Friday, August 9, 2013

Time for vacation!

Tonight is the beginning of a week long vacation, well deserved and much earned.

Last night I grocery shopped and picked up a "spare" tent for the girls, and tonight I packed clothes, tents, food, dishes, stoves, chairs and the rest of the assorted randomness that is car camping, and we're just about ready to go.  Tomorrow morning the alarm will go off at 5am and I'll put the last bits in the car, and then we're headed south.  We're going to the Newberry Volcanic Monument (check it out - super cool!) and Crater Lake, and I am going to fill up my soul with fresh air, trees, lakes, caves, wildlife, quiet, friends, campfires, hiking, swimming.  I am ready for nature like never before, and I'm ready for time with my girl, and good bonding time with good friends.

Oil change: check.  Groceries: check.  Swimsuits: check.  Cocoa: check.  Flashlights: check.

Sanity: Not quite sure.

My work drama is unfolding faster than before, and I think I've handled it admirably, but I am at my wits' end.  I work for a tiny company, and my boss is clearly entering a phase of unmanaged depression.  My work quality is excellent, and the raves that every customer I encounter gives her, combined with our incredible revenue numbers, prove that I am worth every penny she pays me.  However, she's dissatisfied and grumpy, and nothing can make her smile, and lots makes her frown.  What's more, she's saying one thing and doing another, and I finally called her on it and owned my anger and frustration over the situation.  I said point blank that I did not accept this treatment any more, and that I needed her to own her behavior.

She's my friend even more than she's my boss, so this was difficult, to say the least.  But having been married to a man with unmanaged depression, I know all too well what it looks like.  First, I try to be a helper.  Then, I try everything that I can to help them to be happy.  I try to anticipate needs, and fill them.  I bend into pretzel shapes, contorting myself into more and more painful positions to show my allegiance and caring.  The result of this is...that nothing improves.  And the more painful my contortions, the more contortions are demanded.

I won't do that any more.  I felt myself going down that road, and I'm absolutely done with it, and I told her as much.  Talk about uncomfortable.

She's a good person.  I care about her.  But more than that, I care about managing my own life.  My job has become something it wasn't intended to be, and because she's disorganized I spent a lot of time managing dropped balls, and I don't feel empowered to make the changes that I know would improve the situation.  I wonder at her ability to implement change, and I think that my big personality and high energy actually makes her feel worse about herself: she's an introvert and likes to move more slowly than I do, and so my energy levels somehow make her feel bad.  I know what I could do, and it's so much more than I'm doing, and she knows it too, but rather than giving me the tools I need to be successful, she's asking for one thing but requiring another, and so I spin.

She's owning this now, but I think perhaps it is beyond repair.

This job has given me an amazing transition.  It has been relatively low stress, very flexible, and allowed me to reenter the workforce and get my feet under me.  I've been there a year and a half, and I've done good things, and regained some confidence about what I'm capable of, what I know how to do, and how to pick up new skills.  I'm proud of the work I've done....but I think I've outgrown it.  I don't particularly care about this industry, and it doesn't represent who I am as a person. 
So, on this eve of my vacation, I'm oh so ready to head out of town, to catch my breath, to breathe clean air.  I know that vacations are good times for gentle thinking, too, and as I sit staring at the sparks of the campfire or hiking on a ridge or swimming in a lake, ideas will come to me and I'll fully form the beginnings of the plan I'm making to transition to the next career.  I need to change the world - I feel it deep within myself - and I'm ready to work in non-profit.  I have a set of skills well aligned to that world, and there are many causes that I passionately believe in, and I'm prepared to make the giant shift.

Change is difficult, but I've done so many things that are so much harder.  I get to call the shots on this transition, and I'm not desperate: I can choose a job that fits me well, and I have time to face rejection (as is inevitable in a job search) but hang in until the right thing comes along.  I'll try to be honorable to my current job, and to transition in such a way that they are well taken care of.

I'm ready to set the world on fire.  It's time for the next steps.

But first, I'm going camping with my girl.  See you in a week!

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