Eight years ago I quit my job without having another one to go to. I cashed in my 401k at the time and lived off of it for five months. I did it because the job was an extremely high pressure, production oriented call center that really didn’t care about it’s employees. I was a number that generated subpar metrics according to their goals and criteria. They paid extremely well and had a phenomenal profit-sharing bonus every year. That was one of the reasons I lasted six years there. But I was miserable, I hated Mondays and I hated myself because I couldn’t measure up to their standards. I quit because I was burned out and I had enough in my 401k to take some time off to myself. I know that was not an optimal course of action, I know that.
Trust me when I tell you I learned my lesson from that. I spent way too much time home alone with myself and ended up miserable, not to mention I burned through $30,000.00 of potential future retirement income. Although still making choices that weren’t well thought out or healthy, thank God I was in recovery. I had 9 years clean and sober when I went to my home group meeting in the park one Sunday morning in October of 2006 and confessed just how emotionally, mentally and spiritually fucked up I was. Well, my sponsor at the time was at the meeting and she told me since I had the time on my hands that I needed to do thirty meetings in thirty days. See this is why we have sponsors, mentors and guides. Because we can’t figure this shit out on our own. It was a brilliant idea and I followed her direction. It jump started my rise from the abyss and my job search. At the end of thirty days, I was interviewing for jobs and my recovery was going strong. I landed with a really good company, making decent money where I was valued as an employee.
Fast forward eight and half years, I’m still with that company. I’ve grown so much as an employee in my marketable skill set! I promoted into another department 3 years ago and I really loved it. Except our company has been going through a transition and change in corporate culture over the last two years. They’ve shown very clearly that their priorities are now production goals and metrics. The workload has increased by 20% yet the quality of work product is no longer valued as much as closing numbers, response times and upgrading to compete with other companies. Valuing employees hasn’t just fallen to the wayside, it has been chucked unceremoniously. I find myself feeling stressed out and inadequate of late. I know I am a smart, capable, worthy employee. My company used to feel that way about me too. I have copies of all my prior annual reviews to prove it! But the shift in evaluating annual reviews now says I am sorely lacking. I have friends in many different departments that feel the same way and have voiced the same issues. It has been a growing disbelief, discomfort and dissatisfaction that can no longer be denied or ignored. I could give specific instances that demonstrate clearly just how unappreciated we are now, but this is about my response to the situation.
I have grown and progressed by leaps and bounds in the last eight and a half years. Much of it is due to my 12 step program, but paradoxically, much of it is due to my current employer. My 12 step program, spiritual kin, and sponsors have shown me how to love, appreciate and value myself. My employer taught me how to interpret, evaluate, audit and assemble information to negotiate the resolution of claims. Think about that. My employer taught me critical thinking and interpretation in order to stand firm in resolving issues. So imagine the irony that I have now used those skills and abilities to analyze my current work situation. Guess what? It’s no longer acceptable to stay where I am not valued and appreciated. In fact, it’s become intolerable and it’s time to move on. This saddens me because I believed I would be retiring from this company. However, it’s clear that I would not last another 17 years according to their evaluation.
So after this long weekend, I begin searching for a suitable work environment or career course for this next phase of my life. I search with a clarity of purpose this time around, not leaping without consideration of consequences. I have such a clear idea of who I am and what I can offer this time around. I know I want to work somewhere where my contribution is valued and appreciated, a place where employees like where they work. God has been invited into this particular process long ago so all I need to do is the footwork and trust in whatever the results may be.