Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year. According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013. Each day in December, there's a new prompt.
10. lose [HOPE]: Did you have to say goodbye to a person, or even a cherished object, this year? Take a moment to celebrate the memory.
This actually hasn't been a year of loss for me -- if I think back to previous years, I can immediately recollect memories of cars going to the parking lot in the sky, the loss of my grandfather or saying goodbye to our beloved orange cat. In the grand scheme of things, the goodbye that I've had to contend with this year is on a much different scale than the loss of a loved one, but still unexpected in its own way.
My company hired my mat leave replacement in August and she worked for a couple of months just assisting with general office work, helping whoever needed an extra set of hands. Then, in October, my boss insisted that she start learning my portfolio as soon as possible. It seemed awfully early, since I'm planning to work until the end of January, but the last girl who went on mat leave had her baby a month and a half before her expected departure date, so I'm sure that he was just worried that I'd leave unexpectedly as well. So, I started training her, thinking that we'd work together on my portfolio through until Christmas, and then she'd be on her own with the workload while I phased out.
But at the beginning of November, my boss met with me again and asked that I let her work independently on my portfolio because he wanted to see if she could handle the volume of work that I was capable of doing. So, with still three months left at the company, I found myself unexpectedly uprooted from my desk (I was moved to the opposite side of the office) and I wasn't doing the work that I love, and that I am good at. Instead, I was just available in case anyone needed extra help but, as no one in the office seemed to know that they could ask me for help, it left me with very little to do to fill my day. Add in several managers walking by and jokingly asking why I'd been "banished to the corner" and I felt very isolated and unappreciated.
After many long sob sessions with my husband, and two days where I couldn't even face going to work and called in sick, I finally realized (through the cloud of pregnancy hormones -- it's seriously like being a hormonal teenager all over again, but with the added [dis]advantage of being able to rationally look at my tear-soaked self and know that I'm being silly), that it was going to be harder than I had thought to give up my job. I didn't realize how much my job had become part of who I am and that I was proud of doing my job well. By having my work taken away from me so quickly, I felt like there was a part of me that still needed to be validated at work but, when I wasn't doing my usual work, it was hard to find that validation. It took me a while to accept it, but I realized that my boss wasn't trying to purposely make me feel uncomfortable, but that my replacement really did need the time to try out my job and see if it was the right fit. Being an observer, rather than a direct helper, allowed me to objectively see if she was able to handle the workload. I was able to offer constructive suggestions to my boss, who reorganized some of the girls' workloads in order to allow the new girl a chance to breathe, but also giving a couple of girls who had extra time on their hands some additional work to do. In the end, it's worked out really well, and I'm actually enjoying not having such a stressful work day. I've carved out my own niche in my new role at work, designating myself as "special projects" for any manager that needs something extra done. And it's working out really well -- with only a month and a half left to go before I'm outta there and on to a new adventure!