Monday, April 18, 2011

work is what I do, not who I am

I might have mentioned (but I can't remember and can't find it in a previous post) that Regis suggested I write this post with this title. I suggested instead: falling off the perch with wit and grace...which we all know would devolve into sarcasm. He says if I write honestly about my feelings regarding the end of my career, maybe I will find peace with it. I can try.

The only things I seem to be able to focus on are the things I really like or the things I really hate. The other day, I looked at my two portfolios, which cost me a ton of money and a ton of emotional capital. When do I pitch those in the trash, I wondered. It got me worked up into quite a lather by the end of the day. What a waste of a good frenzy.

The truth is that it doesn't matter one iota what I do with them. The time for portfolios has passed and I can either keep them on the shrine or I can toss them into the ash bin. There is no point in being dramatic about it now. What they represent to me is probably the big issue and it's time to put that all to rest, too. Tomorrow, I'll walk them out to the dumpster and will say a little prayer of thanksgiving as I give them the last heave-ho. Good riddance and it is what it is.

One part of my job has given me palpitations for the last two years. I have an appointment on Tuesday morning with a person I trust to ask for advice on dealing with it but I don't have great hope. I can do a few things but the basic nature of it will not change so I need to keep my head down and make it to the finish line with my ass-end in tact. Kind of like the time Bert almost got that bunny at the fence. They might have some of my tail when I finally squeak through but I'll make my escape triumphantly!

I told Regis the other night that it is almost impossible to work until the end. Things get taken away, people try to learn your job, they start functioning without you. This is good and bad. Good that there are competent folks to come behind and carry on, but bad in that it doesn't take long before you are, or at least feel like you are, rendered lame duck. You occupy an office and a desk but your responsibilities are dwindling. Maybe that's ok.

I don't know any more if I want to have a retirement party. At first, I did. Now, it seems like the whole affair will be so drawn out that maybe it would be better to just go out the door at the end. It would be like attending your own funeral. Or maybe I throw on a pair of heels and a feather boa, have a limo pick us up and take us to Olives for martinis and steaks. Ha! There's a continuum of options...

Is work that much of my identity? I never thought it was. I had a good boundary between home life and work life. I rarely took calls on weekends that were work-related. I rarely even looked at school email on weekends. I think most of this is hang-over sadness and resentment. Have I been hauling that around in my head all these years? Time to unload that mental garbage.

Since that all happened, and I don't want to drag it out again too much...just for purposes of processing...I have felt differently about my job. Less trusting, less invested, less interested. It's like Bob Dylan says, I used to care but things have changed.

Here is probably the upshot. Shit happens. It is what it is. Move on.

I am going to try very hard to be positive and productive and happy until the last day of work. When I get in one of those purple funks, I'm going to come back and read this post. Why should I agonize for three months over something that is either in the past or is my choice for the future? Moving on with some dignity and a lot of good humor. Life is too short....

1 comment:

Joanne said...

Nicely written, Teresa. I haven't talk to a teacher yet who retired that didn't feel like they were giving up a big part of who they were, but my friends that have retired all have said that by October they were emeshed in their new lives and had moved on without regrets.