“Sometimes things have to go wrong in order to go right.” ~ Sherrilyn Kenyon

“When things go wrong, this is what you should do. Make good art.” ~ Neil Gaiman

When I wrote the initial 2024 Goals post, I knew things were up in the air. A magic eight ball had a better chance for predicting the future than I did. A little over a week ago, the response came back: “Outlook not so good.”

Fall 2023

After returning from Paris in October, I felt like I should give working with my boss another shot. In the two years we have been working together, the last with her as my supervisor, we have never been able to come together as a team. I’m not sure what the exact problem is, but I’m sure I’ve contributed more than my fair share. We are very different people, with approaches and outlooks that often clash. Both of us are stubborn and opinionated, and neither of us is shy about making our displeasure known.  Additionally, there have been some overarching management changes that have acerbated the exasperation and distrust.

Within a few weeks of my return from Paris, it became obvious that my trying harder was not going to make a difference. So, I shifted to Plan B: Finding another job. During the period between Nov and February, I applied for more than a dozen positions at other state agencies and went on six interviews. I was even offered a couple of positions, but with one thing and another, nothing ticked all the boxes.

Mom’s Death, the Pandemic, and Other Disasters

The year before the pandemic hit, I had lost my mom. I was just coming back to the world when COVID happened. Like a lot of people (at least the ones I talk to), the years of constantly shifting danger took a lot out of me.

Also in the last five years, I’ve been formally diagnosed with diabetes. This is in addition to my weight-related heart condition and compromised lungs. At a minimum, these do not bode well for my longevity. At a maximum, some days are a real problem.

Mom left me the beach house as well as her and my dad’s lifetime of savings. It had been on my mind for several years to explore early retirement, which my financial advisor told me was very possible.

Straws & Camels

A little under two weeks ago, I had a job interview that should have felt good. The job sounded similar to my current position and had some of the same job duties that I have liked in the past. The group seemed nice. Remote work was allowed. I had done well in the interview process, giving me strong hope for being offered the position. But my gut still felt heavy.

I returned to work and the straw that broke the camel’s back drifted downward. It is not worth going into the whole situation, but it could not have been more obvious that there was no way my boss and I were ever going to get to a thoughtful and respectful working relationship. And so, the next day, I gave my notice.

Plan C

A few days later, I was offered the job I had interviewed for, but I turned them down.

I don’t just need a new job; I need a complete reset. I’m emotionally exhausted. I’m medically compromised. And I’m confused about who I am and what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m confused about my skills and my faults. I’m confused about where my round peg fits into this square-hole world.

2024 Goals

My last day at my current job will be February 20, and then I’m going to take some time off. I don’t think this is early retirement; this is a sabbatical.

In the next year, I’m going to put some real time and attention into my physical health, though I hadn’t yet formalized a plan. I’m also going to try to figure out the question: “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

Until I was about ten, my answer to that was: “A horse.” I wonder if that position is still available…