It’s Just Work

That has been my mantra over the last month. I should have adapted it a long, long time ago. I was always one of those people who my work was apart of me. It was part of my definition, it was a sense of pride in my life. It also, drained me in many ways.

I used to have a career I was proud of, I used to love going to work. Without specifics, I truly made a difference in society and peoples lives. I wasn’t always perfect, but I always tried my hardest to ensure the right thing was always done. It made me proud everyday, and I was proud to talk about it.

It became part of me, much more than I honestly realized until I left that career path. I didn’t really leave it by choice, I moved across the country for an ex, and when I delved into that career here I learned it was vastly different, and honestly, didn’t seem as fulfilling. So between that, and pressure from my ex, to choose a different career, I did.

I still approached my new career with the same drive that I had formed for work. I still poured my heart into it, because at the end of the day it was important to me. I used to work 50 to 70 hours a week, on salary. It was also my escape, from problems in life and everything else. It was where I could go and focus and block out everything and see the result of my hard work in a positive light.

I swapped jobs, but kept the same career. At my new job, it was very much the same. I dove in, worked hard and really appreciated my job and the results, beyond the paycheck. I am not tooting my own horn, but I was damned good at it too. I was also working with like minded people, that made a big difference. We had a common goal, understanding and mostly a decent relationship. So, even with things i didn’t always like to have happened, I could respect the changes or the decisions because I respected the people around me who made them.

Then, it all started to change. unbeknownst to me, my boss was looking to move elsewhere. He and I didn’t always see eye to eye, but usually there was a healthy respect. Also, I, along with others, didn’t realize the parts of his job he did that protected us from his bosses, so we could accomplish our goal.

I was recovering from a knee surgery when he left. The owners hired a new boss, and she was not ready for prime time. I don’t know if she lied on her resume, or just out on a good show at the other job site. But it was quickly apparent that she was not good at what she was supposed to be doing. Furthermore, the owners were all in on her. Like beyond what any of us could have imagined.

When I came back from my injury leave, she had been there a good 6 months. My team was allowed to contact me while I was recovering, so I knew very little of what had happened. But, it was like walking into a war zone of personalities and the morale was shot.

When I left, people where happy and getting along. There wasn’t an office door closed, everyone went to lunch together. We had a great relationship. When I came back, it was the opposite. Doors closed, no one talking, everyone keeping tabs on each other and other managers looking to resign because the new boss was making their life hell.

I tried to fix things. I tried to root out problems. I documented what I saw, i made several observations and saw what had changed. I had a new perspective, everyone else saw the gradual degrade of the environment, I had a fresh view of the differences. It was stark, to say the least.

I met with owners, and H.R. to try and show them what was happening. I had always had a good relationship with them, and honestly saved them a lot of money and legal issues through my work. I figured they would hear me out, and they didn’t. They doubled down on the new boss, and essentially told me I was imagining all of it and I just needed to get along and shut up.

Now, I was coming off of 6 months of pain and recovery. There was financial issues and a whole slew of problems I was dealing with. It was a lot, so going back to work was a good thing for me mentally, or so I thought.

Things got worse, my assistant who was always loyal, was trying to undermine me and get my job. My team was decimated morally, managers left, and complaints were filed to the point that lawyers came in to sort it all out. It was a mess. But I still tried, because it was my job, even up until recently. I tried to do my

Then, the last month happened. I was already trying to get my brain into “Its just work”, but it is hard when you pour yourself into somewhere for 4 plus years, to just walk away mentally when you take pride in what you do and the people you work with. I don’t know why, I know I am stubborn and overly loyal, but I really had to fight myself to let it all go.

That’s what I did, I used to try and right every wrong at work. Make things happen, make things succeed. But, now, with the environment as it is, me leaving the area soon and the owners not caring, I punch the clock, do the minimal and go home. In my 20+ years of working, I finally can say “It’s just work”.

I have more important things to put my efforts into. I have bigger life changes and challenged to deal with. I have a future well outside of here, I just need the paycheck for now. It is liberating, honestly, to feel like it is just a job. Sure, there will be certain things I will still put more effort than minimal into. But that isn’t for the owners, it will be for the individuals around me who deserve it. Other than that, its just a job.

S.L.

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