I just celebrated my 12th anniversary at my job. Twelve-years! It really is an accomplishment, isn’t it? How many people do you know who have been in the same job for twelve years?
This job was the one I always thought I wanted. It took me almost a year to even be considered for it, and then another eight-and-a-half months for me to get the offer. And when that day finally came, I was so excited. This was it! I was going to have everything I dreamed of having!
Quickly though I learned that the reality of my dream job was far from the picture I had in my head. Even though I had read about the job, talked to others in the position, and felt like I did my research about my future employer, things did not go as planned.
The first day on the job was crazy! For starters, I was asked to start four weeks earlier than I had anticipated. At first I didn’t mind, because I was really excited, but that first day was nothing like I had expected it to be. Nothing went according to the plan I had made, and when that day was over, I was left in a haze wondering what I had missed in the job description. I found out my first month would be spent at an on-site location, something I definitely had not planned to do. Friends were calling and asking about my new job, and I had no idea what to tell them. I think I was a little in shock about how different it was from how I thought it would be.
The next few months brought on more challenges. Off-site appointments I had not anticipated. Team members who regularly came in to work with my new boss, and to teach me how to work with him. It was really stressful, but I knew I couldn’t quit! This was the job I always wanted after all. I knew I had to do my best.
But after about six months, I recognized I needed help. I was working so hard, staying up late doing additional research, still attending many extra appointments and continuing to work with experts in the field to get additional training. I finally asked one of those experts about support for people in my role. Thankfully there was a group of others in my job with similar experiences that I was able to connect with. They helped me realize that even though my job was different, I was still doing really well at it, and they taught me new ways to handle the day to day. Without their support, I might have quit, but I stuck it out.
A few years into the job I got another boss. Now I had to report to two people! This second boss was more typical, although still demanding. At first working with her seemed a lot easier, but as the years went on, I found that while the challenges of working with her were completely different from working with my first boss, she still could make my life difficult when she wanted to.
And then almost five years ago, I got a third boss. Yep. I report to three different people right now. Some days it makes me wonder what the hell I was thinking when I agreed to do this, but other days I realize my third boss is kind of my favorite. (I know, you aren’t supposed to say that in the workplace, but it’s true.)
Are there days I think about looking for a new job? Yep. I do. I love my bosses, but this is the most demanding job I have ever done! Before this, the longest I held a job was four years. And that job gave me four weeks of paid vacation! This job… um, there’s no paid time off. I did start taking a little more time off recently, and that has helped me stay focused on my role in the company when I get back to work. Sometimes it’s good to step away to gain some perspective and remember why you love your job.
Yes, twelve years ago, I got the job. My title? Mom. Sometimes also referred to as Mama, Mommy, Mother or Mum. And in my case, I got the extra title of Special Needs Mom to my first boss, my son with a rare chromosome six deletion who has multiple physical and intellectual disabilities. This job hasn’t been anything like I expected, and I don’t always love it. But my bosses are pretty cool, and I love them with all my heart, so I will keep showing up.