17 June 2008

Leap, and the net will appear

I haven't posted a blog in months, because I unexpectedly became preoccupied with my occupation. It happened like this: suddenly in April, I learned that I was no longer classified as a writer/editor at my full-time, 14-years job. Instead, I was placed in a middle-management kind of slot, unceremoniously, with one boss instead of the variety of co-workers who've traditionally asked me for written pieces or editorial help. (And when I say variety, I mean it. I used to thrive on that constant swirl of interactions and work styles. I crave writing in different voices, for different audiences.)

This change-of-circumstances walloped me hard. I was stunned, actually, by the intensity of my emotions. I kept wondering: Who am I, really, to think that I should have any say in my professional fate? People get reassigned--and worse, downsized--all the time. I should be glad they want me at all; who cares what the position is. Right?

But it did not work that way. Try as I might, I could not convince myself that I was all right with this abrupt shift. I agonized, I seethed, and I felt bereft. And it took me weeks to really grasp why. I had held on in this office setting for 14 long years, through 10 bosses, unbelievable dramas, grueling deadlines, and demanding fundraising goals. At every turn, during each upper-level shake-up--and there were plenty--I was the one who would advise my co-workers, "Hold the boat." I'd say that with calmness and reassurance, and I meant it--because back then, I was a writer. Not the kind of writer that my kid-self had vowed to become...but at least I was a writer. Having made a career out of that skill was important to me and my self-esteem, down to my core. My surety had been grounded in it.

As this spring went along, it was clear that the change in my job was non-negotiable, and I despaired. I confided in some folks I know in our hometown, who don't work for my employer, and they described other professional opportunities that I, quite simply, had not allowed myself to consider. Liberating opportunities. Daring, also. And with no warning, I knew in an instant: I was ready.

I leapt.

Today was my last full-time day at the new-old job. I drifted through a day of mundane meetings, notes, hallway conversations, and strategizing. I didn't cry until I started writing this. But even though I'm sad to have moved on from a workplace as familiar as my own house, I'm proud that I made a momentous choice. Moreover, my family is supportive in every possible way, especially my older kids, whose own artistic selves are watching me closely. I won't describe my next-steps in detail, because it's all so new and evolving. Suffice it to say, creativity is at the heart of every choice I've made. My creativity. That was the net that was waiting for me, which I did not know when I decided to leap.


franberry said...

Congratulations on turning an unfortunate situation around, and on having the courage to make your leap. I wish you the best in whatever work you choose to pursue next. Me, I'm back to engineering after 6 1/2 years off to be home with the kids. For a while it looked as though no one would hire me with my huge resume gap, so I went back to school and got a paralegal certificate. Then I asked an old friend for a paralegal reference ... and ended up with an engineering contract. You never know where life may lead. Enjoy the trip!

Shadow Dancer said...

Hi, Nessa: Yes, still around and vertical -- periodically. I hope the business is working out, kids are well, et. al.

Now 83, walking has become a challenge. Don't mind the pain as much as the fear of falling. But, I beat the actuarial tables!

Spend time Netflixing. Also waddle down to a neighborhood saloon most afternoons for some 90 proof anesthesia.

Not so sure that longeivity is a blessing.

Drop me a note when you can.