I have made an important decision. Not too big just yet, but important, I am writing it down in order to record it, to make it official to myself and so I do not forget it.
The motives: I just had a bit of a crisis moment this evening. I enjoyed a lovely weekend doing nice sport activities with enjoyable people. I felt refreshed, full of energy, and this allowed me to think about things and about why I haven’t been feeling refreshed like this lately. Also, I recently came back from a long stay with my family, who I live very far away from now, and I realize I really miss them and it is very hard to miss out on their lives while I am here.
The catharsis: I suddenly let myself imagine what it would be like to quit my current job and go back home, and I felt very relieved. So relieved I surprised myself, since I’m not sure about what job possibilities I would have at home. I chose to be where I am, I worked hard to get here, I have a good job that pays well, and I generally enjoy. Suddenly, I thought to myself: ‘my contract ends in a few months, I could renew it, or I could just let it run it’s course and go home’. I allowed myself to imagine that possibility and I really liked it, I imagined what I would do with the few things I’ve acquired here, I imagined talking to my parents and asking to go back home, to start looking for a job there….I even made a little plan about what to do over there.
I realize that I have let people – my bosses- push my work in a direction that I’m not interested in. I am a flexible person, I can compromise, I realize that they are short staffed and need help with things outside of my main focus. I said OK. However, I compromised too much, I haven’t had time to do what I like to do, what I wanted to do, what I came here for, ever since August, that is more than six months. I’ve just been struggling to get through work that I find bland, to work with material badly made in haste. I’ve been reacting to what people tell me I should do, I saw since November that our approach to a project was wrong. I didn’t say anything (I felt out of place since I am not leading, just supporting) and now I have to try and write a report based on bad data. I’ve been avoiding it like the plague, spacing out, getting distracted….Then I feel bad that I am not working with zest and quality. What is worst is that my boss said he will assign me to more of that type of work, yet another flaky project. (the project itself is not flaky, just the approach, but I am powerless to change it).
The outcome: I’ve decided that this is not what I want to do. I am making a sacrifice here, I am away from my family, I would rather go back to them than continue producing bad quality uninteresting output. I don’t want to put my name on mediocre, recycled reports. I want to continue with my initial work. So, either I change the course of my work or I will not renew the contract. I am making the conscious decision instead of spacing out, producing bad quality work because I just don’t care, and then getting fired. I have to make it count. MAKE IT COUNT.
The action plan:
a) Simply re continue work on my own project, inform the boss of progress, and slowly and quietly back out of the other projects.
b) if a, doesn’t work within two weeks, talk to the boss. Look for a compromise on both sides, I would like to dedicate all my time to my initial project, he wants me to dedicate all my time to the other new projects. We negotiate and agree that I will have time to work on my project as long as I still support some functions of the other projects (in a limited way). In the meantime I will pick up my act and produce the best quality work I can given the circumstances, be responsible, do it for my own integrity.
c) Another possibility, which I write for the sake of completion, but I know I don’t want at all, is to work during work hours on the consulting stuff, and work on weekends on my things. Plenty of colleagues do this, but I really really do not want to do this. For my balance of life, for my sanity, I need my free time. I wouldn’t even get to it since I don’t want to do it, and it would mean doing half of everything, more half quality work. So no, this is not an option.
So they are short staffed, that is my boss’s problem, not mine; they signed contracts without having the resources to fulfill them, and now they want me to cover the slack. Not my responsibility, I need to learn to say no, they add tasks and responsibilities but they don’t add compensation. I signed a contract to do the initial project, and occasionally contribute to other projects, occasionally, not as a rule. It’s been more than six months now since I’ve had honest time to sit down and look at the things I want to do. Enough is enough. I will make it count, or I will go back to my family.
In a previous job, when they were firing people because of the crisis we all started getting more and more responsibility. The same amount of work had to get done with less people to do it. My responsibilities grew and my paycheck didn’t. I got to a point where I was so stressed that I was only living from weekend to weekend. Before leaving the job I felt a bit guilty about leaving all my responsibilities behind. When I left I felt an immense sense of relief. Afterwards they hired two people to take up my functions, and one of them was management while I was still staff but doing management work. It happened because I didn’t know how to say ‘no’ back then. The organization will take care of itself, I have to take care of myself. The organization won’t miss me for long, my family misses me always, and I miss them.
So, the decision is made, I have let go of this job in my mind, I am no longer attached to it. I’ve let go of the money, security and comfort it brings. I’ve let go of living in this nice place. I am trusting that there will be other possibilities outside of this. It doesn’t necessarily mean I will leave, if I have it my way I would continue with my initial assignment and keep going here; but it has to be worth the effort. I feel good in my body about this decision. I feel at least two knots that have taken permanent lodgings in my back begin to unclench.