

I appear to be frazzled at the ole home office. And I appear to have developed a lazy eye in my old age.

Lee brought my office chair, so I don’t have to sit in a dining chair! Once you get things all set up for a modern “work from home” situation, you don’t realize how much stuff is involved. I had to move my fancy work headphones, my HD webcam, my ergonomic mouse, and my cute keyboard. Oh yes, and all the power cords and USB attachments for all of them. Good thing I have a lot of USB plugs. We did have to go back and get things I forgot, but now I’m set.

That’s my view. I guess it will make me concentrate more on work.

I got everything plugged in and working, though it’s not pretty. The desk is pretty (solid labradorite), but it’s pretty much all cords.

Well, I have no choice but to embrace this change and find the good parts.

  • Working in my office/den will encourage me to clean up some clutter that’s showed up here (I did clean up the air bed leftover from our last guest).
  • I have a really nice bathroom with birds all over it.
  • I have usually well behaved dogs lying around and sighing.
  • I brought all my pens, so I can write in color!
  • I get to look out a window and see birds and trees.
  • I can go feed my horses this afternoon with plenty of time to come back for my evening meeting, rather than having to drive back and forth to the office.

Um, and the commute is shorter! I will welcome more snow!

Oh, really, this is just a little glitch, and it will all be just fine. I’ll deal with it, I’ll deal with whatever comes up at work, I’ll deal with challenges my friends are facing, and I’ll do my best to remain positive about how next week will go, government-wise.

I know I’m supposed to embrace change! Honest! But, we are allowed to get a little annoyed, for a little while, before moving on and getting things done, doing the needful, etc. Keep me in your thoughts, and I promise to do the same!

Times Are Still A-Changing

Like I talked about earlier in the week, I need time to process change. Sometimes, though, you just don’t get that luxury. This is one of those times. Yesterday, that one hour when I wasn’t in meetings wasn’t enough time to process, because then I was busy trying to get all the other work I need to do either done or planned out (tomorrow will be catch-up day, I hope!).

Meetings started early, so I got to see the sun pop up this morning, through a dirty window.

Today isn’t much better, though things are a little more spaced out. I’m trying to do a crash course in an entirely different way to work, different teams, different priorities, and a lot of buzzwords. I can do it, but I realized as I was taking my decompression walk a few minutes ago that this is really like getting a new job. And the rest of us are getting new jobs, too. That’s always stressful, even when it’s a job you want!

Also seen on my decompression walk: giant swallowtail

The folks in my department (whatever it is, now) are all in the change stew together and can help each other. I think I was so worried about being slow on the uptake or not coming across as thrilled with all the new processes and such that I totally forgot I’m not alone! My colleagues haven’t done this particular before, either.

Honestly, you’d think I would have figured this out a little sooner, after blundering along trying to figure out how to live life with all the new pandemic parameters. It’s the same deal: yes, you still have to do the same tasks, but you have to do them very differently. You will not succeed at figuring it out instantly. No one else will, either.

Speaking of fun, I got remote-control fake candles for my office. That will entertain my roving eye and add to the curated clutter.

So, thanks, pandemic, for teaching me lessons. And thanks, huge load of work changes, for taking my mind off the pandemic. There, something to be happy and have fun with today! All right!

Accepting Change Is Not My Best Skill

Let’s see. What I’m trying to say here is that I have a hard time maintaining a poker face when my world takes a sudden shift, and I have an equally hard time rapidly processing sudden changes when I’m told about them. This isn’t a problem if I’m reading about something, all alone in my home or office. I have time to think about what’s going on, mull over the implications, push aside my knee-jerk reactions, and figure out what good spin I can put on it.

Message to self. Photo by @kristi_shlimovich via Twenty20.

In person, though, it’s hard. I’m guessing it’s hard for most people, to be honest. When your adrenaline starts running like crazy and you go into survival mode, your higher brain functions get sacrificed (it’s one of the things I learned in the Behave book I read a while back). The best I can do at these times is nod and plaster a smile on my face.

My brain trying to process a lot of new information at once. Image by @mylove4art via Twenty20.

For instance, yesterday in a work meeting, some changes were announced to our leadership team. Now, we knew something was coming, and probably most of us had an inkling of the kind of thing it was. But, with little prelude, we were shown a chart with all sorts of people, positions, and roles on it, many of whom we weren’t familiar with. The boss asked, “Do you understand this?” The other two colleagues, who are way better at office politics than me, nodded. I shook my head. Well, I didn’t understand it!

I’m the only one who asked for clarification, to help me process the shit ton of information I was supposed to internalize and grasp in 30 seconds. I did ask a few questions, to help me understand what was going on, since I will have to explain it to the people currently on my team. I’m guessing I was supposed to just say, “Okay,” and figure things out as I go along. But, I probably looked confused/annoyed and came across as a grumpy person who hates change.

I don’t hate change. Things change all the time. I simply find it easier to process with some context, reassurance that the sky is not falling, and some explanations of the rationale behind them. So, I didn’t get that, this time. That got me thinking.

If I have this kind of trouble, I should probably think about this experience next time I have to change something significant, change a process, etc. I think I do. I feel like I owe it to my team to provide context and rationale, rather than just say, “Here’s how it is now.” It’s not going to change the fact that a change is made, but it might help make it more palatable, gain buy-in on the new ideas or processes, and earn the trust of those I work with.

So many gears. No wonder I’m confused. Image by @rohane via Twenty20.

There’s a whole field of change management. I know it involves getting buy-in, setting expectations, and building up to the change. Maybe I’ll go study that some more and try not to do to others what was done to me. I had nightmares about having to implement something I didn’t know anything about!

Poor rigid Suna, ha ha. It’s just another effing growth opportunity, right?