My work life has been less than satisfying in the past two years. I have often wondered if I took a wrong turn or missed an opportunity to do something more satisfying. As a clinical social worker, taking a break from direct service is often necessary and offers an opportunity to rejuvenate oneself. There are so many difficult stories, tragedies, and frequent “bad” days. There are also triumphs, celebrations and satisfaction in meaningful work that cannot be measured in dollars. I have been out of direct practice for almost seven years. Perhaps I took too much time away?
On the bright side, I have worked with some incredible team(s) and developed more administrative skills. I also work alongside smart, ethical, and compassionate people. I have learned much and been challenged often. There is a certain point though where I stopped being challenged. There is very little risk in my current role. With support, I decided to consider my options. What did I need to feel fulfilled? I read books, worked with a mentor, met with my old mentor, and attended professional development trainings. I meditated, prayed, and exercised my way through a variety of feelings, most especially fear.
What I discovered was that I had allowed myself to move away from the types of projects and programs that connected directly to the people in our “business”. Based on a significant change in my department, I no longer had access to the ‘work’ that connected me to purpose. No matter what business, field, or job you should always do something that brings you joy. Right?
Well, at some point in the past two years, I had made a decision to go with the flow, to not make waves, and to not rock the boat. Ultimately, I refused to have several difficult conversations which led me to be angry and disappointed. I did not honor what was valuable to me. Today, I recognize that no matter the outcome, its critical to speak up. It’s a much easier and less painful way to discovering what you want.
This weekend I celebrated a new job. In fact, I received two job offers a day a part. Both positions felt purposeful and ‘right’. As I went through the interview process, I was hopeful and committed to finding what would work for me. Interestingly, as I have gone through this very long and transformative process, I noticed I become a better parent. The more content I was, the more present I was to my family and engaged in what’s most important in our lives.
I am truly grateful!