It was a faintly disheartening cross-team meeting today, but in the end I think we partially resurrected. Or at least I did. I hit 49 hours this week. I didn’t work past 5 tonight. I promised my family I’d be home on time so we could go see “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (which we greatly enjoyed). Right about 5pm my boss poked her head in my office and told me NOT to work this weekend and to be sure to leave at 5, which I did. It was a nice feeling to know that I left the week behind having busted my butt and having no regrets about my contribution.
Years ago, I worked for an attorney in the legal department of a big national company. It was not a good place for me to be, but we’ll suffice to say I was not the best employee and I was extremely frustrated with the situation there. I gave my 2 week notice and he sort of ambushed me in the meeting, saying things like “Do you know what the requirements of your job are? And what duties you have to do?” I had just given my notice that I was leaving and this is what he was saying to me.
I ended up walking out that day. I have only ever walked out on two jobs – that one and one where the owner was verbally abusive.
That lingering feeling has always been in the back of my mind… do I work hard enough? Am I diligent? Do I live up to my own notion of ethics concerning my work quality and amount? I am very quick – very organized and able to track a lot of things simultaneously, so I suppose I can qualify a lot of this concern against my own feelings of perfectionism and my feelings that sometimes things come too easy.
All of that old baggage has been laid to rest. Finally. That attorney, the one with the famous Economist’s name? He had no idea. Whatever he might have thought of me is inconsequential now. I don’t have anything more to prove to that old, painful memory. I was humiliated, but finally I can imagine a gravestone for that time and place and emotion: Here lies the remnant of Shannon’s Legal Ghost. He and his misconceptions can rest in peace.
My boss told our mini-meeting crew that I’m doing an outstanding job. That was a wonderful thing, but what meant even more? She told them she wished she could play back a recording of me in the interview, when I said that I was a good fit for the office. The fact that she’d like to remind me of that means that I really am accepted. I confessed today that I’m terrified of making a mistake – of blowing it – but even when it’s tough and I’m almost on the verge of insanity, I simply cannot begin to imagine where I fit more than that place. And so I told them that. I do fit there.
Finally, tonight I told Todd that the only place I fit better is home, which can’t be, for all the reasons I’ve mentioned before. I have to work. I have to support the family and have this future. I could NEVER go back to those support positions I did all those years. It would be hell after all I have learned and accomplished this last few short months.
There are days when it makes me wonder how I’ll survive the pressure and the fear that I’ll blow it. I still grieve for thoughts of who I wanted to be when I had hopes to be home during my kid’s early years. If I have to be away from them, I have to be in the right place. I seem to have found it – warts and all.
There is no such thing as perfection. There is no job, no career that will be this wonderful, grand place where I will cheerfully go in each day, happy to be there.
What I got instead is a great group of people, challenging and stimulating work, and a sense that maybe I can make a difference and help a few people get through school.
I’m good with that.