Conquering a Plateau

Last year, when I started to write My Second Act, Scene One, I told you that I would be chronicaling  my journey back from the loss of a long time job.  Having spent over 30 years in the job training industry, I knew that recovery from career-length  jobs could be difficult, especially if the dislocation was a traumatic one.

It’s now just slightly over two years since I left my employment.  A door closed and as the memes like to say, a window opens.  Well, not necessarily the window I expected to open, but a window none the less.

A few weeks after leaving my job, I got busy finding someone to professionally write my resume.  I joined a  job search support group in suburban Pittsburgh.  One of their speakers, Absolutely Abby, pushed me to fine tune my Linkedin profile.  I had considered myself a Linkedin whore, building a contact list of nearly 900.  I scanned the professional job boards and had a number of phone interviews.  I failed miserably.  Using  key words when responding to a job post, answering questions about what kind of work culture are you looking for, listing your greatest accomplishments, telling how you solved a problem using your defined management profile required scripting responses prior to the calls.  There were opportunities and I am sure that had I remained diligent, I would have found something but, I wasn’t ready.  I had not yet healed from all the trauma I had experienced.

Enough about then, let’s talk about now.  A lot of good as happened along my healing journey.  Of course, I looked within.

  • What did I do in the past that I should change?
    • lived for Work,  Now it should be work to Live
    • co-workers are like neighbors, not friends. (especially if your their boss)
    • avoid the drama, at all costs
    • take your vacation, less stress
    • never gave up
  • What did I do right?
    • worked hard
    • learned how to do my job well
    • looked for new ways to improve
  • What do I want?
    •   be happier
    • be creative
    • experience new things
    • let go of what I cannot change
  • How do I go about getting what I want?
    • be my own boss

Now, I believe that a job is a job.  I am not that title.  I am me and me is a summation of experiences some of which come from work.  Even though it has been 2 years since I worked here is quick update,

  1. I have held a part-time job in retail and was honored as Cashier of the Month.  Every job is worth doing well.
  2.  I met a nice man there (apparently an orange apron is sexy) who I started seeing.  He may be a keeper.
  3. I care for my 92-year-old mother who keeps me on the straight and narrow.
  4. I have volunteered my expertise in the non-profit world acting as a Project Manager for a small town revitalization project.
  5.  Currently, I am helping to building a progressive grass-roots community organization.
  6.  I have improved my golf handicap by 10 strokes in the last year.
  7.  I’ve made new friends.
  8. I have spent real-time with old friends.
  9. I am happier
  10. I was right and they were wrong.

Where I am now, I believe you have to evaluate yourself every once in a while.  Don’t stay in a job you don’t like, cause it won’t get better.  You are more important than it.  Move on.  Let the losers stay.  That is winning.

Express yourself.  Never, ever, let anyone take your voice.  Speak up if you don’t agree.  If they don’t respect it.  Move on.  That is winning.

Protect yourself.  If you can, get a contract written or at least reviewed by your own attorney.  Know your rights.  Learn to fight smart.  That part I did.  It helped a lot.  Have an exit plan.

Be creative.  It fills the soul when you are happy and when you are sad, make art, even bad art.

I may not have conquered the mountain, but at least I am on a plateau.

Conquer

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