I started a new job last week with an organization I left 11 years ago. When I was offered this job, I felt a wave of relief about the prospect of having an income in the near future. But that initial feeling was quickly replaced by a strong sense of failure. By accepting this job, I felt like I was conceding defeat. By returning to an organization that I left 11 years ago to a more junior position, for less pay, at the bottom of the salary grid, I felt like I was moving backwards in my life.
But last week, as I walked up Yonge Street towards the office, I was surprised to find myself feeling excited about returning. I found myself feeling like I was going home. Several times through the week, when I ran into people I had worked with before, I was greeted warmly. People were genuinely pleased to learn that I was returning. One woman introduced me to some of her younger colleagues as a “firebrand who knows how to make things happen”. One young woman who joined the organization since I left told me that she was excited to meet me because she had used so many of my reports. My new Director, who was my Manager last time around, told me that she was hoping that I could drum up some media attention for our issues like I used to do.
I was stunned by all of this praise. For three years I have been working alone, putting work out into the world without much feedback on it. For the three years before that, I worked for an organization that mistrusted me, subjected every piece of my work to rigourous review, and ultimately “terminated” me when finances got tight. There have been many days over the last six years when I have wondered if I was doing worthwhile work that was useful to anyone. But in this organization, I am being welcomed back like a star who is known for her work and repected for her abilities. This has been a little embarassing, very flattering, and incredibly affirming.
As I walked down Yonge Street at the end of my third day, I realized that going back to the same organization is not the same as going backwards. I realized that I am returning to this organization with newly acquired knowledge, much more experience, and a greater level of confidence in my abilities. It made me think that life is not a circle as much as it is a spiral; that we return to people, places and situations time and time again but never quite in the same way. Each time around, we have something new to bring to the table; each time around, we seem to have something new to learn from the experience.
So, maybe I am back in this organization because I needed to be reminded that I am on the right track; that there are others who share by goals and aspirations? Or maybe I am back to bring my newly acquired knowledge to an organization that can give an important issue greater profile? Who knows? But today, I am willing to believe that the Universe has brought me back to this organization at this point in time for a reason. And that feels just fine.
- Nancy Tate – Wake Up Call – Horus – 16 March 2012 (lucas2012infos.wordpress.com)
- Spiralling Through the Darkness – A Look at Sarah Connor’s Psychosis (unithou.wordpress.com)