I thought this photo summed up the hail damage my house and garden sustained.  The paint on my house is dinged up, the front porch is a mess.  Even a rocking chair on the front porch had its white paint blasted off.  The paint is lying in little chips under the chair.  There are little geranium petals pasted to the side of my house, quite far from the now denuded geranium plants.

I am wondering how I ended up in this position at work.  A cultural anthropologist could made a study of it.  It really is interesting.   I have been in the workforce for 41 years.  My skills have been honed and refreshed over the years.  I am not making graphs on graph paper, I am not typing memos on an IBM Selectric – as I did in the early years of my career.  I am only 11 years out of school!  At the hospital where I worked for 17 years, I was the “go-to” gal for all things Excel, Powerpoint, and SPSS.   Of course, I was working with medical professionals then.

Now I am working with a bunch of “girl geniuses.”  They are all suffering their own crises, I have heard this from each one of them.  They are, each one of them, used to being the young one, the smart one – and they don’t say it, but I know “the cute one” is also on that list.  Their interpersonal skills range from OK to Abysmal.  But, OMG! What they can do with Excel!!!!  And then I get to ask them how the hell they did that when I am told to do it their way.

Humility is one thing.  This is a whole other thing.

I never thought I would feel inadequate because my skills with Microsoft Excel are not in the top 1 percentile.

I will just say it outloud – or write it in black and white.  I think this job was misrepresented to me and is a poor fit.  I cannot sit in a freaking cubicle all day long clicking, clicking, clicking – little lines.  The axis title is too close to the graph, the lines are blue not gray, the lines are 3 pt., not 2.25.

Why did they not hire a secretary to do this?  This is not my skill set!

I miss doing what I do, and do well.  I miss chairing committees.  I miss leading workgroups.  I miss producing things that are meaningful to patients’ survival.  I miss working with doctors, psychologists, social workers, and yes, even nurses.  I miss working with people my age.  I miss the respect with which we treated each other.

OK, now I have made myself cry.  So, I better get in the bathtub and talk myself into putting a smile on my face for another day.  I will again ask God what he wants me to bring to this situation, and what I am supposed to learn.

Thanks for listening.  Now you go have a wonderful day – and it really does get better if you ask God what you can bring to each situation, and what you are supposed to learn.

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22 Responses to Friday

  1. Pam says:

    My opinion only Mary….When I started acknowledging to their face that they were cute geniuses, it got better. When I became the “older woman” who helped bolster their self confidence it got better. When I realized that I did not have that kind of energy anymore to put into being the cute smart one with decades of CEO possibilities in front of me…it got better. I think we become the “sane one” for younger women to talk to.

  2. mommaof3 says:

    I like Pam’s comment. I hate the saying ‘Hang in there’ yet I find myself sharing it more and more often…..sometimes that’s all we can do…. and offer up gratitude. Have you read 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp? SO good!

  3. susan says:

    I started a new job this last December, teaching Spanish in a new school. I got the job through great recommendations and years of teaching experience. However, I spent the winter crawling through feelings of fear and inadequacy — my spanish wasn’t good enough, they would find out Iwas a fraud. I really suffered for it everyday, my thoughts paranoid and dark. Then one day, through the clamor, I heard the small quiet voice remind me that I had applied for many jobs, that this job had come to me so rightly, it must be mine to do. And I listened. Little by little I saw the rightness of my situation and today I am much better in my perspective. I am even going to Mexico in July to study for a month, and professional development money is paying for the classes! I did take a class soon fter I got the job, and I will continue to study, often on my own dime. I do have the desire to speak Spanish fluently, and maybe live in Buenos Aires one day —- there is a great english speaking noon meeting there! Hang in there. This job came to you in a very right way. There is a light.

    • Congrats in your new job. It sounds like it is coming along.

      This job did come to me in a very right way, and I have been assured that the current situation is temporary.

  4. susan says:

    P.S. I am also quite close to you in age — I am a summer chicken — not a spring one. xo

  5. Dave U says:

    I bet you’re using a skill set you aren’t even aware of.


  6. todayhashope says:

    Thank you, I really needed to hear this.

  7. Annette says:

    Ohhhh Mary, I’m sorry it’s so hard right now. PS: Pam is really smart…

  8. luluberool says:

    Oh, Mary I get it. The respect we receive from doctors and other medical professionals is earned on competence, not cuteness. I love being part of a team, knowing I’m counted on for my small area of expertise. I think you are missing that feeling of being part of the team, and seeing the tangible, human side of your efforts. I just know you were very good at it.

  9. sherryd32148 says:

    Start looking for a new job. Life is too short for you to be unhappy. I know the market is tight but there’s a better fit for you out there. We’re too old to be doing something we don’t like.

    • Sherry, I am five years away from retirement from a state job. After all the years I have invested in this, I am not going to quit now. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t like to get to the other side of them.

  10. Syd says:

    The young smart ones are a good thing because it means that positions are being filled with skilled people. And you have skills that they don’t. I believe this will work out through your willingness.

    • They are certainly smart and absolute wizards at Microsoft Excel. Neither of these qualities are anything I ever aspired to. I will plod through this because that is what I do.

  11. Mary LA says:

    Could you go back to your original job description and work out what you think it should be in this situation? Then perhaps speak with a human resources person or someone senior about how and why you feel the job was misrepresented and what it should be?

    I was once hired as a senior features editor and found n that I spent my time doing picture research and redesigning page layouts because that is what my predecessor had been good at. When the company found out what I did best, they rewrote my job brief.

    That tornado damage is so sad.

    • Mary, this is a new job in a new department that never existed before. We are all working out what we’re doing as we go along. I have spoken at length about my feelings with my boss, and she has assured me that it will not remain this way. She had no idea that it would be like this when she originally described the job to me, and wrote the job description. Every day I seem to have to make a decision to trust her and go with that, or somedays ( a few recently) I am just discouraged and disgusted.

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