I’ve been working at the same job for fifteen years. When I reach a major milestone, I tend to assess (or more accurately, obsess about) the good and bad. So, on this fifteenth anniversary, I’m thinking about where I’ve been and how I got here.
When I first started, I was so excited to have this position. It was what I’d wanted for so long. I’d been dreaming and planning to take on this role, but I also had no idea what I was doing. The learning curve was steep and rapid. No one told me it would be that hard, but I probably wouldn’t have believed them anyway. As it turned out, I couldn’t prepare in advance. On the job training was the only way to learn. Sometimes it was difficult and painful; at other times it was simple and easy.
Time passed and my comfort level increased in many respects, but then I was put in charge of more people. For better or worse, my team members have strong personalities. They continually ask questions, express their opinions, challenge my authority, and often make demands. This crew also argues amongst themselves incessantly. Unfortunately, there is no one way to deal with all of them because each one responds differently to my efforts. Depending on the circumstances, I must be stern and unrelenting or charming and persuasive. It’s always better with this group if they think they came up with the ideas themselves. Of course, those same people can turn around and be kind and appreciative. The thank you’s and the interpersonal relationships serve as a salve when the difficulties pile up.
On some days, the tasks are mind numbingly routine, and I feel like I can’t repeat an assignment one more time. Oddly, at the same time, the job is dynamic and keeps changing. I’ll be convinced that we have a method down pat or that the way we did things before will work again, but the world shifts and we start over. I must evolve in my approach or fall behind. However, when we encounter new issues and solve them with creativity and imagination, we feel invigorated and proud. The logistics of scheduling can be nightmarish, and I’m the one in charge of all the organization and transportation. I’m on the road now more than ever, although the trips are short. Every now and again, I feel as though I’ve accomplished a great deal. Then, moments later, I feel like a complete failure.
But I am devoted to this job. In fact, some would take issue with me calling it a “job” when the bottom line is, I love it. I have passion for what I do. The fulfillment and satisfaction far outweigh the adversities. I won’t get a plaque to commemorate the time I’ve served. Instead, I’ll get a cake for the person who gave me the title in the first place: my daughter. The icing will read, “Happy 15thBirthday!” Our family, including the three boys born after her, will sing in celebration, and I’ll thank God once again for giving me the hardest and most beautiful role, that of mother.
P.S. Riley turns 16 this January. One more year on the job with my team of Riley, Jed, Clay and Alex. Love my kids!