It is so easy to place high expectations and pressures on ourselves. It’s any wonder we aren’t bent and stooped with the weight. We self-complicate our lives so much so that when we are unable to live up to our expectations and the world denies us our vision, we fall a little harder. We choose to beat ourselves up over something that we likely had no control over in the first place.
Here I sit at my desk on a Saturday morning before my son’s soccer game. I am not particularly happy with the way the last few weeks have gone in my professional life. My personal life is awesome but my work life could be going better.
It comes right down to the fact that I’m not very good at my current job. When I took the position 3 months ago, I thought it would be good job for me. And, it is. It’s easy, close to home, with good hours. As a result, it’s fairly stress-free. It doesn’t take a lot of effort or brain power. Knowledge, perhaps, which I have, but nothing any clerk couldn’t do. Certainly below my pay grade of an MBA. Yet, I got written up this week for poor performance.
I knew it was coming. It was no surprise. I had not been doing a good job of my job. Too many mistakes and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t seem to get it right. Like quicksand, the harder I struggled, the deeper I sank. It was really no one’s fault but my own and it’s hard to admit that you failed but, admit it I did. Instead of firing me, they demoted me.
I came to terms with a hard truth that I just can’t do it all. Well, let me rephrase that: sure, I could do it all but it didn’t necessarily follow that I would be good at it all. This was the glaring truth of it. I had failed.
As I turned the information over and over in my head, trying to mentally lick my wounds of embarrassment, wondering how I could have slipped at such an easy job, I was reminded of all the advice that says failure is a lesson in disguise.
This hit me harder than it should have. I am experienced enough to do this job and do it well. Perhaps I was too arrogant in thinking that this job would be cake. Perhaps I am not transitioning into the workplace with the most grace. Perhaps the workplace has changed and I haven’t.
But, what I know for sure is that my priorities have shifted. I’m different, now. Things like promotions and raises just don’t mean as much to me anymore. I still want to do a good job and work very hard. I am reliable, honest, responsible, productive, and creative. But, my job isn’t life to me. My family is life to me. I am life to me.
My weekends and evenings are dear to me. It’s the time I sit with my family around the dinner table and share our days. It’s the time I cheer on my son at his soccer game. It’s the time I read my books or watch my favorite TV shows. It’s the time I spend with my husband at Disneyland. It’s the time I have Sunday brunch with friends.
I hear my co-workers discussing work on their breaks, saying how they had to work over the weekend, answering emails, etc., and I marvel that they make no time for their lives. They work 12 hours per day. They have no time for family. They have no time to even get out to walk their dog. They eat prepackaged food and complain about their weight. They have no time to even get a decent night’s sleep. They get promotions and praise at work but they have no life outside of it.
Perhaps I haven’t really failed after all.