Should I stay or should I go?

February 5, 2009 at 5:32 pm 2 comments

This question occurs in various situations — a bad concert, a lousy film, a ghastly play, a destructive relationship, a difficult job, etc. Well, I couldn’t make up my mind about my husband one way or the other for nearly 19 years now. What happened? Not much. But I’m finally working on it.

However, today it’s about the job. It started as a six-month thing, but they want me to stay. It’s up and down for me — sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t. Yesterday I thought I’d stay there for another year, today I don’t see how I could stand it, tomorrow I’ll think it’s the best place to work. That’s all irrelevant.

I decided to look deeper, and as luck would have it, after this morning’s four-hour staff meeting, I asked one of my colleagues if she’d like to go out for lunch with me to the new Chinese place in town. I’ve been wanting to go there, but the rest of my family isn’t so keen on Chinese food. This morning I decided I’d go alone, but after the meeting came the spontaneous idea of asking her.

We had a nice time — talking, eating, then talking for another hour. (Here they don’t give you the bill and make you feel uncomfortable if you don’t order anything else.) I think we would’ve easily sat there for another hour or two, but I’m going away for a weekend seminar tomorrow and have to get some stuff done before I leave.

Of course we talked about work. We spoke about the challenges, what we are learning through it, how fortunate we are to be working with mentally disadvantaged people — they give us a whole different take on things. Their directness and honesty, as well as their vulnerability and dependence, present us with no small responsibility.

Through talking with my colleague, some things became even more clear. Yesterday it had already occurred to me that part of the reason I’d want to quit is that I’m not perfect and I dread making mistakes — and mistakes in this job are inevitable. At times I feel overwhelmed, and rather than admit it or ask for help, my tendency is to quit. (Actually, that’s not totally true. There is a strong tendency is to suffer in silence. Ouch!)

Working with people in such a close way, I cannot control every situation. I cannot anticipate reactions. It is a true challenge. But I realize that it is a challenge that enables me to learn and grow, which has always been a priority in my life. (Even though it’s rather uncomfortable at times.)

One special opportunity is a resident who at the moment is extremely challenging. All of us are having a difficult time and don’t know what to do. We are brainstorming together, discussing it, and working towards a solution that is good for all of us — including the difficult person. The challenge is also to accept that even though we do our best, that will not guarantee a happy end. It’s totally new for me to work in a team — to discuss things, work things out together. It has always been an ideal for me, but unfortunately I chose a partner who doesn’t work like that. So I relish this new experience, though it is hard at times.

It hasn’t been easy to be the new one on board, but they have been extremely supportive and helpful, accepting me with open arms. Perhaps even this experience has thrown me off — I’m not used to it. It requires a new way of thinking and behaving. I’m not always sure of myself. And of course I wouldn’t want them to “catch” me making mistakes. In the meantime, it’s become less of a big deal. I’ve learned that it’s more important to communicate, to keep the common goal in mind (the welfare of our residents), and to trust each other. It can be mind-boggling to suddenly get what you want. Even that requires adjustment! In this case, I have a fantastic group of colleagues who are dedicated to their work, generous, kind-hearted, and each of them brings something special to the group.

We reflected on how lucky we are to have this opportunity. I’m learning to face up when I make a mistake, to say “No”, to think more closely about the consequences of my behavior, to recognize my limits, to expand my knowledge and practical abilities. With such colleagues and developmental prospects, what more could I want?!

When I’m honest, much of my resistance to the job has to do with fear and insecurity. I’m not always sure how to do things, how to handle various situations. True, this is an interim employment. In the long run I see myself doing something else. But right now, it is a wonderful opportunity. After nearly six months, I’ve developed somewhat of a routine and adjusted to juggling kids, household and job. (Oh, and the cats!) This weekend I start a three-year continuing-education program (one weekend a month, summers off).

It logically makes sense to stay put and enjoy some stability while starting a new project, rather than quit or look for something new. (Not to forget the present unemployment rates and the fact that I want to be able to support myself!) There’s enough going on, and there is enough adjustment to be made. I don’t need to throw a wrench into the works. As it is, life gives me enough unexpected twists and turns to deal with. The present job was a coincidence. The upcoming further education a total fluke. What’s next?

What I’m trying to focus on now is: to not only cope with what life gives me, but to see it all as an opportunity to learn, to grow, to understand. All of that, in my opinion, leads to me becoming a better person, which in turn means I can better serve the world — in my own humble way. Whew! This turned out to be a real rambler!


Entry filed under: daily challenges, going back to school. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Filling in the gaps Intermittent tangential deviations

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. goodbadandugly2  |  February 5, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    you made some very good points!

    • 2. diaryofarecoveredbulimic  |  February 5, 2009 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks. I hope I convinced myself as well! I’d like to make the necessary/appropriate decisions, then let go and just do the work that life sets before me, and stop trying to decide what will be a year or two from now.


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