June 22, 2014
It has been one hell of a year so far, I can tell you that. Surgery in January has left me still sick and in pain. Getting through each day feels like a marathon. Additionally, there’s a new sherrif(s) in town down at the ole corporate corral. It is completely to be expected. I’ve worked for my company for 38 years and, lets face it, I’m of the old school there. I can still remember sitting in meetings being the youngest one in the room (not to mention the only woman!). I now occupy a pretty sweet management position as a result of my hard work, optimisim and enthusiasm for the job. Except now, there are many younger, more optimistic, more enthusiastic folks in line, and they deserve it. I see their faces, full of motivation and aspirations and I try to mirror that in mine. But truth is, I have lost my enthusiasm for the work. This happened for a couple of reasons…one, my health and the change in my perspective on life as a result, and two, the changes in the corporate culture (a.k.a. politics) that have left me trailing behind. Put those two together and it’s the kiss of death for a career. I have been in a limbo state with my career, wanting my cake and to eat it too. I’ve been angry and indignant “Hey, I feel pushed aside, I deserve respect!” and “I hope they don’t expand my responsibilities, I really don’t think I can push that hard”. This state of limbo has caused me considerable stress. It’s not me to coast. It’s not how I do it. But my energy and focus is shot, so I had to decide, which is it? Do I want to fight for my career or do I want to fight for my health? Because apparently it is one or the other. When put that way, it became kind of a no brainer. So, I’ve left the workforce. The timing was weird, though. It seems that to be eligible for disability, you have to be, well disabled, as in “I am no longer working”. In other words, you go out disabled, THEN petition for the disability insurance benefits. Because I was not already out due to a single event like accident, or surgery, it felt awkward. I had to take a leap of faith that once I left work that the benefits would be approved for me. Quite nerve racking. So I exited. Suddenly. It’s scary leaving what you’ve known for so long even as I feel my body continually weakening, and not to mention taking a financial hit. And it’s a confusing, complicated process. I remind myself that I cannot begin to build a “new normal” and hold on to the “old normal” too. Something just had to give.