I will tell you what feels strange, but good. That would be having meetings with your supervisor and her boss in which both said what a great meeting it was and what good work you’re doing. It had been a couple of years since that happened. Nice.
It’s amazing how feeling competent can affect your outlook on life. I am tired every day after work, but not stressed out. I can handle that.
Other than being so tired I have trouble getting my volunteer stuff done, I’m still handling things remarkably well. I’m taking care of obligations! Who am I? Grown-up Suna?
While I’m sad I missed last weekend’s Master Naturalist conference due to the new hourly job, I can see it was a good decision. The one thing I need to work on more is paring down my to-do list and volunteer obligations. I may have to step back until I’m done with this job. Sigh. But I only have so many spoons, you know. Look it up if you’re unfamiliar!
I’ll knit now. That’s my spoon regeneration technique. I’m also still fairly competent at that.
As you know, I started a new job a couple of weeks ago, consulting at Dell on the software I worked with at the previous job. The new job features a very smart team, some fun clients to work with, and a reasonable and kind boss. These are all good things! I’ve completed a couple of little projects and a sorta big one already, and everyone seems pleased with it. No problems there!
But, my dreams have just not left me alone! I keep dreaming that I am unable to finish things, that I have messed something up (including one where I completely forgot how to use the software I was demonstrating). I’ve dreamed repeatedly of people telling me I’m not fitting in, am a poor worker, and that I don’t know what I’m doing.
Gee whiz, subconscious, what are you trying to say here, that I am Imposter Syndrome Queen or something? I’ve been doing really well in my waking hours with not taking criticism to heart, realizing that whatever went wrong in the previous job was not all me and had to do with something I wasn’t even aware of. I’ve been doing GREAT at not expecting everyone in the world to like me or think highly of my work. I am not basing my self esteem on someone else’s opinion, while still trying to do good work and owning my mistakes. That all sounds fairly adult of me (about time).
These things you develop as you are growing up really stick with you, don’t they? I was always so darned fixated on pleasing my dad and my teachers that when I made the slightest error I was horrible to myself. The hardest thing I ever did was give up on academia, because even though it was the best thing for me to do for ME, I was so concerned about disappointing my family and my professors. So outwardly focused.
No matter how much better I’m doing and how much I learn, little Suna keeps peeking out and waving around to remind me that I’m still a bit of a mess, just like everyone else is (thank goodness I realize THAT now).
I did have a weird work-related dream that made me laugh, though. I dreamed I wanted a Wendy’s walnut burger (??). I had not been to Wendy’s in a long time and it had changed since COVID into a weird antiseptic, white subway-tiled place, where you went in one at a time to order. When it was my turn, the server told me that before I could order, I had to set up my Wendy’s PIN.
Well, that was fine, I guessed. Then the server told me that my PIN had to be the number that corresponded to one of the things that was on a laminated sheet of paper. The paper had on it photos of various things. I can remember a glass of wine and some piece of clothing. I said, “I don’t have any numbers associated with those things.” The server insisted that I had to use MY number for one of the things.
I finally decided there was a number I could associate with one of them, and asked the guy, “So, where do I write it down?” He looked at me, all fuzz-faced and panicked, and said, “I don’t know! I just started!”
Whew. I got through the first day at the new job. Talk about information overload! At least I understand much of it!
Everyone was nice, and I can sure see why they brought me in. I’m glad I’ll have some juicy challenges to deal with and that I can help, I hope. My team lead said they were referring to me as She Who Must Not Be Named, because they didn’t want to jinx it.
I’d say the only bad part is having to go to two-hour meetings starting at 7 am…every day. I guess I’ll be going to bed even earlier now!
I’ll enjoy the extra money, though, and the smart folks I get to work with. See, I can handle change. I just get tired easily, you know, because I’m old.
Actually, my stress level is a bit lower, now that the house is on the market and Anita’s tenant has moved out. Just a couple more dominoes to fall, and we can get back to just taking pandemic precautions. Maybe.
Today I went in to Austin, because it’s book club day, and the day after Anita’s birthday. I must hand out post-birthday hugs! And, I must remove things from the Bobcat Lair house, because the garage is full and they can’t store anything else in it to get ready for staging and photographs. Leaving my sanctuary is hard, hard, hard for me. I love the house, the neighborhood, my roommate, and the fantastic neighbors there. But, it makes sense to sell now, while it’s worth a lot of money (no matter how hideous we apparently made it when we lived there), and Lee and I need retirement income.
I’m also in Austin so I can get ready to vacate my office at the company where I’ve worked ten years. I can tell you one thing: a Suna can accumulate a LOT of stuff in ten years, especially when she was still saving “important” papers from all her jobs since 2006.
I’m guessing Polycom is not going to ask me to do any more e-learning videos with so many acronyms they’re incomprehensible ever again, so I threw that stuff away. I also have stuff from every other time I’ve worked at Dell, and I’m not sure why those things were so important, either. I didn’t throw away all my old work pictures and stuff from when I had walls. I must find a place for my framed Breathe and Exhale images. I’ve loved them for so long that they are faded.
Anyway, I have been having some wonderful conversations with colleagues that have made me feel better about my image in the company (no, it’s not all negative after all, which I suspected). I just got on the wrong side of some political thing or another, and that’s all I need to know. I do want to make this known: there are some absolutely wonderful folks in the place I’ve been working, with life experiences and ideas I’m so glad to have had a chance to learn about. I’m hoping the company thrives and moves forward, because its people are making such an effort.
Still, I am all excited about my new role, and not just because I get to keep working with material I helped create many years ago. I always like meeting smart new people. My new boss even sends nice emails! And my new laptop comes tomorrow. I’m ready to roll with the changes, whatever they may be.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Folks, it’s been a very long and very hard week for your resident blogger, but the good news is that Suna is here, has met her challenges and come out on the other side with her pride and self esteem intact. That’s really, really good news.
I can generically shared that I got some quite unexpected and upsetting feedback at my job last week. You know me and my lifelong battle with self esteem…I was a bit of a mess there for a day or two. But, all this growth stuff I keep talking about kicked in MUCH quicker than it would have in the past. And life and the Universe already had an option ready for me when I needed it most!
A mere fifteen minutes after the unpleasantness, I had an interview for a job that I’d decided I just HAD to do, because it looked so interesting. After talking to the recruiter it became clear that there literally was no one else on the face of the earth more qualified for the job than me. It was like, “Here is the description of the part of your job you’ve enjoyed the most, but that no longer is a priority, so you’re not doing it now.”
I had a perfectly reasonable week at work this week, because I actually DO like my current coworkers and the project I’m working on. But, after interviewing with the cool and interesting people at the other job, it clearly was a better fit for my skills and my current stage of life. Oh yes, don’t forget that much better pay rate. So, I said yes and gave my two weeks’ notice where I am now.
I assure you, this was not how I’d wanted to wind down my career, but I think I’ll learn a lot, have fun, get to know some new people, and not lose the real friends I made at the current place. I think everyone will be happy with this. I’m really proud to have managed this transition as smoothly as I have. Things sure can work out, at least sometimes!
My readers, family, and friends: your support and kindness has really helped, even if you didn’t know it. It’s nice to know there are folks who appreciate you!