What’s In a Job?

Today I had a job interview.  Still within the organization that I work for, but different job, different department.  One of the perks of working for a large size employer is the opportunity to try new things.  This is something that I have done many times over the years, moved around, tried new things – some worked some didn’t.  If I didn’t try though, I wouldn’t know.  Usually I opt for temporary assignments, it gives me, and my new boss, a chance to size each other up and to see if we are a good fit.  I also believe it makes me a better employee by increasing my awareness of other areas, of ‘who’s who in the zoo’ – who the decision-makers are, and why and how things get done.

This job interview was actually a major step for me.  Since Kevin died I haven’t felt comfortable with pushing any boundaries or taxing my ability; his death literally wiped me out.  Besides the emotional ups and downs, there was an associated fatigue that seemed to seep right into my bones. There was brain fog, a cloudiness that descended on me, possibly my mind’s way of coping with Kevin’s loss and aggravated by lack of sleep.  These things made it hard to think and even to express myself coherently. Consequently, it became a challenge to do even the familiar which was frustrating and served to increase the pressure I placed on myself.  I would find myself measuring how the ‘old’ me worked versus how the ‘new’ me did.

My physical stamina was a concern, particularly on my return to work.  Even a phased return, with minimal hours, left me absolutely spent at the end of the day.  After I returned to work full time I still had to be mindful and accept that my capacity was diminished.  This meant standing down on multi-tasking and ultimately reverting to methodically doing one thing at a time.  Then I began to increase my workload; to return to where I thought I should be, able to do what needed to be done.  The end goal was to get through a day of work and still have some energy in reserve to focus on other activities outside of work.  I believe I am finally getting there.  I must be, since applying for a different job is something the old me would do routinely.

Kevin called me a ‘job hopper’.  He would show me our red vinyl book of telephone numbers for family and friends and say, “Count ’em, honey.  Count how many phone numbers there are in there under ‘Mom’s Work’.”  Truly, I have to say, there were a lot. The job hopping ended completely when Kevin was diagnosed with cancer.  After his death, and when I was able to start back to work, it was comfortable and necessary for me to go back to the familiar, to my ‘home’ position where I felt safe, to work on regaining my capacity. It’s a good indicator that my capacity is back when I start contemplating trying something new.  So, whether or not I am successful in this most recent hiring process I still feel like I accomplished something – I buffed off and shined up a part of myself that has been lost for the better part of two years.  If I get the job, for old time’s sake, I might write it in the red phone book and just imagine hearing Kevin say, “Geez, honey, at some point you have to settle down.”  Nope, no I don’t.

I Have to Plan to Think and I Have to Think to Write

Today I realized I have perfected the ability to look without seeing.  I was sitting on the couch staring out the window and my daughter said to me, “That’s crazy, eh?”  I looked at her and said, “What’s crazy?”  I guess there had been some birds at the bird feeder which is right in front of the window.  There had been quite a squabble as the birds jockeyed for position to get at the food and it was quite entertaining.  It happened, literally, right in front of the window and I hadn’t seen a thing.

It wasn’t that I was lost in thought, I think more than anything I was devoid of thought.  I find that I can zone out completely, just go into stillness of body or mind or both.  I can still multi-task, I can walk to my car, or do housework or all those day-today tasks that need to be done.  I do them without thinking, just like breathing.  Now I find that often I can pass people in the street, at the store, at work, and it doesn’t register who they are.  Or maybe it doesn’t matter who they are.  Or maybe I don’t want to recognize them because to do so triggers a thought process about their family, spouse, routines that they blissfully take for granted; things too painful and too close for me to dwell on right now.

I think, truthfully, that the reason I choose not to see things is that I don’t care.  I don’t have the emotional resources to spend on interest or concern, not even for myself, let alone others.  Alternately, maybe it is that I can’t care.  Caring is active and needs effort which is just not possible for me right now.  Caring is a step beyond where I am at presently.  For the immediate,  I have to plan to think, just like I have to think to write.  It all takes effort and is very draining.