Okay, I Slacked Off a Bit

So I had my 4-day weekend, and it was both wonderful and horrible. Wonderful because I didn’t have to think about work for FOUR GLORIOUS DAYS! Horrible because I had nothing to do. Beyond covid caution, we had sleet and snow and ice all weekend, so even going for a drive to get out of the house was impossible. I did leave once, because I had to pick up some auction booty in DC, but on the way back my car slid twice and that was it, I refused to go out again. I read two books. So there’s that. I packed a few more boxes. I cleaned up and ran the vacuum. B was home on Saturday, the second weekend in a row that he’s actually had both days off. We’re watching the Marvel movies in story order, so we saw a few of those, but the rest of the time was not much different from any other day of the past 11 months.

Not really a weekend to recharge my batteries.

Back at work on Tuesday, we had our biweekly team Zoom meeting, which we all try desperately to drag out as long as possible both to keep from working and to enjoy interacting with other human beings for a while. Bonus—my 2020 year-end review meeting was scheduled for the afternoon, so I got to talk to my boss twice! Some people may see that as a negative, but my boss is very chill and nice to talk to. The kind of boss who not only is friendly, can take being teased, and jokes around with the team but also values us all for our input and is just as likely to come to us for advice about a project as we are to go to him.

I work for the publishing arm of a health care organization. My team manages book publishing projects. I worked for this company years ago and left when my son was born. I worked freelance for them for the next 16 years, through all my life changes, the divorce, the moves, the marriage. Thanks to them, I had some kind of income even when I couldn’t find anything else. The guy who is my boss now was a senior member of the team back then, so I had an established collegial relationship with him, and during my freelancing years he was always great to work with. When this position opened up in 2019 I was desperate to get out of small-town hell and absolutely overjoyed at the chance to return. Fortunately for me, they were just as happy to have me back.

I love being a mom, and I would never change the 8 years I had at home with my boy. But when my world shifted, I dreamt of returning to my career. Working at local hourly-wage jobs, although perfectly respectable for anyone, just never felt right to me. I’d been raised to think higher, look higher, aspire for more (not that that’s necessarily a good thing, but it’s a mindset I had drilled into me, and I never could shake it). When I started back at this job, I finally felt like I was living up to my own potential again. I’d done the college thing, I’d started a great career, and being a mom had sidelined that part of me. I gave up my mind for my heart, so to speak. One day as I was waiting for the elevator to come, I saw myself reflected in the glass doors, and I just looked and felt so much more confident in myself. I was where I belonged.

In all honesty, at 28 I was restless in the job. I appreciated having it, but I was getting bored with the same everyday routine and wondering if there was more out there. Had I not become a mom, I would have ended up on a very different path. But after nearly 20 years of struggling to make ends meet, and 10 years of trying find work, restart my life post divorce, find my way to anything—hell, I even worked at a DMV office for a while!—I appreciate this job, this career, more than I ever could have expected. Now, in the days of covid, I have a secure position in a well-paying career that I enjoy. A million other things might be topsy-turvy right now, but that’s been a comfort for sure.

Over my long and boring weekend, I did log into my work files to see if my review had been posted. We can generally see them ahead of our supervisor meetings so we can prepare. That very lengthy review was one of the highlights of my weekend (a low bar, I realize, but this was off the charts). My boss clearly appreciates me being there, appreciates the work I do, just as much as I appreciate being on the team and working for a company that really does well by its people. A bonus surprise was an added positive review by HIS boss, our department chair, who also had known me on my first go-round with the company.

I just hope we’ll all be able to get back to the office again soon. I miss separating my work life from my home life. It’s weighing on me. Like everything else. But still, I’m sitting a little taller this week because despite it all, things are good. I’m grateful.