Listening to the Signs

Part of the purpose work that I’ve been doing has really had me thinking about the direction that I want to take in my life. Truth be told, the whole reason that I joined up for the group that I’m in is because of this very thing. Between the work in this group, and my work in therapy, I know something has to change, and I’m slowly starting to recognize what that is – but I can’t be sure of how to get there yet, or exactly where “there” is. But these things take time.

Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did. – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

When I embarked on this new approach to my life, the biggest change I was hoping for wasn’t necessarily in changing jobs, but more importantly being able to manage my stress levels from work. While working through that piece I was hoping, and still am hoping, to figure out what greater purpose I can serve, what really fulfills me in this life. Still, not necessarily a job change. After a holiday break with some serious me-time, and some new mindfulness practice, I was starting to feel a bit more settled about things. Work seemed somewhat manageable…at least my approach to it was far different than it has been in the past, so maybe I really could do this. For a good 6 weeks I’ve felt relatively calm, I’ve had a lightness in my heart and through my body that has been consistent and there was some clarity starting to peek through. Then everything changed.

A little over a week ago, I received word through a corporate email that a close colleague of mine was no longer working for our company. This came after a short string of lay-offs the prior week, but in a department that I anticipated this would happen, given the recent election and market shift within my industry. My particular department was already so stretched thin, that I never saw this coming. Not only was I shocked and saddened for my co-worker, and the manner in which I found out, but now I am dealing with the after effects. Her lay-off means an increase in my work load, one which has already been bursting at the seams for nearly two years now. As I’ve mentioned in early posts, I am already a workaholic. I work long hours, I’m under a good deal of pressure, I am faced with stressful deadlines, difficult personalities, and a boatload of competing priorities on a daily basis. I received the news of the new additions to my work load, and although I already have had more on my plate than anyone else in my department, I’ve been asked to take on even more than the others during this shift. I know that I am viewed as one of the strongest, which is nice, but I won’t be able to keep that up under this new structure – I was barely hanging on before.

Over the past couple of years I’ve heard the term “we just need you to roll up your sleeves” more times than I care to mention as they continued to pile the work on me, so when I heard that expression several times yesterday, I felt like I was going to choke. That’s all I’ve been doing is rolling up my sleeves and digging in – every single time that I’m asked, and always with a positive attitude. Well, this time it’s tough to be positive. None of this feels good. This new shift is going to monopolize my time, and the balance that I was just starting to see in my view has faded away once more.

Without knowing me, you may just think I’m complaining. I should be happy to have a job, and one that pays well – and I honestly am. But, given the years that I’ve put in, and given all of the empty promises over that time that things “will get better” when in fact it’s progressively gotten worse, leads me to the place where I am starting to contemplate that I may need to make a change. I never thought I would be faced with feeling this way about my job, and it’s a very hard one to digest. I have been blessed with success in this career, and I’ve always been willing to work hard – but the costs on my life, my happiness, and my well-being, are just too high. Oh, and my former co-worker, the one who was laid off, she’s actually happy about it. She says it’s the best thing that could have happened to her right now.

This all goes back to life being too short. The past six years since I’ve been in this job are a complete blur. I cannot allow myself to wake up one day and regret all of the time that I missed because I was so busy struggling to keep up, and for what? This is all still fresh, and I know there is a lot to figure out here, and quite frankly, it terrifies me. Nothing will happen overnight, but I do need to start seriously considering my next moves.

The events sparked a brief check up on my Linked In account, something I lack a bit in keeping up with,  and the first thing I saw when logging in was this post about the 5 biggest regrets people have before they die. I might say I don’t believe in signs, but these days I’m starting to pay more attention.



photo credit: chintermeyer Change. via photopin (license)

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