Today I was reunited with my hoards of curriculum books, ECE school books, and other business related informational items. When I saw the items all boxed up and ready to go I was immediately excited by having them all together again and then was quickly overtaken by the overwhelming feeling of loss because the part of me they once defined is gone.
March 20, 2013 was the most heart breaking day of my professional career experience to date.
Throughout my working career, I’ve had many jobs. Each a stepping stone to the next. Each an opportunity to grow. And each bringing new insight to what I wanted to do for early childhood education. Against the odds, I went back to school. And against my family’s wish that I could do something better, I continued on the same path from 16 to 43 years of age. Through all the headaches and personal sacrifices, I loved my job and would repeat every day of it all over again. I don’t have regrets. But I do have sadness because the loss I felt that day and still feel was equivalent to losing my entire family all in the same day. No warning or goodbyes. Just gone.
Some say – Losing a job is no big deal. Get over it. Move on. You’re an educator. You don’t need that company. So who cares where you work?
And every bit of that is the truth. But by definition – I was not just a being within the company. I lived and breathed right along with it. I felt like it was as much a part of me as I was to it. We didn’t always see eye to eye. We had our ups and downs. We laughed together. Cried together. Celebrated together. Sometimes, even suffered together. And there was always great comfort in knowing there was a “purple” family to steer you right when waters were treacherous on black, non starry nights.
Losing this family was devastating and the grieving was no less painful. I’ve experienced denial, betrayal, disbelief, anger, acceptance – but above all, sadness for the loss. And with that, I felt something I’d never experienced before – uncertainty. I was shaken to the core and began to question my career path. Who was I alone? Within a family I was somebody. My voice was louder. My influence stronger. My vision so much more clearer. But alone? I felt powerless. Striped. Bare and vulnerable. Who was I? And that was the implosion because I really didn’t know any longer. I had assimilated so much with the company that we often thought as one. Spoke the same language. Told the same stories and analogies. And even though independent thinking was a cultural basis, that independence became shadowed beneath a purple shroud. I lost sight of what were my thoughts and ideas and what were the company’s. I lost myself and when I ultimately lost my “family”, I had such a difficult time seeing my future within education or even management that I gave it up.
Recovering my boxed treasures made me realize just how much I miss both and with that realization came the final step I needed in saying…
Fare Thee Well
to a truly amazing company
for all I learned in those 9 years and
No Hard Feelings – Catch you on the Flip Side.