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.


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