I’ll bet that wasn’t what you expected from my blog title, was it? Go on, admit it, you thought I made a typo! But no, it wasn’t a typo.
(And no, I’m not making light of trigger warnings or the very intense discussion that is going on regarding them. Regarding the topic, see articles in The Guardian and the New York Times, as well as Molly’s Daily Kiss‘ and Cara Sutra‘s excellent blog pieces for an idea of where I probably would have gone if I’d been inclined to write on the topic. While I don’t necessarily equate trigger warnings with censorship, I do question our society’s need to “protect” everyone from any kind of discomfort, ever. Discomfort is a part of life, it is a part of learning, and our society’s need to shield people from anything that might cause discomfort seems excessive to me. On the other hand, Obsidian Wings actually makes a balanced, reasoned argument for the opposite point of view, and I highly recommend reading it if you are seeking to understand both sides. At the end of it, though – as at the end of most of these discussions – my question is always, “How do you know what exactly constitutes my triggers? How are you going to protect me (ie every human being who might be triggered by anything ever) from my particular triggers?” The answer is: , “you don’t” and “you can’t.” The only way to ensure that is to put trigger warnings on everything ever written, recorded, filmed, photographed or discussed, and where’s the sense in that? And that, really, is all I have to say about the topic.)
What I really want to talk about is…well…Tigger. For real. Or rather, me as Tigger.
I’ve mentioned many times before that Tigger is my Winnie-the-Pooh totem animal. Bounce bounce bounce, right? Except, lately, my bounce has been a little, well, anemic. It’s been a rough few months, as I have chronicled here a few times, though for the most part I’ve kept my nose to the grindstone and my head down, trying to ride out the chaos and uncertainty around me.
But now, finally, I’m beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel…beginning to breathe a little easier and to regain my footing (or re-find my balance, if you will.)
Here’s a quick look at the chaos of my last few months:
- September 2013 – Major shake-up at my work, a non-profit organization. Top leadership steps down, rumblings of extreme cuts and downsizing are heard.
- October 2013 – I find out that my department, which consisted of three of us, will be hit hard, with at least one of us being “downsized,” probably by December.
- November 2013 – I pitch a deal to my direct supervisor: I’ll take a pay cut by working from part time, if I can work from home, to help us get through the crisis (and hopefully save my job.) Unbeknownst to me, she has been contemplating making a similar offer to the powers-that-be. We discuss and decide to pitch it as a package in an attempt to keep all three of our departments’ jobs intact.
- December 2013 – Our offer is accepted. I start working part-time from home.
- January 2014 – My grandmother’s health declines rapidly. I decide to go back to CA for the month with my mom to help care for her and to give my Uncles (her caregivers) a break. (Read about that adventure here.)
- February 2014 – I return home in time to board a plane two days later and head to Eluthera, the Bahamas, on vacation with the Guys. I return from that in time to drive to Pennsylvania to housesit in seclusion for a month.
- March 2014 – Housesitting in PA all alone for three weeks. While there, I find out that my organization is, indeed, going to be disbanded, another charter is going to take over ours, and I will almost certainly lose my job. I also find out that my other partner, Ad, is also changing jobs (not by his own choice.) Shortly thereafter W joins me for a week in PA and then we head to NYC for two days and then to the Outer Banks for another three days before winding our way back home. (See posts from that time here.)
- April 2014 – I get back home to find out that the third person in our department has taken another job, and my workload, which recently doubled, doubles yet again. I start working 10 hour days and weekends. During all this, I have another housesit for a week in IL, during which time my grandmother passes away. I start sending out resumes, have several interviews and even a job offer, which I don’t take. I also start to really look at “what if” I don’t have a job after our organization is disbanded at the end of June. I take a hard look at my finances, and what I want to be when I grow up. I discover something that I love doing, and think about what I need to do to be qualified to do it (school, certifications, etc.) and even what it would take to run my own business.
And here it is May 2014. I have several “discovery” interviews with the new organization while they try to assess whether or not they have a role for me. I am fairly certain they do not, as are they (they already have a “me” in their organization.) All along W supports me, coaches me, and, occasionally, gives me a stern talking-to when I want to throw in the towel on the possibility of having a job at the end of it. “Don’t assume anything,” he tells me over and over, when I assume that my job was gone. And, “You have value, you are an asset to them – make them see that.”
So I did.
I went into those interviews and told them what I could do, what I had been doing, and why they needed me. And this past Tuesday, a job was created in the new organization that was basically my job. I still have to apply for it (that’s their protocol), but it’s exactly what we had talked about, at the same pay rate and with similar responsibilities. There are some different things that I will have to learn, and some added responsibilities that I convinced them I can live up to, and I can’t work from home anymore (“yet.”) But it’s my job, what I’ve been doing for the past 6 years.
I’m not out of the woods yet. They haven’t offered me the position yet, and theoretically they could hire someone else for it. And, if they do and I accept it, I have to show them they made the right decision in creating this position for me, since it wasn’t in their original plan (or budget.) I have to prove myself all over again.
But…I’m starting to see the light again. And I’ve learned so much in these past months. I’ve done things I never would have thought I could. I traveled and housesat by myself for weeks. I have local house and pet sitting clients that have begun recommending me to others. I have started offering my web and social media services and have the potential to create a client base with that, if I choose to pursue it. I have started taking classes to learn web development & programming. Rather than feeling like the world closing in on me, as I did a few short weeks ago, I suddenly feel it opening up again.
Tigger’s getting back her “bounce.”