Inklings of a Blessing

A few days ago I wrote a post about being too busy.  A few hours after I published that post, I recognized something familiar.  Back in 2009, after the ER visit, I went to my immediate supervisor, told her how my health was suffering from job related stress, and I asked to have some things taken off my plate.  She agreed.  A year later, the plate was loaded back up.  Well, by then, I had lost the first 40 pounds and was determined to stick to my program.  So instead of being a “team player”, I got mad.  I established some new boundaries.  I became what I used to dislike – a contract hours teacher.  They paid me for 35 hours.  I used to work 60-70 hours a week.  No more.  I would  work 40.  That’s it.  I had to take my life back.

Any job will run you as far into the ground as you let it.  I was done with it.  I worked my ass off for 15 years, paid for my own additional training, did my own research, implemented new practices – did way more than was expected.  And still more was loaded on.  But I let that happen.  I mistakenly thought that when it was too much, I could give some things up.  I realized that no matter how hard I worked, I would never be caught up, would never save every kid, and would never be able to change the system to work the way I thought it should.   I needed to put the brakes on the fast track to an early grave.

I withdrew.  I stayed in my room and taught.  I didn’t get involved.  I didn’t stay late.  Instead of being the last car out of parking lot every evening, I was the first.  Gym time became an appointment with myself that I kept everyday.  Being at home more, while always a priority, moved up to the first spot.  Changing the world – not so important anymore.

Now, three years later, some things have changed at work and I decided to poke my head up and try to get involved.  Wanted to be a team player this year.  Turns out that is not a healthy decision at all.   The sense of frustration I’ve been feeling is really just a huge caution sign to be careful.  Probably not a healthy decision.  Good to trust the gut.  I need to fall back and focus on teaching again.  There is a lot of negativity around there – best plan for me is to avoid it.

So the blessing disguised as a trial is that I don’t need to worry about work.  No need to feel frustrated.   I will teach.  Period.  I have amazing students and their energy feeds mine.  When I’m not at work, I’m not going to work.  I have big  plans that don’t have anything to do with my job because I’ve already achieved every goal I’ve set for myself there.  I have new goals now.  The decision I made in 2009 still stands.

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5 responses to “Inklings of a Blessing

  1. I can totally relate to your post. I, too, was the 60-80 hour/week worker (law firm), and sure, it was because I had to bill hours (you must bill hours, the more you work, the more you get paid, the better your review, etc…), so I went from the law firm track to the corporate law track. Back to 40-50-….creeping…60 hours! And I was only getting paid for 40, so…yes, I had to sit down and give myself a pep talk: Are you going to be working this hard for this little of a payoff when it keeps landing on your lap because you’re a people=pleaser? NO!! 🙂 Unfortunately, when I started backing off, it didn’t work well, so I had to leave that place. But in my new job I started out as the “normal” 40 hour/week girl, and that turned out fine. Once people get an idea in their head, you can work more, but not less (that was my experience). I could have stayed at the other job (I wouldn’t have been fired), but the atmosphere kind of turned on me with rumblings from others…(because they were probably having to do some of the work I was doing). In the end, they hired two people to replace me. Oh, and the best part? Guess what my boss said during that whole “kick my own ass and work myself 60+ hours to get the promotion” phase? That I probably wouldn’t get the promotion because I “worked too hard and set the bar too high for others.” Go figure! Thanks for listening…I feel better now! 🙂 (But it still pisses me off.)

    • LOL! No problem. I’m sure there are a few of my colleagues who don’t really understand why I’m doing the job differently. Really don’t care what they think. A year ago, one of us died from a stroke. She was just a few years older than me. She and I had at least two conversations about getting healthy and setting boundaries. She asked a few questions, but always told me she was too busy to take care of herself. I can only hope the others will eventually connect the dots and start practicing a little more self-care and a little less martyrdom.

  2. Couldn’t agree more! Our health tells us so much about our current situation in life. It is the physical manifestation of our mental state. And is also why a holistic (whole-istic) approach really works. Great post! And kudos to you for setting boundaries, that behavior is also inspirational – we can be great without working ourselves to death!

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