I will be blunt, in the year and a bit since I returned from maternity leave I have spent most of that year wanting to leave behind the place I have gone to work to for the past decade. I have spent most of that year frustrated and floundering. Most of that year stressed. Most of that year disengaged at best. Often quietly angry by the lack of what once was.
I have gone through 3 supervisors as a result of re-orgs in the past year.
The overall vacancy rate on our floor hovers around 30 percent (nearly 40 percent of all cubicles are empty and 10 percent of offices).
The vast majority of halls have remained as they have been for the past 10 years – barren expanses of cream.
The effects of the 2012 scandal continue to reverberate through the organization.
The scores of the Workplace Environment Survey had sunk to new lows and our branch, had gone from a group with some of the highest scores in the ministry to the group with the lowest scores in the ministry.
On a personal level, a good chunk of the time since my daughter was born has been a struggle (as illustrated by countless posts on this blog). As a result, it has required a great deal of effort simply to tread water, and to get back to a place where I feel that I can once again make headway on the things that I care about. For most of the past four years it was not possible to think about where I wanted to go, when as a consequence of what happened I was stuck on where I had been.
Then there was a dawn of sorts.
In the past 4 years I had not just “tread water”, I had not just kept my head above the level (although often times it had felt that, that was all I was intent on doing), I had made a difference. People had read my blog and for some what I had wrote resonated, for others I was allowed to help them achieve their goals or to better navigate the system, my perspective on the health system had shifted, my perspective on my work had change; I had built new bridges. I was once again at a place where I felt that I was able to not just “tread water” but to move forward in meaningful ways. I am at a place where I feel that I have learned a great deal of very important lessons, and that working to apply those lessons has a great deal of potential, even where I currently am at.
I could “abandon ship” – and indeed, if the right opportunity materialized, a position where the purpose of the position and my purpose and passions aligned, I would. However, in the interim, I could make where I am at, a better place. I could do what is feasible to align my work, my purpose and my passions. I could do things to improve upon the empty walls in the halls, I could do things to shift thinking, I could help others navigate towards being happier here (or elsewhere), I could make where I was at a place where at the very least, the little voice that says “This is not a place I want to be,” shifts, and says, “This could be a place where I’d want to be, if…” and then set about doing those things that will transform this place a little bit each day.
So 14 months after coming back from Maternity Leave, I’m finally, settling in, my boxes are unpacked and the cardboard has been taken to recycling and I’m making where I am at a place where I can do good work, that matters – a place where the difference between what is and what could be, gets a little smaller each day.
Ready. Set. Go. This is the starting line.