“That bit between Christmas and New Years, when you don’t know what day it is, who you are and what you are supposed to be doing…”
I scrolled past this post on my facebook feed a couple days ago and giggled as I thought about how true this was. This week, every year, is always a weird week of paralyzing food comas, the frustration of out of office auto replies, and the dreaded task of tearing down the Christmas decor! It’s almost like everyone is battling with Holiday PTSD.
Nonetheless, this week, every year, I find myself putting the final touches on my goals and aspirations for the incoming New Year as well as taking the time to reflect on the year gone by. It’s pretty darn entertaining to pull out the goals that I jotted down for myself the prior year and see what I was, or was not, able to get around to. This year, however, was sort of emotional to reflect back on. The highs of so many beautiful blessings as well as the lows of a few unexpected curve balls.
Last year, like many years prior, my goals were sorted into personal and professional categories. The emotional trigger was looking back on those goals I had set for the program work that I put every ounce of myself into. Program work that I chose to unexpectedly leave behind a few months ago, without a solid “Plan B” in place. I had officially reached my breaking point and every ounce of me said “no more, enough is enough” and I walked away from the work that I loved but a job that I didn’t like so much.
I don’t ever really plan to go into detail about why I left my beloved position at California Waterfowl, but I have come around to summarizing the reason for my leaving from the words my ex-boss said himself. When telling him my thoughts of resignation and the frustrations I felt that led to that desire, his reply was somber, reserved and simple. “Sometimes you just can’t fit a round peg into a square hole”.
Those words, and many others, that he shared with me upon my leaving hit me hard. He penciled out a long list of areas he felt I needed to not only improve upon, but flat out change about myself during my exit interview. I realize that this list was his opinion alone, but I had never taken a blow as bad as having a list of my faults laid out on a table right in front of me. If you haven’t ever experienced this slap in the face reality, I hope you never have to. It rocked my world and in all honesty, I am still trying to recoup from it, but more importantly I am trying to grow from it.
Although I wish the boss man could have pointed out a few of my strengths to go alongside that billboard list of my faults, he didn’t do that for me and I have had to learn to reassure myself of the talents, attributes and values that I possess, without requiring that consolation from him or others. This isn’t an easy thing, especially for a person like myself who seems to always be seeking some sort of validation. I’ve also had to admit some of those faults and do my best to work on improving them. Also, not an easy thing to do, especially for a Taurus.
People have reached out to tell me how missed I will be, how disappointed they are in CWA for not doing more to keep me on staff, or how the thought of baby ducks will always be associated with my name. I’ve even had people write to me to tell me how brave and awesome I am for staying true to myself and how I have inspired some to look at themselves beyond the defining of their own jobs. Most everyone asks, so what now? What are you going to do? I’m working on my what’s next as I write this. I’m known to have a few irons in the fire at any given time. Work is not something I shy away from, that’s for sure.
Honestly speaking though, the last few months have felt like the awkward week between Christmas and New Years, but this is where the personal growth comes into the picture. It has been a tough few months, sort of similar to a sad divorce, and by no means would I suggest to any one to flip out and jump off a cliff into the unknown of leaving a career job; as freeing as it may sound. No doubt I will miss the work I was doing. But, if anything good has come from my decision to leave and that awful exit interview that followed, it is that I am beginning to realize just how proud I am to be a round peg that cannot seem to fit in that square hole.
I have big plans for 2018 and I welcome the unplanned too. Onward and upward! Happy New Year to all of you and here’s to more time spent hunting, fishing and adventuring outdoors this coming year!