Yesterday I had a lunch with a co-worker from my previous job, the one I left about a year ago to come this new clinic. Afterwards, I stopped by my old work and said Hi to everyone. It was a weird experience, like going back in time. I left that job because I had been there for four years since completing my doctorate and licensure and was just ready for something new. Specifically, I wanted a larger setting, with more possible learning opportunities, chances for advancement, and just....something new. You have to leave the nest where you hatched, right? Also, my last job was fraught with a lot of drama and "over-supervising" employees.
And my new job? Well, it has a lot of what I was looking for. But it also comes with all of the downfalls of working in a large, bureaucratic hospital. I am "one among many." Not sure about those "advancement opportunities" because it's easy to get lost. I haven't made any friends here and I don't feel as energized by work anymore. But that is a good thing and a bad thing. Before, I used to go home and complain to my husband for hours about what so-and-so did at work or how I should have received more recognition for-this or-that, or can you believe they're asking me to do this-or-that? Now I go home and my husband asks me about work and I'm like "Meh. It was just work." It's not that I'm unhappy here, I'm just......not much. I mean, yes, I could also enumerate the positives of my new job (there are many), but the point is......I'm just not that excited about it.
So yesterday, when seeing all of my old friends/co-workers, I was forced to put on a big smile and talk about how great it all is and how happy I am with my decision. During lunch with my friend, I was more open. I shared the pluses and minuses and she listened and commiserated. Then she said, "Well, no job is perfect." Which I wholeheartedly agreed with. Then she moved on to tell me about what it's like to be a mother to her 15-month-old son. She told me about the two weeks over Christmas that she spent home alone with her son while her husband had to work and we both pondered what it would be like to NOT work. *GaSp* Two highly motivated career women, pondering NOT-working, as we chatted over our overly-priced, imported, organic brunch?? #firstworldproblems
It reminded me of a previous conversation with another friend. I had shared with her that I am trying to get pregnant (it just seemed unavoidable when we ended up at a wine bar during the TWW) and gave her just a tiny glimpse into what this is like for me right now. Then I transitioned into talking about work. I tried to muster up some enthusiasm (I swear there ARE good things about this job!!), but I got beaten down by tiredness and didn't do such a hot job. I said to her, "Isn't it sad that I studied for so long and I'm just not in love with working right now?" And she smiled and said, "But don't you think you're just ready to be a Mom now?"
A while back, that statement would have filled my feminist, driven little soul with derision and fear. What? My job isn't important because I am going to be a Mom? What?? Excuse me? But now, I totally get it. I think I'm not as inspired by work because I want to re-prioritize life. I mean, I want to care more about breastfeeding than about writing case notes. I want to wonder about sleep schedules instead of supervision schedules. Basically, I just am not finding the meaning that I need in my job anymore.
I know that life is cyclical and (hopefully) a few years from now I will think back on this moment and think how crazy I am. I will crave wearing my high heels and makeup to work and giving presentations (goddamnit, I have one to give in 15 minutes....in Spanish. why am I blogging instead of prepping??) and supervising people and etc etc. But right now I'm just tired of all of that. I want to hold a sleeping baby and look and her little lips. I want to look up at my husband in amazement that we made this. I want to be connected to something more real.
In a way, it's kind of refreshing to acknowledge that I can put down the pressure to DO SOMETHING with my career and BE SOMEONE and just.....be. Hopefully that ambitious side of me is ready to step gently aside when the time comes. In the meantime, I'll just keep hovering somewhere in the middle.