“I’d like to speak to you about some changes; There were some things that started to take place while you were out, which resulted in some changes that will continue after you return from leave.”
I was confused and a bit anxious. I was in the office for a short time to pick up some information, and complete a performance review that was due in the midst of my maternity leave. What changes? What does this mean for me?
I have always enjoyed being in control. It’s just my nature. I like being the master of my own destiny, and knowing that things will go a certain way if I do things in a particular manner. Career-wise, I’ve sought out positions and projects in which I had leadership positions. I volunteered for things knowing my type A personality would really shine through. I liked being in charge, because it allowed me to do what I want and how I wanted it. I loved the feeling of accomplishment and the gratification of a job well done.
The only trouble with this, is that when things don’t go my way, it really affects me. I get very disappointed, and dwell on my perceived failure. My attitude changes when I’m not in control of something, and I turn negative and judgemental when I have to relinquish control to someone else. My mind starts churning, and I wonder if the loss of control is a reflection of me as a person.
It turns out the changes in the office were indeed major. Things changed in the company during my absence, and thus had affected the way the department was being run. A good majority of my work was being passed to someone who no longer reported to me. I still maintained my position and key responsibilities, but not all of them. The “control” I thought I had felt like it was being “pulled away” and realigned. Though it wasn’t any reflection of my work, I still felt defeated. Too much change in too little time, without any input – that’s anxiety inducing.
I had a lot of pride in who I was at work. This pride, however, made me turn a blind eye on the reality. It turns out, being control of it all also has some downsides. I felt really pressured at times because I felt that there was a lot riding on my success. I felt inadequate and deterred when I had a hard time meeting expectations. I spread myself too thin and still thought that it was what I wanted. Yet, because of all these years of being the subject matter expert, it was very hard to let it all go.
Now, I am learning to accept this realignment of things and trying to see the positive aspect of it. With these changes, I can focus on putting out great quality work on a few key projects instead of worrying over quite a few at one time. I don’t have to stay late every night to achieve my personal goals. I can find the joy in holding less meetings. I can actually take a break without thinking it would interfere with something else. I can even write my blogs during lunch!
It’s only been a few months back from work, so these habits are still hard to break. It still feels strange to see my colleague take charge of meetings that I used to run. It’s a little disheartening when people talk to her first to seek assistance. It’s hard to swallow seeing her get the glory of projects I started a while ago. But, I have to learn, these things are out of my control. Always a work in progress!