Friday, March 12, 2010

Trying to Get the Feeling Again

Back in January I wrote about the New Normal, about how I felt like I was moving out of the phase of active grieving and settling into the new life that T's death created. And I still feel that way. It may actually stick -- I may in fact be past the worst of it. However, there is one area where I feel like there is a longer-lasting legacy of loss, and that is with my job.

I am extremely fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time to have fallen into the software industry in the mid-80's. Tons of opportunity, not a lot of training or experience needed. From that lucky start, I find myself holding down a great job at a terrific stable company, with a wonderful boss and great pay and benefits. However, since T died I find that I just don't have the same level of dedication, the same interest and commitment in pushing through when the going gets tough. When I'm working on something I enjoy, I still get a real kick out of it, and apparently (according to my mid-year performance review this week) do a very fine job. But my resilience is low when a project hits a snag, or when I need to work on something I don't enjoy very much. A lot of the internal resistance is related to having to convince, sell an unpopular idea, or get someone to do something they don't want to do. And as a project manager, that last category comes up pretty often. My knee-jerk reaction is to want to throw my hands up, say "oh well", and give up. It's just not worth the aggravation. I mean, no one will die.

This attitude does not serve me well, I fear. Or at least, it doesn't serve my career ambitions, to the extent that I have any. And more importantly, it doesn't serve my desire to live with integrity. It's wrong to go through the motions, to phone it in. Sure, in the early days after T died, that's all I could manage. (After B was born I had a similar phase, and I cut myself slack then too.) But if I'm truly coming out of active grieving, able to focus my attention on things beyond my loss and the overwhelming idea of parenting alone, then I should either be regaining my work mojo, or I should find another job.

I've shared my concerns with my boss (like I said, she's great!). Maybe I'm just bored, having been with my current company for 12 years and in the same role for the last 5. Perhaps I need a new role, or at least a new and different project, so I can bang my head against some new problems for a change. Maybe a new company in the same field would suffice. I'm not sure of the solution, but this year, I'll be trying to get the feeling again. I just hope that I'll have the courage, energy, and financial fortitude to follow my heart where it leads.

1 comment:

  1. The "problem" is that we have a totally different perspective than we did before being widowed. Our understandings of what's important, of what's worth getting worked up about, of where our energies should go has changed dramatically.

    I'm a writer-editor, and it took a long time for me to care about whether or not I'd misplaced a modifier.

    As with all aspects of this journey, it just takes time. Maybe you need to invite your mojo to come back by making one of the changes you suggested. But if you don't find the drive to make those changes, just trust that the gears will start clicking again.