Cafe Hitch-hike


We can't go back

Fast Times at Remote Working High, hah. We will be entering Month 9 in December. Although the people in my suite of offices were allowed to return at half time in mid-August, someone tested positive for COVID and we were told not to go back. I had no idea and went to the office a few times until after we were told. I never got sick, and this colleague did not although she and everyone in her household tested positive. They were all high-risk, too, but thankfully they were ok.

My engagement with my job has been at its lowest since October. I shouldn't complain, I'm lucky and all of that. I've been opening myself to other opportunities since then. I think I've crossed a threshold, and the only direction is ahead. I kind of suspect that my time with this building has reached its expiration date unless something amazing happens.

I don't feel bad about this. I know all about bumpy transitions. I've been in plenty of places where I was already an outsider and got to do a combination of be nice, kick ass, and be diplomatic to get a foothold. I was terrified about jumping from one not so desirable situation and into another which is identical but in a different way. I've been in my profession for almost 20 years and I feel like I can read shit with my eyes closed because things are so predictable. Honestly, I felt a bit weary thinking about all of this, but maybe it's not such a bad thing anymore.

I really don't have much motivation to get another degree or become an administrator. I've been getting online training in a bunch of stuff, but I got Zoom fatigue in October and promised myself a hiatus from bloody continuing education webinars and online training. I don't want to be an administrator in my building because it's going to be vertical climb for so many things: employee development, getting 75% of the support we need from the institution, and cleaning up not so favorable reputation the building has. Oh, yeah, getting sniped at like I did 3 years ago from people like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb and having little to no backup from those above me will be par for the course.

I guess I should believe things could get better, and I can. I simply believe the grass is probably greener on the other side of my current building. Even before the pandemic, a lot of my peers who had been in jobs for 15 or 20 years wanted to change course. I know that my profession has been losing people for the past 4 years, and if certain things keep up, it will need fewer people in the years to come.

Well, I wouldn't mind working abroad for a while and checking things out elsewhere. Maybe work in something related to travel and recreation, but those industries are kind of out for the count. I actually miss teaching, training, and presenting.

I think what I miss is having people to bounce things off, too. My supervisor then advised me to assign minimal work to others, so I'm largely working solo (kind of like I usually did in my last position anyhow, so hah).

My local acquaintance was laid off from her job (we're in the same line of business). She was in the field for about 10 years. She's well off enough that she doesn't have to worry about going back to work right away, and is exploring other interests. It made me laugh because when we'd go on our hikes, she bitched nonstop about her permissive boss and some colleague who was always absent. After she was let go, she didn't return to the office to pack her stuff or say goodbye to anyone. She said she divorced herself from that place. I must admit she looked quite refreshed, if not younger! Now that she's no longer in the field (and I already worked in a different area), I don't have that anymore.

At a point a couple of weeks ago, I had these thoughts:
*What would happen if I stopped trying so hard? Stopped struggling, stopped knocking on doors, stopped initiating? I sure have done a lot of that these past 5 years.
*What would happen if I just let things be? What if I dropped the fucking Wonder Woman getup? What if I allowed myself to be just a regular woman? Don't plan, don't make things happen, don't push for it. Just work on a job, do what the boss asks, don't troubleshoot or devise any enhancements.
*What if I just allowed myself to be? Enough self-improvement, continuing education, soul mining, deep introspection. Just let myself dwell in the state I currently am in, and simply be present.

One thing I know for sure... to a large extent, we can't to back to who we used to be. We can't reverse learning, experience, or perceptions if they reach a certain point. I can't go back to what I was 10 years ago or before that because it doesn't feel natural at all. I can only be what I am here and now.

Now I think the big question is finding a match between a profession that allows me to have a decent paycheck and isn't indentured servitude, and somehow lets me breathe and use my talents (rather than something that pushes me to towards things I'm not sure is really me).

downwind | upstream