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Part of a team?

standard October 6, 2009 6 responses

“You’ve never been a part of a work team that respected and valued you.” Her words cut through the chaos in my head and go straight to the heart of my torment.

She’s right. Well, actually, she’s not all right. I was once part of a great team, that listened and cared when I had something to say. For all of 6 months.

Then I went back to school to get my Masters.

The next job I took was in a completely different field. I assumed I’d get that same respect and consideration. There was no reason I wouldn’t.

Except I didn’t. It took me years and years to realize that there was no real respect. No real appreciation. And then it took a few more years for it to destroy my self worth and self esteem.

Last year I finally left that place. I wanted to strike out on my own. Try my hand at writing for a living. It’s been a fascinating year. I’ve learned a ton about myself. I’ve tried my hand at lots of different kinds of writing jobs. I’ve discovered what I like and what I don’t like. And I’ve found my self esteem again.

My favorite things to write are my blog and my fiction. Neither of which promise to be very lucrative in the near (or even not so near) future. So right now, either I suck it up and keep writing the more lucrative stuff I don’t like to write a whole lot or I get a part time job to help pay the bills and finance my writing habit.

I’m OK with going back to work. I really am. It’s been a great year. I’ve loved having my freedom. But at the same time I’ve been pretty lonely. I miss being part of a team. I miss having coworkers outside of Twitter and Facebook. It’s nice that the Starbucks girl knows my regular order, but it’s really just not enough.

My problem is that I’m still scarred. My sister is right, I’ve never been part of a team that really values me and I find it hard to believe that it’s possible. So maybe I’m not all the way healed. I might have found my self esteem, but the self worth part of the equation still seems to be missing. Either that or I’m just so jaded that I don’t believe that functional work environments exist.

Let’s hope that the right job does more than pay the bills. Let’s hope it helps me figure it out.

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6 responses

  • I know what you’re saying. I love doing freelance work, and being part of a team…albeit a distant team for Terry Burns over at Hartline. But right now I”m in the same boat and looking at going back into the ranks of “regular job” for the sake of financial security.

    The thing is, with the kind of education you have, you know you know what you know. You know? And we sit here with this expectation that the world will naturally respect that. And all too frequently…they don’t.

    I’m not trying to sound negative. There are people out there who will look at your accomplishments and weigh their interactions with you on that basis. After all, it’s a world filled with every kind of person, isn’t it? I’m going to think positive thoughts about the changes we’re embarking on.

    And at the very least…whatever happens, good or bad…becomes fodder for our writing. So it’s all good, right?

  • For almost two years I taught the adult baptism class at the main campus of my church. It was wonderful, it was God-filled at times to the point I would cry with my students, and it was a frustration.

    Why? Because I went through five leadership changes in less than two years. I didn’t know who to report to and what people thought of my teaching. I needed a pat on the back once in a while. Gosh that’s so embarrassing to even write, but I have to be candid.

    So I was doing this thing that made God smile, and I was let down by people. And it finally got to me.

    So I gave up that servant role, and that’s when people noticed me. It’s so warped, but true. It’s not why I did it, I didn’t quit to be noticed, but it’s a bummer all the same.

    This year at school, changing grade levels has been a challenge. Everything is new. But my new team feeds me and respects me in a way that makes working with them a joy. One that I didn’t realize was missing from my life.

    So though I’m exhausted, I’m much more fulfilled.

    “If you can’t do what you love, love what you do,” is corny, but it’s true. I hope you find work you love–perhaps in a different way than fiction writing and blogging–and that you are surrounded by people who respect and deeply care for you. It makes all the difference.

  • A good summation of my comment above would be, “I’m no Mother Theresa!”

  • I loved all the jobs I held and truly felt like part of the team. I will say staying home for so long can make one feel like they are no longer part of the equation! I wish you luck and I am sure you will succeed and do great at being part of a team!

  • I actually think it is nothing short of bizarre bad coincidences that you’ve had all these bad work experiences. I think your next chapter will finally right all of that.

  • Honey, when you respect yourself the respect from others will follow. You know the traps, the dysfunction, the signs. You’ll know be able to tell the minute you interview with a potential manager that this is going to work out or not.

    Trust me on this one. From one working girl whose had more bad teams than good ones.

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