Lunchtime Enlightenment, Part I

Back when I was at a job I didn't really like, I had a blog called "Lunchtime Enlightenment". It didn't win any awards but was a helpful tool for me to process my energy and emotions. Basically, I would leave for my mandatory lunch break and then blog about what I did when I got back to the office. Sometimes I wrote about the meal I had, what I saw, what I did. My words were short and sweet . . . and sassy.

Honestly, I had completely forgotten about the blog until my Facebook memories reminded me and even provided a link! (Gotta love that tool.) I immersed myself in the words from five years ago, remembering how I felt while I was writing the entries.

It was awful.

I was miserable, sad, frustrated, powerless, and maybe more than a little disrespectful to my employer. As I read, I got that familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach. The icky feeling that followed me around while all my years at the job.

To be fair, the first few years I started in that position, I loved it. My boss, management, coworkers were all beyond wonderful. We laughed a lot, got things DONE, shared many a potluck and were basically an unstoppable team. But then, positions changed, corporate structure changed, people left, and I stayed. For five more years. Those five years were some of the darkest and most depressing of my career. Sure, I was being paid well, but at what cost?

One day, after several rounds of layoffs, I was laid off with another guy from my department. I thought he was going to come across the table at our director. Me? I felt anger that I was, once again, helpless to do anything about my situation, mixed with relief and a dab of bittersweet. They took my decision away but they forced me to take the leap that I probably never would've taken. But now I didn't have a choice.

After eight years at this job, they still had to watch me pack up my things and wouldn't allow me to go back on my computer to make sure nothing personal remained. People walked by and stared in shock. My face was hot with shame and frustration. The walk out to my car was . . . surreal. I still remember calling my husband, terrified of where our finances would take us now. His response: Relief. Support. Love. I cried at his response, not at my circumstances.

Yet, God always has a plan. I got a week of severance for each year I had been there: 8 weeks. I had to apply for unemployment. I'd never done that before! My friend who owned a cleaning company found work for me while I got my head together. I was modestly cleaning toilets and floors, but I didn't mind. I liked the silence. I thought a lot. What was I supposed to do? Where do I go from here? Why did this happen?

Stay tuned for more next week . . .

Mary RuhlandComment