Tuesday, July 14, 2015
The Mending Season
~What breaks quickly generally mends slowly~
On the first day of the job I left this spring, I was escorted to the third floor where I would be working by my then supervisor. Immediately upon arriving on the landing, it was as if every sense in my body was screaming GET OUT. By the time I got to my desk I felt like crying.
It was bizarre and scary and telling, and since I'm not some new-age, hippie chick that dances by the light of the moon every night I shut that business down pronto.
The first month, however, was such a struggle that when friends and family asked, "Don't you just love it?", I would offer a weak smile and say, "I can't say yet. There's so much to learn and it's really different than anything I've done before." What was unsaid is that from the beginning it was the most difficult work environment I'd ever been in. If I were smart I would have turned around that first day and said, "Sorry, HR. You're not going to believe this but The Universe just sent me quite the warning and I'm going to have to go."
Responsible people, though, don't get a job and then walk out on a feeling. You stick it out and hope that the karma you're picking up on is dead wrong.
While there was a conflict that tipped the scale for me that week, I really hadn't planned on quitting on the day I gave my notice. But I walked up to the third floor once again and wondered, "How many more days are you willing to be miserable?" I clocked in, put my stuff away, got a cup of coffee and went into my new supervisor's office to give my notice. We both cried because we had a mutual adoration society going and my leaving was going to break that up.
There were many people there that I adored and leaving those friendships was incredibly hard, but I felt that I was spiraling down so fast that it was scaring me. There were attempts in the following week to talk me out of my decision but it was to no avail. I did my best not to panic about losing a second paycheck around here but that was on the outside. The inside was swirling and nauseous and checking multiple job sites over and over waiting to pounce on the right opportunity.
Six weeks later I broke my foot.
I went to two interviews after that wearing an orthopedic boot. Was that why I didn't get the job? Did they think my broken foot would never mend and they'd be stuck with a hobbling employee that is always late because she has to go to the doctor again? For the third interview I stuffed my swollen foot into a regular shoe and had my daughter drop me off outside the building so I wouldn't have to limp from a parking garage. I didn't get that one either.
Three "thanks but no thanks" emails in less than a week could make even the most optimistic job seeker a little shaky in their confidence. I started out shaky.
When I first quit my job, my neighbor who works for the school district said, "Oh good. Don't get anything until August so we can hang out this summer."
"August? Oh no, I'll have something before that," I said. Or so I thought.
It seems like destiny to me that I broke my foot. The thought of repairing my damaged emotions after two tough years was not what I was planning to do this summer. I was looking to dive right back into the work pool but was instead forced to prop my foot up with an ice pack and deal with my feelings. Some days that felt like being forced to sit in the cafeteria with the popular cheerleader in high school that was dating the boy who dumped me.
When another neighbor who is a nurse asked me how my foot was doing I told her that it hurt most of the time, that I couldn't seem to get anything done and that at some point during the day I would usually fall asleep. "Well, that's because you're in pain," she said, "and pain is exhausting."
It was as if my world cracked open and it was finally okay for me to take the time to take care of me.
Last week I saw my hairstylist and told her my summer saga of a broken bone, torn ligaments and dwindling job opportunities. Then I showed her the picture my niece drew of the main character for the children's book we've been conspiring to do together for more than a year.
She stared at the drawing and said, "Oh, she's adorable. Her hair! I think I might already love her." Then she looked at me and said, "You know that you're not getting the jobs because that isn't what you're supposed to be doing now? That writing her story is the job you're supposed to have?"
I do know that.
In my still, quiet summer I have discovered that landing the next job was never part of the plan. It was learning how to listen.