Wednesday, January 28, 2015

So begins the task...

After ten years, I am in the process of ending a dysfunctional relationship.  If this were a marriage, there would be support groups.  Who would stand by while their friend stayed with a person who expected them to do everything, but told them they were useless every day?  Who would watch as their friend tried to make things perfect so their partner would not get angry and sulk?  Who would stay quiet while their friend beat herself up taking responsibility that wasn't hers without authority or reward? 

Not my friends.  And this is why, for the past several years, my friends have encouraged me to find a new job.

These are the things I like about my job:

1.  I have (most of the time) autonomy.  I know what needs to be done and I do it.

2.  I have (most of the time) flexibility.  If I need to take my children or grandchildren to school or to the doctor, I can do it.  When I need to go to the doctor, I do it. 

3.  I work with clients who are (most of the time) grateful to have me help them keep track of their own businesses or do their taxes.  I have had many people say that they feel well treated by the people in our office.  I am especially pleased when I can dissolve a crisis with kindness, patience, and understanding.  I feel appreciated by my clients (most of the time.)

This is what I hate about working in my job:

1.  I have complete responsibility without authority.  I can't really make decisions, and when I do, they are often randomly circumvented by the owner, but I am held responsible when things fail.

2.  While I have flexibility, it is partly because I am paid by the hour.  If I don't work, I don't get paid.  Still, my boss expects to be able to call me when I am not working and help him.  I was once walking on a mountain, enjoying my second honeymoon with my husband, when my boss called to get me to walk him through the e-verify process.  When I said that what I would do is read the instructions and follow them, he got angry with me.

3.  My boss claims to rely on me to do everything, even when I am out for 6 weeks after hip replacement surgery, but he says that I am not worth my wages, which are $16 an hour.  He claims that I am important, but he questions my integrity.  Yeah, I know, he has trust issues.  We are all crazy as a bag of cats.  I need to take care of my own crazy.

I really did not mean to get specific.  I wanted this to be about me.  About how I have to cast off the notion that I owe anything to a person who doesn't respect me.  How I owe something to myself and to my family.  How I can't cling to a shitty place because I'm afraid of change.  I haven't decided whether to leave the whining up there.  I think I will, because when I see it in writing, it is harder for me to say, "Well, there really are good things..."  "He doesn't mean to be unkind, he's just scared..."

This is what I know:

1.  When I leave, the bridge will burn.  I won't burn it, he will.  He will feel angry and put upon.  People who I have worked with will think I am unfair and ungrateful.  I want them to understand, and say, yes, it's time to move on.  Great job, while we were here.  I don't want to be thought of with anger.  It's in my nature.  I want to be the responsible one.  The reliable one.  The rag rug.  No, wait... Yeah, I have to take care of my own crazy.

No matter when I go, it will be a bad time.  Things will not be neatly wrapped up.  Even if I go out in a pine box, I will be to blame.

2.  God wants me to go.  Messages are flying at me.  Subtle Facebook memes that mean as much as a generic horoscope, are talking to me directly.  In James Earl Jones' voice.  The message is: Don't Waste Your Gifts.  The gift of writing, the gift of empathy, the gift of problem solving.  The gift of parents who worked and saved all of their lives, serving us creamed chipped beef on toast, and leaving me with a safety net of enough.

Yesterday my blood pressure was 185/111.  I won't go into the details of the discussion before that, because I've got it down now and I'd like to keep it that way.  That is a message, no?

3.  I don't have a plan.  Not much of one.  I can take care of the personal friends and family who rely on me for taxes or bookkeeping, at least for now.  I need a room of my own.  I need to do something with my gifts.  I need to do something very scary.  I need to move on.

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