Some thoughts on the past 4 months…
It all started last July. To be honest, it was even before that; the discontent and restlessness prompting me to look for a change. In the middle of a pandemic, when you work in healthcare, the logical place to look for change is in your work. So when a position in management came up, I threw my hat in the ring, so to speak.
Now, I’m not naive. I understood the workload expectations going in. I grew up in a home where administration and management was what my father did, and before that, work came home in the form of marking student assignments, preparing for concerts, and doing lesson plans. I was prepared to spend less time cruising social media (a toxic place at the best of times) and netflix in the evening in exchange for work emails and scheduling problems.
The job did not disappoint – there was indeed the evening and weekend work, and the realization that you can never truly check something off a list. But there was also satisfaction in solving a dilemma, being a listening ear to employees eager to improve their situation, and in forming a new respect for the bottomless workload of frontline managers in healthcare. I did not know senior’s health before I started, nor do I truly know it yet, but I now fully realize the depth of knowledge and skill involved to navigate this kind of leadership and to exceed the standards of care which are present here in Alberta.
In the end, I think the portfolio would be better served by a leader who has a familiarity and insight far greater than my own, but that’s not why I bowed out. The piece that surprised me was the response of my own family, especially the youngest, to my new position. No displeasure was ever voiced, but there were signs that something wasn’t quite right. And when I returned home following my last day of work, the tears (not mine) were quick to fall. I have had a sidekick all weekend. A confirmation to me that while my physical presence never changed (aside from earlier starts and later finishes), my mental presence was indeed missed.
And so tomorrow I gratefully return to my old job, with renewed appreciation for all of the little things I took for granted. With a thought that the challenge was needed but only for a time, and that perhaps in a few years, there will be time again to test those waters. But for now, I will enjoy the window in my office, the ability to leave work at work, and the gift of time with my family.