Erica's Blog

The Try Something New Everyday experiment

Today I’m going part time

on November 14, 2013

I have a great job.  I work for the city that I love in the voter registration/elections office.  I love my job.  I love every single task in the office.  Over 13 years, I worked from being a poll worker on Election Day, to filing voter cards in the office, to holding the third highest position in the department.

I am passionate about the important role our office plays in our country’s government.  I assist candidates in filing their campaign paperwork and financial reports.  I coordinate all the absentee voting for our city.  I have the privilege to send our military members their ballots.  They stand posts out in the trenches protecting our freedoms so that everyone in this country has the ability to equally participate in our representative democracy.  I process applications that turn citizens into voters.

My job is awesome…literally.

I showed up early, stayed late, gave it my all and then some…whatever it took to get the job done.   Just one week ago I put in 65+ hours in 5 days for the governor election.

I volunteered for tasks until my task list could only fit on a legal size piece of paper.  I signed up for whatever training opportunities were offered.  I even considered returning to college to get my Masters in Government or Political Science.

I felt I was making a difference…even if the difference was to just one voter, it all was worth the sweat, exhaustion and tears.

But a few months ago, a friend challenged me to describe who I was without mentioning my job and I blanked.  I realized I was consumed by my job.  I scheduled my life around elections.  My husband had to propose in our office in 2008 because I was working 80-100 hours each week for months on end and he couldn’t wait any longer.  While that’s sad, its worse that it took me 5 years later to wake up.

This friend also asked what are the priorities in my life.

My answers: a relationship with God, a good marriage, and most importantly…to be a mom.  I’ve wanted children since I can remember.  I could not wait to get married, begin my life and start filling a Double Decker bus.  Unfortunately that drive led me down love paths that were dead ends.  And as each one ended, I realized I had to reduce my kidmobile.  Double Decker > Tour Bus > Minivan > SUV to now I’m at VW Bug heading towards Smart Car.

His answer:  Your words do not match your actions.  You say these are your goals but you don’t live like they are.

That hit hard.  That’s my saying!….words vs actions…and now I’m not living up to my words.  Where’s the bandaid because that was an owie!

I decided to take my birthday week off.  There was plenty to do to gear up for the second largest election in our field and up to this year I would have never even entertained the thought of taking time within the 60 days leading up to the election.  Sixty days, 2 months before an election seems like a long time to the average person, but in Electionville, 60 days is the core to the fast rolling snowball that hits the fence and explodes on Election Day.

Taking a week, a whole week, is just crazy, careless, frivolous  ….and….life changing.

Call it my wake-up call, call it a crisis of beliefs, call it burnout…label it however you like…

I call it clarity.

When I had moments to myself and honestly reflected on what my life has been about up to this point I realized my friend was spot on…my life goals were not reflected in my life reality.  Further, I was stressed beyond even realizing it.  For those 7 days, I stopped the constantly running mental to do list and tried to focus on who I wanted to be and map out how to get there.  All solutions pointed back to stop putting all my focus/energy into a job and start putting that focus/energy in a family.

So, for the past 6 weeks I have been in negotiations with my boss and at our employee meeting today it was announced that I will transition into a part time position. 🙂

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