Sunday, November 16, 2008


My oldest brother came for a visit (he lives in Santa Fe, NM) and we have had the most delicious time visiting. I can talk to him at a level that I share with no one else.

One of the topics we have discussed has been work... what we are willing to give to it, what we expect back from it, how it impacts the rest of our lives.

EVERY job I have ever had (even the really stinky ones) have had elements that were satisfying, and EVERY job I have had (even my very favorite positions) have had parts to them that I did not like.

How we each strike a balance between how much satisfaction we need and how much distasteful parts we are willing to endure is different for everyone.

Here is what I have figured out about me in terms of work:

1) It is important to me to believe in what I do. I cannot do jobs that I think are exploitive, harmful or unethical.

2) It is important to me to feel mastery is possible. I really REALLY want to be good at what I do. I know there is always learning curve involved when I start something new, but I have to believe I will have the tools and support to eventually get proficient at whatever I am assigned to do.

3)My physical environment matters. I cannot stand working in cubicles. While I can certainly share space with others, having some degree of access to privacy matters a lot to me.

4) I need at least one ally I can trust. Recently I had an experience at work where I erred in how much I said to someone. I shared information I should have kept to myself, it got back to others in a way I did not expect it to and then reflected badly on both me and my agency. OUCH. I won't do that again. Still, I do know that I need to identify someone I CAN be open with and vent to when things are nutty. I just need to be more careful of who that is and even when I choose well, STILL need to have some caution in levels of disclosure. Once information is out of my mouth I have no control over where it goes. So I need to do a better job of recognizing how open/authentic I can be when I am in my work role.

5. I need to learn how to turn it off. I woke up at 4:30 this morning thinking about work, fretting over some of the challenges I have facing me. It's SUNDAY. I should be able to focus on a day of rest, worship, connection with my real life and my spirituality this Sabbath day - NOT worrying over what I have coming up in the next few days. There will be time enough for that as it unfolds. This is something I'm not sure how to get better at. I have this pilot light of concern about my job that seldom goes out, and at times I let it consume way too much of my energy.

I've been at my current job for 3 months now. In some ways it feels like a very good match. In some ways not. I do admit I have reservations about how long I'll be able to maintain this sort of role.

Lately I've been frustrated, discouraged and overwhelmed about some aspects of my job that I have no control over. I'm hoping I can shift that so I can focus more on the areas I do have some ability to influence and let go of railing against some of the things I simply cannot change. For now, I'm trying to regroup and commit to doing the very best job I can there. I want to stay open to the lessons it has to teach me, and to make the best contribution I can.


Jen said...

It always seems to take at least 3 months to get into the swing of a new job. I hope you are guided to either resolution of your feelings/frustrations with the new job, or else a better job!

Reading this post today it struck me that the jobs that I quit thinking "I cannot stand this another minute" are now the ones I look back on fondly in one way or the other.

Rozel said...

Been there done that (to #4). I am still learning to keep my mouth shut. Generally my husband is a good sounding board:
1. He pretends to listen and says "uh hu" and the appropriate times.
2. He really isn't listening so he doesn't remember what I told him which works well for not spreading the news.

I heard it takes about 6months to really get into the swing of things but I am hoping Jen's 3 months is more accurate.

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