Well, it’s finally official. Effective this Friday at 5 PM, I have been transferred to another engineering team: my original team (going back 5-10 years)–and have been granted a 3-month leave of absence to finish my thesis and recover from the pain and burnout of the last year. When I come back, I will work under a manager that I’ve known for a decade and I trust “gets” me and will act on my behalf and my peers will be people that I also have a good rapport with and know will respect and encourage me. I’m quite happy.
I’m trying to focus on “quite happy” and not on the desperate measures it took to effect this change and how cynical and betrayed I felt in most of the process. I’m also trying to look at the valuable lesson I learned …
I recently asked my friend Art how he is so positive and loving all of the time. (He really is quite phenomenal in that way.) And he said that he just knows himself well enough to know when a situation is likely to knock him off his sense of center and his core connectedness with people, and then he draws a line well before that point and communicates clearly what that line is. Then, if the line is crossed, he simply takes his leave of the situation. He doesn’t go in a huff because he has acted before he got angry. He doesn’t need anyone to apologize for the infraction because he has taken care to protect himself and the relationship from injury.
On reflection, I realize that I also have a sense of that line in myself, but when people cross it, I compromise. And then I compromise some more. And I make excuses why compromising is OK. Until I’ve finally compromised so much that I’m angry and bitter. And who’s fault is that?
Now, had I used Art’s approach, I wouldn’t still have my job. I would have quit in the fall of 2006. But I also probably wouldn’t be quite so traumatized and protective and have been reinforcing the grooves in the less pleasant parts of my psyche. I know I have ugly, self-righteous aspects. It’s not like I’m going to become a saint and transcend these any time soon. But, if I’ve learned anything after countless hours of psychotherapy, the human version of perfection doesn’t mean being able to handle anything that gets thrown at you; instead, it lies in learning one’s own weaknesses and tendencies and respectfully navigating around these more destructive ruts and traps in one’s personality, even if that means sidestepping situations that make one react in these ways.
Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to practice this boundary enforcement some more soon, before I forget the lesson.
So, I’m sure everyone expects that a person with 3 months off would go do something adventurous. But, frankly, I need to eliminate as much stress as possible. A couple of my coworkers (who know the difficulties of my departing situation) have said that they personally don’t know how I put up with the maltreatment and shenanigans for so long. And just yesterday, another of my spine doctors expressed how relieved he is that I will have such a long break because he can feel all of the tension and toxicity in my body. So, I’m going to write, be with my pets, sit by the river and catch up on my tall stack of reading, exercise, and see if I can re-establish that sense of the sacred in every day life.
Peace, friends. May this be a summer of rejuvenation and deepening for you all.