Hold Your Fire

This has been my hardest week I’ve had at the job, any of my jobs, for the longest time. Ever since I gave up the retail life I have fallen into the routine of a 9-5 (or an 8.30-4 in my case) and every weekend off. It certainly took some time to adjust from my old routine of starting work at 2pm and not finishing till 10pm, eating dinner at 11pm, and going to sleep at 3am. If people thought my sleeping habits are bad now, they used to be a lot worse. I no longer fear my phone ringing in the middle of the night because I think it will be an alarm call out at 3am. If I really don’t feel well then I don’t have to worry about who’s going to cover my shift because I know it’s a nightmare trying to get someone in. I don’t have to worry about pulling a double shift because the person who’s supposed to come in has called to say they can’t. When I walk out of the doors, in fact the minute I step away from my desk, whatever it is I have to do is left right there. That is how it should be. This week has not been that.

This week I was left in charge once again at the job and it has been far from fun. Even more than usual, this week has been difficult. Gra’s in India. Only fair, I spent 2½ weeks swanning around the US. We take turns. I always face Graham’s absence with some fear, but this time more than most. It’s a comfort thing. I am more than happy to help but at the end of the day, I would prefer that the decisions that have to be made aren’t mine to make. I have always been this way, I will do whatever needs to be done but the minute it actually becomes my responsibility to do those things then I don’t want it. That approach can be good and bad. Eventually though it leads to the point when people start to take notice of the work that you do. They realise that you’re more than capable of doing more than the role you currently fill. Recognition is always nice. However, that can be good and bad too.

It’s that time again. That moment when people have decided I need to stop “coasting along in first gear” as my actual boss put it. I have been recognised. I have been selected. I have been handed an opportunity that I need to “grab with both hands” – again my actual boss’ words. This is how I know it’s serious, my seizing of this opportunity will put him at a disadvantage when he returns, and still he thinks I should take it. Without going into specifics, things are happening at the job and steps need to be taken in order to remedy them. I, along with Graham, have been selected to be part of a team to do just that. Fix it. I have been told repeatedly that the fact we have been chosen to do this speaks volumes for the work that we do, and I realise that.

It was offered to me in a way that I had a choice on whether not to accept the role. Only, it doesn’t feel like I had much of a choice. I have realised this year more than most that I am at that point in my life now where I have to do things for me. I may be using the current economy as a reason to stay at the job, but it’s a big organisation and there are many roles that I could do. I have potentially over 30yrs left of employment, and the concept of a “job for life” seems an antiquated concept. As much as I am good at what I do, and as much as I truly enjoy the company of the people at the job, I know that I don’t want to be doing what I am doing for the rest of my working life. I need to be doing something more.

This realisation is partly why I have been working so hard on ABMFans. It is not only a way in which I believe I can genuinely help a show that I love, it also helps me. It is my project. It shows me, and others, what I am capable of producing. Ever since I got back my schedule is pretty much wake up, be at the job by around 8.30pm, leave some time around 4pm, be home around 5pm, catch-up on e-mails and other stuff, by 6/7pm work on ABM Fans, around midnight go to sleep. Every day this is what I do: the job that pays the bills, and then the job that I actually love. Both allowing me a chance to figure out what it is I want to do.

So here I am with this great opportunity being handed to me, what’s my problem? I am abandoning my team. I have chosen me over them, and they know it. Without Graham or I there, there is no one looking out for them. There is no one to act as that buffer, that comfort, that sounding board when they know the answer but they just need to make sure. I know it, because I use them for that exact same reason. I cannot count the number of times I have thrown my hands up at my computer screen or let out a loud sigh and had one of them wheel over in their chair to look at what it is that has caused the reaction. They don’t even have to know the answer, they just need to listen to me moan and gripe for that moment and then I’m okay. They are the ones that truly keep me sane when everything else appears intent on driving me insane. They are my support structure. They are the ones who enable me to do what it is I do that has caused me to be recognised. And I am leaving them to fend for themselves.

I believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt – perhaps more than I believe anything else, that I am who I am because of the people I have in my life. If you look at me and you see a good person, a capable person, a person who you believe to be someone you want in your life, know that it is because I am a product of the people that I know. I do not take any credit for it. The people in my life are that amazing that I am forever striving to be someone who deserves to have them in their life. That is why I am who I am. No doubt in my mind to the truth of that statement. Doing this, though I know that it is the best thing for me feels like a betrayal. A betrayal that I would rather step in the path of a bullet for if it meant I did not have to carry it out. That’s why I keep saying, “Shoot me.” Shoot me and let me not have to do this.

One of my favourite people at the job came to talk to me today. She came to find me because yesterday I went to find her, she is one of the people that I wanted to see before I left. My one time boss’ boss’ boss, for reasons that will forever remain a mystery to me, didn’t get the job she was doing when the department was reorganised. Biggest mistake. The only way I can describe her is to say she is like sunshine. Quite literally having her there, makes the day better. She may not be around by the time I get back, so I needed to see her. And as I knew she would, she made things better. She has a way about her that makes me open up and talk to her – those who know me understand how difficult that can sometimes be. I talked through my concerns, my thoughts about the whole move, and she understood exactly where I was coming from. She took my number and said that she’s going to come and see me at the new building and we’re going to go for coffee or lunch. I’m not even part of her team anymore, but we will forever be her team. This is why she’s sunshine.

My concerns for what is to come have lessened today because of the conversations I have had and the plans that I have put into place. The relationships I have built over the past few years are proving their strength as the news of the move has spread. Those that have supported me I have asked to do the same for the guys in my absence, and I have faith that they will. For the first time all week I realise that the support we have built amongst our team, the friendships we have formed, they allow us to stand – fully supported, even when it looks as though we are standing alone.


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