On connections, wake-up calls and energy...
Not long after I submitted my resignation, I sat down and created a FUNemployment job description for myself chock full of all the things I wanted to do with each day after leaving my job... stuff like yoga, walking, reading all those books I only skimmed in grad school, writing and, most importantly to me, reconnecting with people I care about. Between work, grad school and sheer sloth I haven't spent a lot of time with anyone other than the two people that live with me (and I haven't seen them a whole bunch either).
Even before I left United Way my dance card started to fill up. There have been long talks about my future with my former CEO and mentor, lunches with former colleagues (technically, I guess, they're all "former" now) to relive the highlights of a 15 year UW career, coffee dates with good friends to plan out future business ventures, and long talks on the back porch with neighbors about our community. I've even spent an afternoon or two with Mr. Adams to boot.
This morning I woke up, wrote for a bit, went to yoga, had coffee afterwards with a friend, came home and put on "real" clothes and then headed out for a second coffee date downtown. As I was walking down the street to my second date of the day I ran into two UW colleagues.
"How's it going?" they asked.
"Kind of fucking spectacular," I answered.
And I meant every word of it. It is amazing how quickly I have been able to replace the time I used to spend in the office trying to build community with building community.
I've been batting around an idea in my head - and sometimes out loud - for the better part of the last year about a business I want to start focused on building community for women. The idea is still a work in progress, but at the end of the day I want to create a physical space where brave women gather to have important conversations. I want to create it because I crave it myself. I just wasn't sure if anyone else would, but..
Everywhere I go, every direction I turn this week, people are telling me how much they want to connect... how they are seeking a village... how they need someone to bounce ideas off of. Only two of them have reached out to me to ask for the connection first - both men. Everyone else, the women, would only admit to having such a need after I said so first.
I have suspicions as to why women are, overwhelmingly, wired as such, but that's a topic for another day. The point of FUNemployment day two is this...
It takes a tremendous amount of energy to go to a job were you don't feel completely comfortable every day. The psychic energy consumed by splicing your soul in two - the work self and the real self - is enormous. I knew the energy suck was affecting my contributions at work, but I wasn't aware how much it was affecting my contributions to all other facets of my life. I mean, I had an inkling, but until I had the luxury of a little distance, I really had no clue.
If I could watch the last few months of my life on video, I wonder how many missed wake-up calls I would witness? How many times a brave woman said to me, in her own way, I want someone to bounce ideas off of... I want to connect... I need a village.
FUNemployment is going to bring lots of lessons to light, of that I am sure. None, I imagine, are going to be any more important than the one that has struck me today... life is too damn short and too damn precious to waste all your energy on a job that prevents you from exploring, much less executing on, your real work.
I left United Way for a lot of reasons, but at the end of the day it boils down to this - it was a job and even a good job at times, but it wasn't my work anymore. Even if there had not been 90 minute meetings devoted to all staff emails and even if I had been included in the important decisions that directed the course of my role, it still wouldn't have been the place I needed to be anymore. I might have been able to last a little longer, but I would have eventually left.
So tonight I am putting an official moratorium on being angry and sad about what didn't work there for me anymore and am instead choosing to accept it as the gift that finally sent me on my way to where I should be. No more energy wasted... there are wake-up calls to be heard and many more important lessons to be learned.
That's where the energy goes now.