Monday, August 1, 2011

When I Grow Up...

You know the question you ask kids… “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  The normal answers for my kids have been teacher, chef, firefighter, and as Little Man has said lately, a cement truck driver.  All noble professions for sure.  The trouble is, I can’t honestly answer that question now – at 43 years old.

I have been in human resources for well over 20 years.  I kind of fell into this field.  I started out of college with my “organizational communications” degree supporting a manager who handled HR and training for a company.  Over the years, I have been blessed to learn from very smart managers who saw my potential and allowed me to do things above my actual years of experience.  And, truth be told, I am good at it.  I am trusted to advise management well and have a knack for managing information without bias very well.

But, here is the rub - I do not want to do this any more.  I am tired of the employee relations issues (really tired of this!), having to re-has an issue with an employee again and benefits administration.  I have seen my fair share of crazy stuff over the years (like the employees who were caught having ah, hmmm “relations” in a store in the wee morning hours and could not figure out why they were being terminated – they honestly said “the store was not open, so what is the big deal?”  Hmmm, the big deal is a customer waiting for the bus outside the store saw you doing your thing ON THE CHECK STAND, that's why.  Think about that the next time you plunk your purse down to pay for something – eeewww).  Anyway, HR is not fulfilling to me.  It is not challenging, humorous at times, but not challenging.

I find it fascinating that something I am good at is NOT satisfying.  And the bigger rub is that I have no idea what else I want to do.  I have tried to rack by brain thinking of what would fill me up.  But I come up empty.  We are not blessed with the option of me not working at all.  I don’t have to work full time, but even if I did not have to work, I don’t know what else I would want to do.

I do know that I want more flexibility in my schedule.  I do not want to rely on others to get my kids to their activities.  This summer has been eye opening, humbling and guilt ridden.  We are fortunate to having very loving friends who are more than willing to help out.  Unfortunately, I hate asking for help when I believe, deep down, I should be the one do these things.  I worry that the kids are safe and where they are suppose to be.  I worry about the impact my absence has in my relationship with them and what I am missing.

So one thing has been decided – I will not work away from home by this time next year.  While I need to find something to replace my income, the stress the job I started last October has created in our family, the impact on the kids and what I am missing, is not worth it.  And to further spur our decision is the need for me to be involved in Little Man’s schooling when he starts Kindergarten next fall.  I can not be an absentee-working parent.  I need to know his teachers and be in the classroom and be known to the school administrators.  We owe him that.

Some hard choices will have to be made over the next year.  It will not be easy.  And honestly, I am worried we will not be able to follow through on this decision.  But I am more worried if we don’t.

Chief and I have had some heart felt discussion lately.  What do we want for our family, each other, ourselves?  What means the most to us.  These discussions were triggered by watching the movie the Notebook.  Oh my, if you haven’t watched this, grab a box of Kleenex and your husband and watch it.  It is a true love story.  This movie took on a special meaning for us since my Mom is struggling with Alzheimer’s.  I think for the first time, I could see the impact this disease may have on my relationship with my husband.  And how it is so important to make the most of the days you are blessed with.  While I may have many days, I don’t know that I will remember all of them given my family history.  The memories we make and impact I have on my children are a gift, and I don’t want to waste it working in something that does not bring me joy just to pay some stupid Visa bill. 

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