I have been sick for three weeks with a nasty cold. It has kept me awake at night, stripped me of energy, and forced me indoors through an extremely cold and gloomy January. My days have felt long; I have struggled to sleep, dragged myself through work days, then crashed on the couch each night. I have not had energy for walking or socializing. I have spent a lot of time zoning out over TV shows on Netflix; I have watched all four season of The Good Wife. But in my sleepless nights and in the moments between work and Netflix, quiet thoughts have bubbled to the surface.
I ended the year feeling tired of my current job; tired of being treated poorly by our over-paid consultant; tired of working for members who take my work for granted; tired of working with a manager who provides no support while taking credit for my work. Over the last few weeks however, something shifted internally. I found myself remembering how much I love working from home; feeling grateful that I could work without having to dress up and commute into an office. I found myself thinking how much I love the autonomy I have in this job; that I write and post articles on our partnerships’s website, prepare and disseminate e-newsletters, and select guests for webinars without passing through 4 layers of approval.
Before Christmas, I applied for a number of jobs. I had one job interview before I got sick and it got me thinking about what I would be giving up if I left this job; the ability to juggle my work hours; the freedom to make decisions n my own; the opportunity to write and manage a website; and the chance to see the current projects through to completion. I found myself feeling oddly invested in my job and committed to the members in our partnership. When it came time to pass on two other job interviews because I was too sick to attend, I found myself thinking, “I guess it was not meant to be.”
When I look at what has been going on internally, I find myself facing familiar ground. My current job, which is a contract position, provides no pension, a relatively low salary, and no job security (the contract ends in October). More importantly, there is no prestige associated with it. In this position, I am not the content expert and I have little power. But it keeps me very busy; there is a huge variety in the tasks that I do; editing reports, moderating webinars, organizing events, meeting with members. There is room for creativity; writing blogs, managing the website, and preparing presentations. There is freedom and autonomy and room for quietly influence work in the field in which I am working.
My role in this partnership of professionals is like that of the mother in a family. I am the one who keeps everything moving smoothly; quietly working behind the scenes to allow others to focus and shine; doing the invisible work that is all so essential. In other words, this job has value, but it is value that often goes unrecognized and unrewarded. The question is, “Do I value it?” And over the last few weeks, with my life turned inward, I have found myself thinking that I do. So, the next question is, “Can I still the hungry voice of my ego long enough to enjoy it?”