This blog is about my favorite things but it can be about personal triumphs as well, can’t it?
I’ve had a few difficult years in my work… 9 and a half years ago I started work at a training and consultancy organization that dealt with youth, educational and social issues. I loved working there, social issues are very much a part of my being and where my heart is. I worked in the support services as head of a department and when a new director came to work there and the organization was restructured I was fine with that. I got a new challenging advisory position which I had helped propose and create and I was very excited to do it. And then further restructuring was announced, which I saw the necessity for but what was awful was that it wasn’t handled fairly.
A first round of lay offs came and then a second round of restructuring came that affected the team I used to lead. When the ‘objective’ reasons were stated why some people could stay and why my whole ex-team had to go, I knew for sure what I had suspected after round one: the new director was playing favorites! She said she wasn’t, her reasons were ‘sound’ and she stated it was ‘all legal’ (yes, of course she would make sure to cover her bases first)… For the first time ever at work I literally exploded when that happened, I could not be silent when such unjust things were being said and people were being fired for unjust reasons! Sure, people needed to be cut, everyone understood that, but do it fairly and don’t pretend to be fair when you so very clearly are not… I was able to object to every reason with solid arguments but they would not be heard.
My anger caused quite a ripple within the organization (no one had ever seen me like that) and I had so very many messages of support which was gratifying. But some people also worried, said that if I remained so outspoken about this, I could be in the next round of people getting fired… I said, I didn’t care. With such blatant injustice I could not be quiet. Yay me! Anyway, to cut a long story short: I was indeed dismissed in the next round! It even went to court (together with an ex-colleague of mine)…. not that I wanted to stay in such a toxic management situation, I just wanted the director to know she couldn’t just get away like that. We didn’t get the compensation we hoped for but we did get a few months extra pay out of it and I had the satisfaction of knowing that when push really comes to shove I can stand up for what I believe! A good thing to know!
I was very happy to be rid of such a toxic and deceitful director… The down side was that many people in the organization had almost become family to me and I missed working with them! So many of them had supported me in the dark times and were also critical of the director. Several have left in the meantime as well… I really went through a whole mourning period when I left the organization and of course needed to find new work. Sometimes I still wish for the happier times I had there before this director arrived. Luckily I am still in touch with the people I care about…
I was very lucky that I did find a new job and quite quickly too! Last spring, just as my salary ended with the old organization, I was able to start my new job! It was work in a new sector for me, the medical sector. I also had a support staff and advisory role and was determined to love it. I learned a lot there, it was a whole different world, and while the people were kind enough, it just didn’t feel right for various reasons. I wasn’t good at dealing with a sense of arrogance, I was annoyed by a micromanaging boss and the work I had to do was so very detail oriented it left little room for flexibility which I didn’t like. So, after only 3 months there I decided to look around for something else…
The job market isn’t that flexible for me and there was very little I could find that I thought I would like. So, I wrote a few open applications, one of them to a small development cooperation advisory organization. Lo and behold, they contacted me and asked me to come in for an interview! They only had a 3 month project that they wanted me to do and couldn’t promise me anything beyond that. I had a huge dilemma: stay in the new job that I really didn’t like or take a chance and do the temporary project for the development cooperation organization, for less hours and therefore less pay but in the hopes of it getting extended (which was a small possibility). My husband and I talked about it at length, my heart is and has always been with social issues and developing countries as well (I have had some previous experience with that) and in the end I quit the medical job and went for the development cooperation project (also in support service in an advisory function)!
OK, this is far longer than I intended but if you’ve come this far, the end is nigh!
So the new organization: I felt at home straight away! My kind of people: socially conscious, idealists, helpers wanting to make the word better, messy and unorganized and I was asked to help get things more organized for them. I loved it! After 3 months work (not full time) I had a proposal and a plan of action and I had already started working on improvement actions. Now all that was needed were funds to actually DO all I had proposed. I was asked to stay on 2 more months (till the end of January) and today came the decision that this project will be continued until the summer! The Thunderbirds are GO! My gamble to quit the stable but abhorred job has paid off and I am now doing something I really enjoy and for the time being I can continue doing it! The end of 2 years of job hell ended last summer with this new job and today this new job gets extended! Today is a good day! 🙂