Friday, October 25, 2019

How the Worst Day of my Life Turned Into the Best Day of my Life

I realize I never did follow through on my promise to explain my sudden "retirement", so maybe now is as good a time as any.

First a little background.  I worked at Sheltered Living, (SLI) for over 11 years.  I LOVED my job.  Every single thing about it.  It truly was the first time in my career I found myself not dreading going to work everyday.  I shared an office with 2 co-workers who I dearly love.  Amy, Jen and I just clicked.  Which is good, because those half walls dividing our work spaces didn't hide much.  We worked well together, and had a little fun along the way.  So about 4 years ago Amy decided she needed to leave SLI.  It wasn't easy to adjust to life without our missing partner, but Jen and I managed.  It was several months before her replacement was hired.  As in the past, job descriptions were changed (typical anytime there was a change in personnel)  But this time, the change was unprecedented.. Out new 3rd "co-worker" turned out to be our new direct supervisor.  The minute I heard that, my stomach dropped.  I knew this was never going to work.  Well for me, it wasn't.  Having my boss right next to me. watching my every move, literally standing over my shoulder, was my worst nightmare.  See, I'm the kind of person who doesn't need to be micro-managed.  And up to this point, our boss never did that.  She gave us the freedom to do our jobs our own way.  And that's what we did.  The work got done.  

A little more info to consider.  Over the past 5 years I went though a few health crises.  The  big one, of course keeping me completely off work for 3 months, and part time for another 3 months.  After that there were multiple surgeries, physical therapy, and many many Dr. Appointments.  This obviously led to more time off work.  Couple that with my age, and I believe I became a target.  I think my employer was afraid the health problems would continue.  My boss was the only other person who could do my job,  so she may have decided she wanted someone who could work full time, without restrictions, and without frequent absences.  Now, I always had a problem with getting to work on time.  If you know me, you're saying DUH to yourself right now.  But part of my medical condition had a direct effect on my inability to get up and moving every morning.  

So, take one annoying supervisor, times my existing time management problem, add a hostile environment which effected my desire to go to work, as well as my job performance, all totaled up equals "I'm sorry but we are terminating your employment",  And, let me just add that I had seen this sort of thing happen many times during my 11 years there, I clearly saw it coming, and still I couldn't stop that steamroller from running right over me.  I was devastated.  I was embarrassed.  I was walked to my office to pack up my things and escorted to my car, without an opportunity to even say goodbye to anyone.  I was told I was not welcome at any SLI property, and instructed to have no contact with SLI clients or guardians.  These people were my world for 11 years, and suddenly, they were cut from my life.  It was almost like a death had occurred.  

I went home and told Greg what happened, expecting the worst.  But.  My husband told me all the things I needed to hear.  They don't deserve you.  They didn't appreciate you.  You're better off without them.  We will be fine without your income.  You can stay home and help me out on the farm.  It's going to be ok.  

It wasn't long before I realized just what a blessing being fired was.  The relief was immediate.  I still miss my co-workers and the clients, but they eased up a little and didn't say anything when I attended a memorial at their office for one of the clients, and I was even invited to a retirement party for one of my favorite co-workers. (Sorry I couldn't make it JoAnn!)

A year after all of this took place, I became eligible for my full KPERS retirement, and we decided it was the right time to take advantage of that.  

It's been 15 months since that ugly day, and I'm happier than I've ever been.  I'm able to take care of my mom, which takes up a good chunk of my time.  Equally importantly, I'm available to help Erin with my wonderful grandkids at a moment's notice.  Well unless it's harvest time.  Or cattle gathering time.  Or planting time.  Yes, Greg and the farm are my priority, but it's not exactly a full time job.  I believe the best thing to come from all of this is the quality time that my husband and I get to spend together and it's strengthened our marriage.

Thanks SLI.  You know you miss me!

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