Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Dirt - Or What The F Happened Here

As promised, but a little delayed. Normal for me, isn't it?

I've spent much of the last few weeks playing defense. Almost everyone I know has said at least once, "Why on earth would you quit your job? You had it made!" Sure, working from home has been a great blessing for three years. I have loved it and hated it, but always held on because I believed the same as those others; why walk away when it fits so well?

First, I'll tell you how awkward it is to leave a job that you do from a home-office. When I left my last office job for maternity leave, I packed up my personal items, tidied up my desk and walked out the door. No turning back, no second thoughts. When your office is in your home, you can't walk out of the office. 

Well, I could, but eventually the Trucker would need me to come back and cook dinner.
Working has been tied to so many other areas of my life. So many daily habits revolve around working. Get up in the morning and check emails while having coffee. Put the kids to bed and sit down to work quietly. Different things at different parts of the day all led to work. Checking phones, checking emails, doing a wide assortment of tasks. I worked an average of 15-20 hours a week but I was connected 24/7. Now that it's done, I put the kids to bed and still think about work. I feel lost when I go to check emails and don't have any to check. I'm still looking for the other phone when I leave the house. I've carried two cell phones for three years.  The office is still here. It just has a different computer. And it's very, very strange. After a full week, I'm slowly starting to get settled back into real life. 

So, why would you leave a job that seems so beneficial? 

It really boils down to BS. Twenty hours a week should not be stressful; and if it is stressful, the stress should only happen 20 hours a week. I've had ups and downs through the course of this job, but I've always been able to speak freely with my boss and find solutions that fit both of us. Until now. He stepped back and I wasn't sure how to deal with things. At first I just kept my mouth shut. A new supervisor was hired and there was a definite issue. Beyond my own issues, I am worried about everyone I left behind. I know that I am not the only one with a problem and I am sad that I am the only one who stood my ground.

I went from nearly no communication, even though I was available, to too much communication and manipulation. I was getting tossed under the bus (so to speak) and treated like I was wasting time because the priorities I had worked under for nearly three years, didn't match the 'new' ideals. And when I accommodated new requests, I became a target for the things that weren't done. Often, things I would have chosen to do first if left to prior arrangements.

Dirty play was the end of me. I guess that I was perceived as a threat. Sure, I'd worked there three years. I had a relationship with our boss. I had some influence (maybe, though now I sincerely doubt it). BUT this woman was hired as my supervisor. If I was a threat to her job, wouldn't I have HAD her job already? Well, I didn't. I went out of my way to try to help. I went out of my way to try to resolve my issues. I spoke up and then it became clear that nothing was going to change.

I don't depend on my instincts too much when I first meet someone. I try to avoid my first impressions and give people the benefit of the doubt, whenever I can. I will not do this again. I had a bad vibe from the first hello. And I should have been more careful. I opened myself up for attack. 

Ever work with one of those people who spit poison at some but are all sunshine and roses to others? Unfortunately, the only one who is getting the sunshine and roses is the bossman and he can't see what is really happening. Two sides to every story, and all that. 

I finally gave up. I finally gave notice. I laid out all the issues I could, accepted and acknowledged my own list of faults and gave my resignation. And then I cried for hours. And I stressed for weeks. This was the single worst event of my working life. I liked what I was doing. I liked what I was learning. But I am expendable, as everyone is these days. There will be someone else who will do what I did and follow the new supervisors terms. They will never need the support of the big boss, because they will report directly to this new person. 

I made a Facebook mistake. I gave indirect access to my personal Facebook profile to this woman. And she made it very clear that she'd been watching me. She'd been reading my updates. She conveniently forgot every conversation we'd had and denied there were ever any issues.  Now, I have nothing to hide. I try not to post things that I don't want to be public knowledge and if I have ever posted about work, I try not to SAY it's about work. I don't post names or too many details about anyone else. I have my privacy settings as locked down as they can be. I can't say that anything she'd read would have a negative impact on me directly, but I could never work well with someone who made it so clear that she violated my privacy for her own gain. It was a stupid slip that I made, but without having done it, I would never have seen the true depths of deceit that she would go to.

I could have stayed and waited, because eventually she WILL self destruct, but it just wasn't worth it anymore. So much has changed with this company since I started. Most of it is good, the company has grown immensely. But I have spent three years learning a new way of doing things, to have it change again before I've really nailed it down. I'm not sure how to play nice in a world that is never the same from day to day. There have been ups and downs, and I just got tired of riding the roller coaster. Because my office was in my home, my family suffered the stress-related bad moods. I could not shut down the computer and go home, because the computer was at home. I couldn't walk away from the office. 

The more angry I got, the less I wanted to work. And the less I worked early in the week, the more I worked weekends and late at night to catch up. Then, I'm over tired and over stressed for many reasons and the Trucker finally had enough too.

Interesting side effect - the Trucker said he was proud of me. He really didn't believe that I would actually quit. He knew I wanted to, he encouraged me to do it. But I'm usually very careful in times like these. He expected that I would have some grand conversation with my boss and work out some sort of solution, like I normally would have. But I didn't.

And as much as I might miss what I was doing, I have opportunities opening up daily right now. I have never felt so free. 

So, why do you leave a work at home job? When it's not good for the home.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Nerf Gun Storage Battle Success!

My love/hate relationship with Nerf is equal to that of Lego. Lego is awesome. Builds patience and creativity as well as fine motor skills.... until you step on them. Then the patience is gone, the only creativity is 'how will I destroy this thing that brought me to my knees' and the only motor skills used are to pick yourself back up and throw the stinkin piece in the garbage.


Nerf is fun. I've engaged in many battles with the kids. And, sadly, with my own adult friends too. The Trucker has taken them to work and attacked coworkers (they thought THEY had the big guns, six darts. HA!). And I will admit that I was slightly disappointed when I heard there was a Nerf battle at the office of my old job and I wasn't invited. Maybe they knew I had massive artillery at my beck and call.

So, there you go. I love them. I do not regret purchasing any, and have happily driven the boys to the store when they had money of their own to buy more. 

But MAN. They are so big. There are so many. 

I've looked all over for ideas on how to store them. Nerf storage is not easy. Especially when you own so many big ones. I've had many suggestions given to me, from using wrapping paper bins, hooks or hangers in a closet, or even pegboard. There are tons of ideas online too, but none that fit my house. My kids don't really have closet space and I'd need space to put the wrapping paper bins too. Peg board is out, I didn't really have a wall I could put it on, plus we rent. Don't think the landlord would be too happy.

I'd had them in a bucket style toy bin before, tucked behind a door. Frankly that was not a solution. They were constantly falling out, since the bucket barely made it half way up the guns. Plus, having the darts in there meant they always fell to the bottom and the boys had to pull almost everything out just to get loaded. And they rarely picked up the mess. I can't even say it was functional while it lasted. It really wasn't. It was awful.
Thanks to a broken bed, I ended up with the ideal solution to my personal dilemma.  Angel Baby destroyed the bunk beds, much like she totaled her crib. Oy. I'm in need of a new bed for Macboy eventually, since I've moved the kids bedrooms all around. For now, I've been able to just remove one bed and use the unit as a single twin. This left the rails above open and kind of useless. (Read: annoying and ugly). 

Until Now
I used wire hangers to create S-hooks (of sorts) to hang the big guns up. They are above the side and the foot of the bed, but the head is clear.
There are two that are bigger, the Vulcan, that I can not hang. They are just too heavy and large to fit above Macboy.  But now they are the only big ones left and I have space for them above his bookshelf. 

For much of the summer I've been listening to the griping about never being able to find any darts. Which was interesting because I've been putting them in the same spot every time I come across them, and that is where I found most of them during my heavy week of cleaning. Of course, I should not be surprised. My kids almost never look in the places things belong. They just assume if they left something on the floor and now it's gone, either Angel Baby ate it or it's just lost.

I have a fabric bin that fits easily under this bed, now full of darts and clips and belts. The few smaller guns fit in there as well. Everything has a home and it's actually pretty easy to put back.  They don't have to make a mess to get the darts from the bottom. It's all accessible and easy. 

Which is good, because they're boys

This was only one part of my massive project in this first week of not working. But it was a personal highlight. It's been driving me crazy for a very long time. I'm reclaiming my home and returning the office to personal space instead of work space. I've recovered from switching the kids bedrooms around. Things are looking good. 

I am also going to promise you-all you wonderful people who still follow my adventures here even though I haven't been posting often at all-that I now have the time to return to a more regular posting schedule. AND I have so many things I want to share. (Like how weird it feels to leave a work at home job.) Grade 7 is starting for Macboy, Art is heading into grade 3 and Angel Baby is going to benefit from some Mommy Play School and be ready for kindergarten for sure.

I have some little side jobs to keep some extra money coming in and am hopeful that my new stay at home life will last at least another year. We'll see. Wish me luck. Make sure you've clicked those pretty links up above to follow me on Twitter and join us on Facebook!

Tell me... 
What is the one thing in your life that you just can't seem to organize?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My Mind Is Fascinating Me

Over the last few days, I've been working my way out of my job. I'm finishing up tasks, letting go of stress-triggers. I'm releasing so many things from my mind that I didn't need there. It is interesting, I knew that some of this had an impact on my life, but I truly didn't understand the full scope of it.

Small things turn big in my mind. That's one of those paranoia issues I have, to catastrophize everything before I can think it through logically. I have to see something, process and understand it thoroughly and then act.  These are all steps that I deal with in different ways depending on the situation at hand. So, each time I release something small, a rather large piece of me becomes free.

I've forced myself to take an entirely objective view of my job. I think I've reached a common ground with my employer as well, a mutual understanding of what has transpired and each other.  I have thought through my situation through the eyes of the person that caused my breakdown in my job. I won't say that I respect how things were handled, but I can respect this person's hidden motivations. It could have been a much better situation for everyone if it had been handled appropriately. Trust has been violated, apparently for both of us, and is not repairable.

I have considered my decision greatly. It may have seemed impulsive, to some degree it was, but there was a lot weighing on me that contributed to it. I don't feel that it was a mistake, timing just wasn't in my favor. Sometimes, we can't control that.

As I release these little things, and gain back large pieces of sanity that I'd been missing, my mind slows down. It's not spinning 10,000 miles per hour anymore. I am not worrying about what should or should not be done, or where I'm going to find the time to do whatever is next. I've worked the majority of this job with a sense of impending doom. There were always too many things to do and not enough time. Now there is time. Now there is clarity.

My mind is free. Free to explore my options. Free to enjoy the parts of my work that I've loved. Free to enjoy life and consider the future. And I've been getting some amazing ideas. I have more options than I realized. I have so many directions I can go. And because I have faced this terrible fear of "What the h*** am I gonna do without this paycheck?" I am better able to take risks. Make suggestions. Try out ideas.

The worst that can happen? Someone says "No." And really, I'm no further back than I started. I don't have it now, so I'm not losing anything. Right?

I feel at peace. With myself, my choices and my future. I've needed this peace for a long time.

My family is grateful.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nothing Like Mountains To Keep You Grounded

Last week was one of the hardest weeks I've had in ages. I made a decision that scared the crap out of me. I've decided it's time to find a new career path. I've never left a job without having something lined up, with the exception of maternity leave. After my leave ended with Angel Baby, the company I'd worked for had gone bankrupt and I had no job to return to.

This job has been amazing. I've learned so much and loved the challenges. It has given me room to grow, to discover a new industry and the flexibility to do what is most important to me- being a mom first. It was great until it got stressful. Unfortunately, it got complicated too. It got frustrating and stressful, then it got personal. And that was really the end of the line. Once it became personal it was no longer beneficial. I'm hurt and I'm hurting my family.

So, I gave my notice. Then I cried. A lot. Then I got mad. Felt hurt, violated, angry. Then scared. And then.... I left for a holiday.

 A long overdue holiday.

Facing this kind of view every morning when I woke up? Amazing.

So incredibly beautiful and peaceful. I had no choice but to relax. There was no way that life was going to follow me here.

Much too much to see and do besides think about anything at home.

There is no Yellow Brick Road to travel down and no wizard to grant my wishes for an easy life.

I have to make the choices that will get me where I want to be.

Never bite the hand the hand that feeds you. However, if they don't feed you.... bite hard.


Life is just one big balancing act sometimes. You have to make it work for you. And the strange thing is that it's actually not as hard as we think it is.

Sometimes we just have to try it.

Burn out can leave you hollow and empty. Make the right choices before you end up this way.

Take time to take care of yourself.

Like I did. I didn't have any magical epiphany about what is going to happen next. I have no idea. Just like the mountainside, my life is full of unexplored territory. It's scary and exciting.

Apparently, if I'd stayed home, I would have endured rain and storms every day. We had nothing but blue skies. I guess sometimes it is good to run away. It turns out that even though I thought this trip would give me plenty of time to think things over, it was the act of NOT thinking that brought the greatest clarity.

I'm still sad to leave this job. I will miss the great people I have worked with. But being so isolated hasn't really been a good thing either.

Most importantly, I am now convinced that the Universe really is sending me a message. The time is right for change. My family proved that this weekend. Spending five days away from everything (work, TV, phones, video games, everything) gave us each a new perspective on what family time should be. There was more laughter and hugs and talk this weekend than there has been in ages.

It was fabulous. And I am ready for whatever tomorrow might bring. My life is my own. 

And I love it.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Season Of Change

I'm struggling right now and I mentioned on Facebook that I wouldn't be posting. But, those of you who have been around here long enough know that sometimes writing is the most freeing thing I can do. And though I need to weigh my words carefully for the time being, I feel that there are some emotions I can release in order to lighten the burden on my mind.

I woke up Monday morning feeling like the queen of the world. I was free. I finished my upgrading course with a fabulous mark. I had a job that worked well for me. I had a fabulous anniversary surprise from my Trucker that left me feeling loved and valuable.  Little did I know, this was all about to come crashing down at my feet.

Perhaps it was because I was so high on life that I fell so hard. By Tuesday afternoon, I had turned in my resignation to the job I have invested three years in. In the middle of courses and training to succeed in an entirely new area, I gave up. I love what I'm learning and I love what I am doing but the universe seemed to turn against me.

My life is about to change drastically. I will need to rediscover my frugal living ways or venture out into the 9-5 working world and plunge my children into daycare. I'm not ready for either option.

I admit I have dreams of great things. I want to find my true passions and develop them into something beautiful. I toyed with the ideas of returning to school full time in the future. Right now, it's a possibility because I won't have to leave a job behind, but it eliminates my ability to save up for the tuitions. With the combined income we have here, I'm not eligible for full funding. Hopefully the tide will turn for me.

The Trucker and I have always lived by the motto "When it's meant to be it comes easy." This transition happened so fast, my head is spinning. But, it's a pretty simple process and not as devastating as it could be. I think the timing must be right, or this would not have progressed the way it did. Each day this week it has become more apparent that there is no turning back. I'm like Santiago in The Alchemist. He sold his sheep only to be robbed and left with no idea where to go. I have to make the choice now, which way do I go? I've got nothing left to lose, so I might as well go forward. A trial of the universe in the path of my own Personal Legend.

In that same book, Paul Coehlo reveals four obstacles that every person must face to reach their potential. He also explains that the biggest lie is that at some point in our lives we lose the power to change our destiny. We never lose power. We just stop making the choices we should because of fear, comfort or maybe even love.

Things will work out alright. I know they will. Sure I have fears, but it's a little too late to change that and it doesn't have to stop me. I've just changed the ability to continue this level of comfort. And, I have the full support of the person I love.

I have plenty to think about this weekend. What does the future hold for me? What do I really want? Do I want to beg for my job or jump head first into a new direction. I have had a tremendous opportunity to live a life I loved for three years. I have been able to learn amazing things. I have been a respected member of a great team. I have been able to be at school with my kids. I have had the best of both worlds. Sadly nothing lasts forever.

I hate to say goodbye to all of this, but I have to consider that I am greeting amazing opportunities. This door might have closed, but I think I'm standing on the outside. I am not trapped in a box, I am on the front steps ready to venture out again. I need to shift my perspective a bit.  I think a higher level of happiness is there, waiting for me to just look up and see it.