I haven’t written in a while because I decided to just hunker down and ride the waves – enjoying the highs, grinding through the lows. But today, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself and wanted to share what I consider to be a personal success. Incidentally, it actually has nothing to do directly with my ex (a nice change!), though indirectly it’s related because it’s about boundaries, and self-love, and making healthy choices.
Two days ago, during my “performance discussion” at work, I was asked to apply for a management position. I work in a small, flat organization where opportunities for advancement don’t come up very often and management opportunities are extremely rare. I was flattered that I was asked, but I told them I wasn’t interested.
They upped the ante.
They asked me why I didn’t want it and offered to tailor the position to me. They asked me to look at the job description and let them know which aspects of the job I would be interested in doing; what changes would need to be made in order for me to accept it. I said I would think about it and promised to get back to them by the end of the week with my thoughts. (I know this sounds almost unbelievable, but this is exactly how it happened. I truly am the luckiest girl in the world to work where I do – they really are this awesomely supportive!)
That night, I couldn’t fall asleep because my mind was racing with thoughts. Two years ago, I had worked my butt off to switch from a 15-year career that I hated to something completely different that I could be passionate about. Last year, they custom-made a position for me here that was exactly what I wanted and, for the last year, I have absolutely LOVED my job.
So, with this offer, I was in a conundrum. We’re supposed to want to be successful right? And that means we should be advancing – getting promoted, making more money, having ‘bigger’ titles… right? And aren’t we supposed to seize opportunities when they’re presented to us? And when someone wants to do something nice for us, aren’t we supposed to politely accept because it would be rude to reject an offer of kindness?
I felt terribly conflicted. The old me would have accepted the offer and moved into a position I didn’t love, because I knew everyone else would think it was a really good move for me. The new me didn’t want to make that move, but felt I probably should. In fact, I was should-ing myself to death and starting to feel really guilty about not being ambitious and pouncing on the opportunity to move up this very short career ladder I’m on.
Then I realized, I have spent years – my whole life really – bending myself around other people, trying to do “the right thing”, making choices that will garner other people’s respect and approval. In many ways, I’ve been invisible in my own life. In the months of self-discovery post-narc, I have come to realize and accept that I have to take care of myself; that I’m allowed to make my own choices and to have my own preferences. I’m allowed to say “No”.
So, today I politely declined the offer.
I told my boss that I’ve worked hard and put in a lot of years at a job I didn’t love in order to finally get to do a job that I do love, and I’m just not ready yet for the honeymoon to be over. I know on paper it probably doesn’t work out to be a ‘smart’ decision, but I’m so happy about it and so at peace with it. I’m finally just doing what I want and focusing on what makes me happy, regardless of what anyone else will think of it. That’s a new kind of success for me, a life-changing success I think.
In fact, at the risk of sounding a little narcy, for the first time in my life I think I’m starting to fall in love with myself a little bit. It feels super great. 🙂