We had planned on me being home for at least 14 weeks post delivery. At the time, that was what my company offered, and I was planning on taking every day of that time. I say that I was planning on taking it because, of course, I didn’t.
My first leave, I was given 14 weeks, and only took 12 of them. My second leave, I took 13 weeks. Here was my third leave, and I was planning on enjoying each of those 14 weeks with our family. But, that is not what happened.
I have heard the statement – “On your deathbed, you will never say – I wish I spent more time at work.” I know that in my head and in my heart. I really, truly get that. Here’s the challenge. I like what I do. I like my company, I like the people, and I like the work. So, when I step away, I know that things get done without me. I also know that I miss it. I enjoy having two sides to my life – an outside of the home job and an inside of the home job. I get to do both. And, I do love it.
Something else to note is that, even when we love our job, during times of change, we don’t always feel as valued or as noticed. So, we get nervous about our future when we aren’t there to be seen. That is more of what happened this time.
As previously mentioned, when I started my leave, my first line and second line leadership had changed. I had spent years creating a reputation and a body of work with a group of people, and now, I felt like I needed to start over. Not only that, but everyone goes through various stages of change. And, everyone else had time to get to the “We” phase during the 11 weeks while I was on leave. I didn’t.
So, when I received a call that my previous second line leader had a job open and she wanted me to post for it, I jumped at the chance. In my new world, I didn’t know if I would be respected or appreciated. I would have to start again from square one. What a daunting task! But, I might not have to do that. If I would come back to work early, I could apply for this new position and get back to part of my previous alignment. At least my second line leader would be the same as before. So, I took the chance and came back to work.
With very little notice, I applied for the new position, pulled together my body of work, and went out for the interview. I was as prepared as I could be, but remember, my last 11 weeks were spent talking baby talk. I had to put my “game face” on and talk real business speak to two men who would determine my fate in this new position. To add to that, I didn’t want my most recent maternity leave to have anything to do with the hiring decision, so I asked that the hiring managers not be told I came back to work early. I wanted to earn this position on my own, without any help.
Within one week of coming back to work, I was on a plane to New Jersey interviewing for a potential new job. This job would mean moving my family to a whole new part of the country.
Was I ready for that? Did I stop and think of what this would mean for us? My husband and I discussed it, and he said what he always does – we can make anything work. I’m in!
Heavenly Father, I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate Your bringing us together. He truly is an amazing man, husband, father and friend!
While I didn’t think so at the time, thankfully, I was not offered the position. I was given very good feedback and told that it was not the right fit at the time. Part of the reason why I say thankfully is that the person who was hired for that position was let go within 6 months due to downsizing.
Can you imagine? We would have sold our house, moved our family half way across the country, away from everyone we knew and loved, to lose my job 6 months later???? It reminds me of a Garth Brooks song lyric – “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers…” Truly – Thank You!
About 3 weeks later, I received a call from HQ that there was another job coming open and I was one of a few select candidates getting a call to personally be asked to apply. No pressure or anything! So, again, with little additional thought, I applied for the job. The good news about this one was that we wouldn’t have had to move. Plus, it would give me new a whole new perspective of how our organization worked across all of our business units. Very exciting!
Now get this. The first phone screen for the job would take place during our vacation to Hawaii! Because the position needed to be filled rather quickly, there weren’t any other options. I needed to take the call during our vacation.
WHO DOES THIS???
Again, I prepared the best I could. I was still only back to work for a few weeks, but I was more prepared for this one. I took the call one morning. Imagine this. I was down at the pool in my swimsuit enjoying the sun. I ran up to the room about 20 minutes prior to the call to open my computer and get myself prepared. I completed the phone screen in 30 minutes and was back down to the pool within 1 hour of when I left. So, do you think I did well in the interview??
Nope. Wasn’t even moved on to the second round of live interviews. Ugh!
Seriously, I am no longer going to apply for anything. I just need to focus on the job that I currently have, that keeps me close to family and pays the bills.
So, that is what I did. And, that is when the magic happened.
Remember the women’s conference I attended? It had been only a few months since I attended, but I had packed away all that I had learned and just jumped back into – “I’ll get it done because no one else will” mode. I didn’t stop to think about anything else. Until now.
I remembered that I had the ability to say “no.” Such a powerful word that many of us don’t use often enough. And, I needed to stop and think about what I wanted, not chase positions where others may have wanted me – because, as you can see, that wasn’t working out too well for me.
The second part of that conference was the “Ground-Breaking Project.” So, I took my time, talent and treasure and dove into my current day job and this project. Especially because, this project was exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to make true organizational change. And, since I work for a very large organization, this wasn’t going to be easy. But, I knew I could do it – with God’s help. So, I channeled all of my energy into my current job and my project, and prayed for God’s help, support and guidance.
More to come on what that brought to our family…
All I’ll say now is that – God is faithful. He has a plan for each of us. It is up to us to trust in Him. What’s amazing is that God puts us exactly where we are supposed to be for all of the right reasons. Through the process, we usually can’t stop to see the bigger picture. We focus on the current “no” versus the bigger picture.
Think back to a time when you thought something should happen, it didn’t, and then sometime later, you were able to see why it not happening was so much better. Now, think about another, and another. See, when you start to look back on life, you can see all of God’s work. You can notice the blessings that may have seemed like burdens at the time. You can see where the “unanswered prayers” were actually the set-up for even bigger blessings. And, if you take the time to think back on all the times God has shown you that in your life, you can have increased faith that He will do it again. So, when the next unanswered prayer occurs, you can stop and say –
“God, I’m not sure why this is a ‘no’ right now, but I trust in You. I know You have a plan and I need to be faithful. So, I am putting all my faith and trust in You.”