Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Looking back with thanks....

At Thanksgiving 2009, shortly after I began blogging, I wrote about a turning point for which I was especially grateful. It set me on course to become what I am today, a BLissed-Out Grandma. Here's a tweaked version.

About a year and a half ago {spring 2007], I was sitting in my car sobbing on a bright May morning because I didn't want to subject myself to one more day in the toxic cesspool that my place of work had become.

Peter said, "If it's this bad, go in and quit. We'll manage somehow."

So I went to see the Human Resources guy, and I described a few of the freakshow conditions to which our staff was being subjected. I told him what my husband had said. He asked me, "Is that what you want?" I took a deep breath and said, "Yes. This is sucking the life out of me. I have to get out."

The HR guy said, "There are going to be changes. Do you think you could wait a bit?" His tone told me what I needed to know, so I said yes, I'd wait it out. Three months later, they finally fired our boss. Things got better immediately.

The same week our boss left, I drew up a proposal to work fewer hours with fewer responsibilities: Instead of managing seven creative people I would work 75 percent time as a senior writer-editor. "Okay," they said. I wanted to work one of my days at home. "Okay." (A year later I asked to go to half-time and they said "Okay" again.)

And that is how I went from a thoroughly unhappy, burned-out, acting-out director of publications to a mellow part-time writer-editor and part-time day-care grandma who calls herself blissed-out.

I am thankful that the HR guy was willing to suggest I wait...he managed to tell me just enough without violating professional ethics. I am also thankful to Peter for saying, "Quit if you need to." Feeling that I could quit made it less necessary to do so, because I no longer felt trapped.

At the time I wrote this I was a year from retiring, though I didn't know it yet. Our bad boss was replaced with someone both knowledgeable and appreciative, and when I retired I could look back on my nearly 30-year career at the college with satisfaction. That couldn't have happened had I quit on that memorable day in May 2007. 

We have many things for which to be thankful, and I regularly express my gratitude for the life I'm living now, especially the opportunity to care for and mentor our grandchildren. Looking back, I'm thankful that I spoke up that day and said I was ready to quit, and equally thankful that I didn't. 

Sometimes it's difficult to speak up put things in motion. But once we do, the outcome can be even better than we'd hoped for. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.


Linda Myers said...

That was a great ending for you. I quit when my work environment got too toxic, and there was no one in HR who could help. Just as well. I'm so glad to have my life back!

Ms Sparrow said...

It takes great courage to do what you did. I'm glad that everything turned out so well in the end. Still, it's a crying shame that things got so bad you had to threaten to quit.

joeh said...

Amazing how so much can be said with so few words, and a HR person could save himself the job of trying to find and train your replacement. Smart guy!

Nice story.

Happy Thanksgiving!

stephen Hayes said...

I love stories like yours, stories with happy endings. I hope you and your family have a peaceful and joyous Thanksgiving.

Red said...

Your story is all too common. Great that it worked pout for you.
Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Sally Wessely said...

I'm so happy for you, Blissed-Out Grandma. You really were a wise woman to pick up the cues that the HR person gave you and act on them. Then, you were wise to listen to yourself and know when the time was right for you to leave a profession that had served you well.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Red Shoes said...

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I agree about toxic workplaces... everything worked for you.



DJan said...

This is a really hopeful story about how things that look entirely impossible to improve can do just that. My sister in Canada gave notice just before she left for this Thanksgiving gathering. She is looking forward to getting her life back, like you did. Hugs and blessings to my favorite blissed-out grandma! :-0

The Broad said...

This is such a positive and well written story. Though it is not always true, it is often the case that things can work out when we face things squarely, instead of just soldiering on and remaining unhappy. Having an understanding Peter and a wise HR person was a real blessing.

Grandmother Mary said...

You were brave, you spoke your heart, you made a change that set other good changes in motion. Brava! You sculpted a life that you love and you share that with us. You're fortunate and so are we! Happy Thanksgiving to you, Peter and the Munchkins!
p.s. Check out the Kairos Dragon.

Teresa Evangeline said...

Very inspiring and perfect on this day. Happy Thanksgiving, Nancy!

Far Side of Fifty said...

I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving! Sometimes the forks in the road work out for the best..or at least it seems that way. It certainly seemed to work that way for you! Yucky bosses are no fun:(

Pearl said...

Lovely. Sometimes holding on for just a little longer makes all the difference!


Jeanie said...

Sometimes you just read blogs on the right day. Our work environment has been getting progressively worse with just wretched people in the lead roles and the supervisors frantic and insecure that they can't live up to the job so the pressure comes down on us. I have done what you did -- sit and cry in the car (and every day for many days). Right now, it's insane and crazy and I'm not happy. but I also know retirement is 8 months away and if I really have to leave, I can and I will find a way. I have started to feel out freelance work and try to get a few things in place. Just doing that was empowering. I am so glad it worked for you -- so very happy you can do and be all you need to be. Bravo.

Deb Shucka said...

It was cool to read this bit of your history. I love a story with a happy ending, and I'm particularly glad you're living one.

troutbirder said...

Courage combined with wisdom and a tad of luck was a good combination. My father the St. Paul banker came to hate his workplace. I came to learn as a young man being happy in ones work was better than makeing lots of money. I looked forward to retirement but never regretted my career choice...;)

Jenny said...

Hooray! Sometimes ugly stories do have happy endings! Good for you!

Jeanie said...

I just read this post. Actually, re-read it, for I read and commented on it before. It still resonates so strongly. I am so glad you found the right happy ending. Mine will come. I'm planting seeds. They just have to germinate, and while they do, I'll suck it up every day!

Name: Hermelness Speaks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

This post resonated. I remember a Monday morning just before I was due to chair our annual board meeting. Not particularly unhappy, I was chatting with my boss when a voice in my head kept saying "You don't have to do this any more." Very strange, since I did need to do 'it' as I needed the salary I was being paid to maintain my half of our comfortable lifestyle.

In a move I still don't understand, within 15 minutes I was back in my office and had typed out my resignation letter. I left that day.

By the Tuesday of the following week I was a Classroom Assistant assisting with special needs and mentoring NEET young people (in danger of not being in education, employment or training) and, yes, being paid a pittance.

I have not looked back and life was downsized to accommodate this new happiness. That period in my life has since been dubbed my 'Mid-Life Epiphany'.

I enjoyed reading the eloquence of your journey, this morning.


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