It’s been a hard few months for me. Particularly, the last few weeks. I very rarely admit it but I have a streak of a workaholic in me. Years ago, one of my friends told me I was the same as her except I did the extra work at home in the bathtub and in my bunny slippers. My assistant used to go “Grrr, I see you wrote this in the bath again.” That situation ended badly. I was in that job for nearly 9 years. I increased their business. I literally made myself physically ill and as I have mentioned the roots of my present condition lie there. I went to Asia on business when I could barely talk or breathe. Forget experiencing Asian cuisine in Asia; every place I went they poured soup and tea down my throat. Here’s what I did: I left Taiwan at 11 o’clock in the morning, landed in LA 11 a.m. the same morning and worked till 11 p.m. The men always stopped in Hawaii with their wives. I flew home to NY and collapsed in JC Penney. Several years later I was let go from that company. It was awful. I had invested too much of myself. I was left without myself. I was severely depressed. I got married. Yes, I know. And that made everything so much worse. I was unemployed or under employed for 10 years and then I got this job. Financially, I was back. The first four years as an employee were great. I left it at the office. I worked late once or twice. There was a downsizing and I was let go. I said “Thank you. Summer on the beach with shells in my hair.” My condition manifested itself for the first time that summer and we put it down to stress and lack of activity. Working, I walked miles a day, literally.
Cut to the present: My life has been out of control and out of balance. I went back as a part time consultant. It was never really part time. I joke the reason I was approved for my mortgage working part time was a major project went live the month they looked at my financials and I was doing over 40 hours a week. Well, once I went back full time I started at around 37.5 a week. I told my manager when I started back that I knew hw he was and it would be more. He swore to me I could be out the door by 4:30. Well, that lasted a few weeks when I was told they needed more time. Our agreement was that I could do it at home. For years, I have done nights and weekends. 2007 – 2008 averaging 50 hours a week. Note the word average. Once this condition began to impact me I worked more and more from the house. I work in an IT department so it’s relatively technologically advanced. I laugh as every other Friday from home I am in a meeting with New York, New Jersey, London and Ireland. This year even though I worked from the house I have been averaging closer to 45 hours a week with a lot of weeks 50 – 60. Yes, I do bill by the hour.
Recently, the two people I have always worked with except for a hellish 6 months were reorganized out of my area. First hint – no one knew what to do with me and I heard unofficially I was going back to Hell.
In the interim, the group head starting signing my time sheets August 1. I worked 48 hours one week to deliver a major project. She said it was over time. I said you owe me a lot of money then. Upshot, not allowed to do more than 40. Okay, I can live with that.
I work remotely on Friday and have done so for a few years or very, very short Fridays in the office. It is too dangerous for me to commute with the weekenders and I do have fatigue. I have a doctor’s note. I usually work longer on a Friday as I don’t have to commute. The doctor wrote me a letter not to work when it’s 85. This hurts as remember, summer on the beach with shells in my hair. She apparently is not honoring this. This means unless I come in and jeopardize myself I lose a week’s pay a month.
A friend texts me Thursday night that the company has posted a job opening for Learning and Development. I look it has been written to exclude me – must be able to sit or stand for long periods.
So, I find myself in the same position I was over 20 years ago. I did it again. I put my heart and soul into this. I cared. I did their work at the expense of my life. They would call it scope creep at my job. I can’t believe I bought into it.
I used to work in the garment industry and was laid off all the time. I just had a sixth sense as to when it was going to happen plus someone would tip me off, too. The only time that didn’t happen was when I was let go from my short interim position while I was doing little part time for the bank. For the last three years, I haven’t been feeling right there. I have very positive moments and very positive reviews. However, this morning I said to myself “Face the facts. You are going and sooner rather than later.” I already had started taking things home. However, when my credentials/capabilities were questioned. I brought in framed copies of my certificates.
I find myself feeling sad, nervous and betrayed. I have to hold onto the belief that someone will hire me on suitable terms even though I am technically old, limp and use a cane.
I am resilient. I always try and see the upside. So being home for four days has been a blessing. I am getting to catch up on my life. I spoke to three friends on the phone yesterday, a luxury. One was one of my exes (yes me and the eternal exes) and he had been with me for part of the first time.
I am approaching a milestone and am frighteningly aware of my mortality. But this is an opportunity for new horizons and new possibilities as I approach this.