Why I Took Two Steps Back With My Career
Did you ever think you could literally go back towards your future? Sometimes taking two steps back helps you move forward. Let me explain.
Two years ago I took a leap of faith and accepted a job offer I couldn’t refuse. I was not planning to leave my current job that I absolutely loved. I had a flexible schedule, supportive co-workers, and I was valued there. What made me really appreciate my job was my family came first and upper management never questioned that. I was always provided a healthy balance of work and taking care of my son.
I was not looking for a new job at the time, but this new offer came to me so quick that I didn’t have that much time to think about it. This new job offered job security, a pension and opportunity to move up. I knew I needed to accept this opportunity because it would help my future significantly.
HOWEVER, I DIDN’T REALIZE SOMETHING THAT COULD BENEFIT MY FUTURE MIGHT NOT BENEFIT ME RIGHT NOW.
Leaving the job I adored was very hard for me, so I decided to not cut ties entirely and stay on per diem. I always knew I was welcomed back there if I ever needed to come back full time.
My new job was definitely an adjustment and I had a hard time getting into the groove of things. It took me close to a year to finally get a grasp on my position but as a result I spent less time with my son. Previously, if my son got sick at daycare I was only a 5 minute car ride away. With my new job I would have to take a bus home so I could get my car and then go pick him up. Sometimes it just wouldn’t be possible and my husband would get him instead. I was no longer able to drop him off or pick him up from daycare daily so my husband also took that on. As much as I appreciated this, I missed that quality time we had together talking about our day and what we plan to do when we get home. It was frowned upon when I needed to be home with my son whether he was sick or if it was a snow day so once again I would rely on my husband to do this. I felt guilty for not being able to take care of my son when I felt like he needed me the most.
A year later the pandemic hit and things became much more difficult for me as it did for every other parent across the world. I was working from home with a four year old who was used to going to preschool everyday. He needed my attention and it killed me not being able to give him 100% of me.
A few months into quarantine I got a call from two of my supervisors unexpectedly and it caught me off guard. They told me upper management was concerned with my productivity and they wanted to know why I was not meeting expectations. I started to laugh thinking it was a joke but quickly realized they were serious. I told them that my work environment was not ideal which caused some distractions, I never received proper IT support, I have a four year old who needs my undivided attention and WE ARE IN A GLOBAL STATE OF EMERGENCY.
None of my reasons were good enough and quite frankly they didn’t want to hear it. They proceeded to tell me my tasks are not hard and if they can get this work done so can I despite any barriers. I was then informed if I do not produce more work within next week further discipline would be taken. As they were telling me this my son was yelling from the bathroom for me to “wipe his butt”. I was able to keep myself composed despite the tears filling my eyes but as soon as I hung up the phone I lost it.
I have worked so hard despite my barriers and still was presented with threats and possible retaliation. I was never asked if I needed any support and they completely ignored the fact that I had a child I needed to take care of. After that phone call I worked in fear of losing my job. I spent less attention on Franco and became obsessed with my work. Despite all of this, I continued to be threatened of being disciplined and being transferred to an office 4 hours away if I couldn’t reach expectations.
I WAS COMPLETELY STRIPPED OF MY CONFIDENCE AS A WORKING PROFESSIONAL AND AS A MOTHER.
My self esteem declined all while being feared by the pandemic. Since March, I lost a family member, my psychiatrist dumped me and my husband lost his job. I was unable to cope because all of my focus was on my job. After 8 months of going back and forth I knew that I could no longer do this and decided to seek other employment.
I always stayed in touch with my previous supervisor since I still worked per diem and I opened up to her about how my job was affecting my mental health significantly. I always valued our relationship and her honesty with me. Ironically while all of this was happening my previous position had an opening. I was offered this position again but this time with more pay and benefits.
I wanted to yell ‘Heck yes!’ but I know it wasn’t a black and white decision. Although my salary would be significantly increased, was going backwards the right thing to do? Should I continue to go on interviews and completely start over on a clean slate? In all honesty, I wouldn’t be able to do that right now, not during this pandemic. I needed to go back to what always made me happy and value the mission of my work.
So that is what I did and it was an instant relief. I am able to take care of my son and efficiently get my work done because there is a healthy balance. Do I still struggle with guilt and feel like I am less of a person because I went back to my old position? I do, but in order to overcome this guilt I need to build my confidence and self esteem again.
If that means taking two steps back to help better my future then I will do just that.